ACU Mercy Building Sculptform

With a range of feature wall and ceiling systems available on the market, we are often asked by our clients for the best solution for their application. Most options available fit into two categories – Stick Built or Panellised, learn more about which option is best for your project below.

Panelised and Stick Built Systems can both achieve similar results, with the installation method being the main differentiator.

A Stick Built System means components are delivered then assembled piece-by-piece on the construction site, where Panelised Systems consist of pre-built panels constructed in the factory of the manufacturer and delivered to site ready to install.

Below we have outlined the pros and cons in more detail, to help you understand which option suits you better and saves you time, money, and stress.

RACV Cape Schanck Resort

Stick Built


Most stick-built systems use modular components, which allows flexibility in both design and installation. This approach provides the following benefits – 

  • Modular system: as each part of the Stick Built system is piece-by-piece built, no shop drawings are required which allows for flexibility on site. This gives the designer freedom to create what they want and need to achieve design intent.
  • Easy to adjust: Conditions on site are often slightly adjusted from the original drawings, which requires a bit of ‘fudge-factor’ from the installer. A stick built system allows for this flexibility without compromising the aesthetics of the end result. 
  • Easy to replace: Sometimes components can be damaged in transport or on-site. With the seperate components of a stick built system, there is less chance of a significant hold up of the project while replacing something that is damaged. 
  • Seamless look: By being able to adjust on site to suit your needs, this allows you to have a seamless look throughout your project.


While modular components offer freedom, they also present opportunities for mistakes due to the extra work required during installation. 

  • Labor intensive: As Stick Built is built piece-by-piece, there is more labor involved in installing on-site. 
  • More Choices: Yes, sometimes this can be advantages, but as every component of our system is separate, there is a choice for each part. This can create extra work for the designer in documenting their specification. 
  • More waste: . As each component is sent and installed separately there is a lot more cutting and trimming on-site which leaves more waste.
  • Risk of Poor workmanship: Stick-built systems are put together on-site, which creates a risk when using installers unfamiliar with the system. 


Manufacturers: Sculptform, Modinex and Mortlock are examples of manufacturers that provide Stick Built systems. 

Sculptform Harbord Diggers

Panelised Systems


A system which is delivered to site in pre-constructed panels drastically saves time on-site and allows for strict quality assurance policies from the manufacturer. 

  • Offsite Manufacturing: All Panels are designed and constructed to the exact size, custom or standard, in the factory, allowing them to arrive on-site and be installed quickly. 
  • Quality assurance: Manufacturing panels allows for more accurate quality assurances policies to be put into place. As everything is shop drawn and manufactured to that drawing, they can be checked and rechecked before they arrive to site. 
  • Quicker turnaround: Standard panels can be made up and stocked on the shelf ready to go for quick turnaround. 


Pre-built panels need to be individually shop drawn, which significantly adds to costs, and have little flexibility to meet unexpected site conditions.   

  • Shop drawings: To ensure accurate manufacturing, each panel needs to be individually shop drawn. This presents added cost and a reliance on the accuracy of site measurements. 
  • Hard to adjust onsite: As the panels are pre-built, they will not allow for adjustments to be made on site. This can cause headaches for the builder and installer. 
  • Harder to transport: Panels can be quite large and bulky, making them quite difficult to transport. This also leads to more costs being involved and risk of damage to a panel. 
  • Finished look: As each panel is dictated by the shop drawing and made to exact measurements, express lines must be shown when installed. This can detract from the design intent and highlight slight inaccuracies. 


Manufacturers: Supawood Architectural Linings and Aktar are examples of manufactures that offer their system in Panel Systems. 

If you have any questions about panellised or stick built systems you can contact us below or give us a call on 1800 008 828.

Contact us


Written by Eben Pudney
Sales Consultant