No: 2 – Benchmarking Work – Trial Panel Approach


During the construction of a school, which had timber cladding, a trial panel approach was used to get the required quality of finish from the outset. The project team has provided an insight into what that involved and the benefits achieved.

  1. A small area of the cladding of about 10sqm was done at the start of these works. This panel was inspected by the client, development partner, the architect and the clerk of works. Feedback was given with regards to the finish of the timber strips, the location and means of fixing the timber, the spacing of the timbers and how the timbers interfaced with other materials around openings.
  2. Acting upon the feedback the trial panel was adjusted and re-inspected. This process was repeated 5 times with various tweaks before all the parties agreed that the desired effect in terms of finish and quality was being achieved. Having set the standard the works proceeded and the standard set was replicated across some 1,500 sqm of cladding.
  3. Although it took time to repeatedly carry out and amend the trial panel, and to agree the standard of finish, this was far preferable to carrying out an extensive area of the cladding and having significant remedial works to do in order to bring a much larger area up to the standard required. This approach avoided the risks and implications of simply progressing the works with the intention of inspecting large areas of work and carrying out remedial works to rectify the issues identified.
  4. Whilst it took time and effort to get the agreed finish established, the works themselves didn’t take any longer than originally expected and it was not at an additional cost. If anything, it saved cost by not having extensive re-work and snagging to do.