What Is SIP in Construction?

February 15, 2024

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are designed, fabricated and made watertight offsite, and can reduce the amount of time framing takes on site. This allows for building to take place more quickly and efficiently, saving money on jobsite labour costs such as scaffolding, project management, and framing labor. A BASF time-motion study found that SIP construction cuts these labor requirements by 55%.

One issue with SIPs is that the outer OSB sheathing is prone to moisture damage if a water leak occurs, particularly in cold climates. This can lead to rot, mould and mildew. Generally, this can be avoided by installing a water resistant exterior finish or simply by keeping the panels away from ground level where possible.

Another downside of SIPs is that their airtight construction means they don’t allow for much flexibility in plumbing or electrical runs, as all the holes for these are pre-drilled and can’t be added to later on. Adding these services can be achieved with a bit of planning, but it’s not ideal.

Finally, the strength of SIPs also limits wall height and eliminates the need for bulky roof trusses, allowing for more floor space in your home. However, this can create issues when designing your home, as you’ll have to carefully calculate the structural loads of the structure to ensure it is suitable and safe for your intended use. To avoid any costly mistakes, we recommend you work closely with your frame and glazing supplier throughout the design process to ensure the best outcome for your build.

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