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What are SIPs?

September 21, 2017

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are prefabricated, high performance, lightweight, building panels that can be used in floors, walls and roofs for residential and commercial buildings.

A SIP consists of two high density facings, typically Orientated Strand Board (OSB) which are bonded on both sides of a low density, cellular foam core.

The panels are typically made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation which is bonded to the two structural skins. A strong, structural bond between the three layers is essential to the load bearing ability of the SIP so that high loads can be transmitted by the relatively light units reducing the use of internal studding.

SIP walls can bear considerable vertical and horizontal loads with reduced internal studding.The load carried by the SIP is transferred to ground by the OSB skins, held in position by the fully bonded insulation core.

 

In the UK structural insulated panels are available with a number of different insulation cores; expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), polyisocyanate (PIR) and polyurethane (PUR). Our panels are made with EPS.

In most cases the skins are typically OSB however, Eco SIPs Homes have invested in research and development into other forms of load bearing materials. As well as the standard OSB SIPs, Eco SIPs Homes can offer panels with Magnesium Oxide (MgO) outer skins and Hybrid panels with OSB on the inside face and MgO on the outside face.

 

MgO has high moisture resistance, high impact resistance and is fire rated Class A1 non-combustible.

SIPs are manufactured under closely controlled factory conditions and can be custom designed for each application. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective.

 

Strict quality control procedures are implemented in the manufacture of Eco SIPs Homes SIPs to ensure quality and consistency

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Our panels have third party accreditation from CATG and the factory is ISO9001 certified for quality management and ISO14001 certified for environmental management. All engineered wood products have PEFC chain of custody certification too for sustainable sourcing of timber.

In terms of strength and resistance to fire there is little difference between the different core materials - both forms of manufacture will comply with the Building Regulations. In all cases it is the insulation core that provides excellent thermal properties due to the limited amount of timber studs required.

Equally air permeability due to the large format nature of the supplied panels is much lower than traditional construction due to the small number of joints in the structure.

There are two fundamental applications for SIPs; full structural and infill for a concrete, steel or engineered timber frame. In all cases the product will be engineered for load bearing capability, racking resistance and wind loading and we will provide structural engineers calculations.

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