Why Build With SIP Panels?
Have you glazed over? SIP what?? Why would you want to drink a panel?
Those were the polite response that we got when we first broached the subject of building with SIP panels to friends and family.
Disappointingly, the most disparaging comments came from the architect that we had hoped to engage at the time. His comments were that you cannot get great architectural design using ‘kitset’ panels and it will also devalue your property using them over timber framing! Probably the reason why he isn’t the architect on this project!
Always up for a challenge, I have made it my mission to prove him wrong on many points. Time will tell aye?
Having researched a number of SIP suppliers, we decided to go with Formance
Back to Formance SIP panels and why we have decided to build with them.
Firstly, what are SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels)?
SIPs stands for Structural Insulated Panel. The are a high performance building system for residential and light commercial construction. The panels consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, in our case Oriented Strand Board (OSB). SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be fabricated to fit nearly any building design. The result is a building system that is very strong, energy efficient, healthy and warm.
How much do Formance SIPs cost?
Formance SIPs can be as cost effective as conventional building methods when panel layout and utilisation are considered in the design phase of the building.
Straight material cost is almost identical to 140mm stick framing, with R3.6 batts and a RAB. Main difference between SIPs and the 140mm framing solution is the ongoing high performance from SIPs. SIPs will be performing as well in 20,30,40 plus years as when it was first installed, whereas the framed house will not only have lost it’s thermal performance through slumping batts and air currents (and it never performed as well in the first place) as well as this when you factor in labour costs and ongoing reduction in energy usage, the savings using Formance SIPs make the financial justification a no-brainer.
How long would a first time builder take to install a SIP house compared to conventional framing?
We supply pre-cut panels according to shop drawings – it’s like a big jigsaw puzzle – so SIPs are faster. The actual panel erection vs frame erection speed will be about the same, but there is no straightening required (2-4 days depending on the size of the building), and the overall program saving is huge because the internal trades can get into the building and begin their work as soon as the SIPs are standing. They don’t have to wait till the cladding is installed. A study made by RS Means in the USA in 2007 is useful to review https://method.box.com/s/pjr6fu1bl0r5nmm7tdo8fc89jcy0y3vz. This shows a time saving of around 50% when comparing SIPs to site framing.
So in short, in answer to my question ‘why build with Formance SIPs panels?’ it’s because our initial raw material construction costs are comparable to timber framing, yet I will save significant costs on labour. Our home will be more energy efficient which will mean cheaper bills for us as well as having a healthier living environment. My build time will be less meaning I have the potential to save on additional housing costs and I get to move in much quicker.