Construction using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) technology is regarded by many influential figures in the construction industry as the future of the industry in the UK. Structural insulated panel technology is not a new method of construction as it has successfully been used commercially in North America and in Europe for over fifty years.
This method of construction was introduced into the U.K. in the 1970’s. However, several factors, including more stringent Building Regulations aiming for lower U-Values, new government reports calling for improvements in quality, efficiency, and environmental awareness in the building industry and a shortage of traditional building skills have led to the recent rapid growth in the popularity of SIPs
Structural Insulated Panels form part of a pre-engineered building system, manufactured off-site in a strictly controlled environment and then transported in a suitable format for on-site installation in the most efficient way.
SIPs panels are manufactured in a one step process by injecting CFC free Polyurethane foam (PUR) in between two skins of Oriented Strand Board (OSB3) in a hydraulic press. The resultant panel is lightweight but incredibly strong. The skins are autohesively bonded during manufacture and the structural composition can be compared to that of an I-Beam.
Structural Insulated Panels can form the structural shell of a building, which can then be finished with conventional materials, or they can be used as an insulated envelope over an Oak Frame structure, or indeed as infill panels to steel or timber structures.
The versatility of this product enables it to be used for the construction of houses, apartments, schools, offices and extensions. SIPs can be used to form a warm roof over a conventionally constructed building to create additional living area. Other applications include the creation of a structure inside the brick shell of an existing building (e.g. barn conversions), to take advantage of the unique thermal qualities of SIPs.
Construction using SIP technology is seen as an exciting development for the U.K. building industry.