Q. What are SIPs?
A. SIPs or Structural Insulated Panels are a form of timber frame construction, made up of two sheets of sheathing (usually OSB3) bonded to a rigid insulation core (urethane foam or eps) the panels form the load bearing structural skin of the buildings walls and roof.
Q. Is SIP Construction a new technology?
A. No: SIP panels have been used in the UK for around 20 years, however, they have been used in other parts of the world since the early 50’s. The first SIPs Panels were invented in Madison, Wisconsin by engineers at the Forest Products Laboratory in 1930’s.
Q. If SIPs have been around for decades, why is there so much interest now?
A. With the current trends of high energy prices and new legislation regarding the performance of new housing stock, SIPs are being recognised as the most cost effective way to achieve a premium insulated building. They are simple to use, versatile in design application and very fast to erect to a weather tight shell.
Q. Are SIPs more expensive to use than conventional building techniques?
A. No. When compared to conventional brick and block, building SIPs appear to be more expensive, however, the performance of SIPs as standard is far higher than current building regs achieved by conventional build. If you were to build with brick and block to the same performance with additional insulation, the cost would actually be higher than that of the SIPs method.
Q. Do SIPs require any specialist building knowledge or skills to use?
A. No. Anyone with good carpentry skills/tools can use SIPs with a little training. All internal & external finishes/linings are installed in the same manner as conventional building techniques.
Q. Are SIPs safe to use?
A. Yes. SIPs have undergone vigorous testing for structural and insulation performance, they have been tested in relation to fire performance and have obtained all necessary accreditation which is supported by BBA approval.
Q. Can I get a mortgage or insure my house if built from SIPs.
A. SIPs have been used for some years in the UK and are recognised as a main-stream form of construction. The Kingspan TEK™ Building System SIPs have approval from all of the major home warranty suppliers and the council of mortgage lenders, so there is no issue in obtaining a mortgage or insurance for your property. Advise on self-build mortgages can be found at www.cml.org.uk
Q. What footings are required?
A. There are no special requirements for footing details. All standard type footings are compatible with SIP construction, the only requirements are that a load bearing skin of block work is taken up to the DPC level to support the soleplate and this should have a level tolerance of +/- 5-10mm maximum.
Q. What finishes can I use with SIPs?
A. SIPs are a very versatile form of construction and can be used with nearly all finishes from a brick skin to timber rain screen and render finishes. Internally they can be lined with normal gypsum boards, being dry lined or wet plaster finished.
Q. How much quicker is building with SIP?
A. SIP building systems can be erected in a matter of days to a weather tight shell, this is done by one set of tradesmen, so there are no delays in the programme. The nature of the system means that the on-site time for the construction of the shell, is reduced by 30-70% depending on the size and complexity of the build.
Q. How soon can you be on site?
A. Typically we could be on site with your panels within 6-12 weeks from placement of order and a design freeze. This time varies again based upon size and complexity of the build.
Q. What is the level of sound proofing?
A. SIP panels give a dB reduction of 40dB for a single panel lined with 15mm gyproc board. This exceeds current requirements.
Q. What is a U-Value?
A. A measure of heat loss, it is expressed in W/M2K and shows the amount of heat lost in watts (W) per M2 of material, when the temperature (K) outside is at least 1% lower. Basically, the lower the u-value the better the insulation provided by the material, as with the Kingspan TEK™ Building System SIPs panel.
Q. What is a PSI Value?
A. Updates to the approved document Part-L building regulations in 2010, placed more enfaces on the impact on Linear thermal bridges at junctions within the building fabric. Expressed as a PSI (symbol of a PSI value?) value. SIPs (structural insulated panels) naturally achieve high PSI values due to the jointing system which gives continuity of insulation, inherent within the SIPs system. The Kingspan TEK™ Building System has modelled PSI values which can be provided to help Architects and Designers achieve the best possible results within their SAP (standard assessment procedure) calculations.
Q. What is a Y Value?
A. A calculation within the SAP procedure and is the total sum of the PSI values multiplied by the total length of each junction within your dwelling, the lower the Y-value the lower the heat loss. Inherent as standard within the SIPs system.