How do I collect my Composite Panel Kit?

Composite Panels are not really suitable for general freight –

  • they are often large in size
  • have a high quality finish on each side
  • they are not suitable for loading with other items
  • they need to be handled with care

Besides the inevitable high cost of freight there is also a risk of damage and you may have waited 6 to 8 weeks for your panels to be manufactured. In addition most DIY customers have a chassis or similiar on which they can collect the panel kit.

As a result at DIY we do not ship panels. We have specialist Panel Manufacturers in four States (WA, Vic, Qld and NSW) and we find our customers are the best people to get them home safe and sound. The vehicles that are used may be the chassis for the build project itself or it may be a hire vehicle or hire trailer – one customer found a flat bed hire trailer 8 metres long in Brisbane which was perfect. If interested please contact Budjet Trailers on 0434 995814 for rates.

In addition where customers are purchasing specialist DIY panel joiners – most of these are available at the panel manufacturer on the day of collection so you can take them all home in one go.

You will receive the despatch date and all the contact and address details for your panel kit from DIY Caravans in good time to allow you to arrange what you require which will include:

  • A vehicle or trailer with a flat area large enough to support the largest panel in your order. If for example the hire trailer has wheel arches you may need a timber frame or styrene slabs to support the panels above the wheel arches
  • The vehicle surface should be flat and protected such that it does not damage the gel-coat layer of the bottom panel
  • Sufficient long straps to secure the load – at least 6-8 are usually required
  • Lengths of cardboard angle to prevent straps from cutting into the top panel edge
  • If you are also collecting Panel Joiners – please be aware these are 6.5m long and will need wrapping/protecting for transport

On the day of Collection

Our Manufacturer will help load the panels on to your vehicle as this may need 4 people.

You will need to ensure the flat surface where you intend to load the panels is prepared and has protection to prevent damage to the bottom panel. We recommend the customer discusses how they would like the panels loaded – for example the order of the panels. If a floor panel is part of the kit it is often wise to load it first with the B side downwards. You may also want a large panel on the top to help with strapping them all down.

Whilst it is often not possible to inspect and measure each panel in detail as you load them, it is the customer’s responsibility to check the points below

  1. The total number of panels is correct and matches what you ordered
  2. The cut-outs are included if you want them
  3. Any additional skin eg for covering the kerfing area is included (if required)

This will save you having to return to collect a second time.

When you get home

  1. Ensure you have enough pairs of hands to unload the kit safely
  2. Make sure you have prepared a suitable storage area for the panel kit

The panels may still be curing if they have just come off the production line and if they are not stored properly they will lose their flat shape.

Here are a few guidelines to Storing and Handling composite panels:

  • Composite Panels should always be stored either directly vertical or preferably laid on a flat horizontal surface free from contaminants
  • Do not allow moisture to be trapped in between the panels or protective coverings
  • Avoid storing Composite Panels in direct sunlight as post curing and warping could occur prior to permanently mechanically / adhesive fixing the panel into position
  • Composite Panels should never be dragged on edge as delamination can occur due to excessive force tearing the laminate away from the core
  • Appropriate personal safety equipment should be worn when handling Composite Panels

Customers regularly travel up to 2000 kms to collect the panel kit of their choice, often with a partner or buddy and make a trip of it. As far as we know every single one transported their kit home without incident.