what are sips

What are Sips?

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) are an advanced method of construction offering excellent thermal performance, light weight structural strength, and time and cost saving benefits over traditional construction methods. SIPs combine several components of conventional building, such as studs and joists, insulation, vapour barrier and air barrier. They can be used for many different applications such as exterior wall, roof, floor, and foundation systems, and are all custom made for each application.

The Benefits

  • Superior Insulation – structure is completely airtight, and therefore eliminate the need and cost for cavity insulation.
  • Structurally Sound – minimal support required
  • Environmentally Friendly – all the materials used are biodegradable and low impact
  • Extremely quick to build
  • Cost effective – similar in price to traditional methods, minimal construction time, labour and materials.
  • Habitable Roof Space – SIP building systems do not require roof trusses, therefore providing an additional habitable room in the roof.
  • Compatible with other building systems
  • Fire Safety – exceeds the Building Regulations and British Standards

The History of SIPs

You may have heard of ‘prefab’ housing, which in the UK was built in huge numbers after WW2 because so much housing stock had been destroyed by bombs, and new traditional houses could not be built due to the lack of materials.

They were initially intended to be a temporary measure (most prefab housing was only expected to last for 10 years at most), but people remained living in their prefab homes for decades after the war had ended, and some are still standing even today.

In fact there is a prefab estate in London where the residents have lost their case against demolition – these houses were built in the 1940s and residents were happy to stay. These houses are only now being demolished to make way for contemporary housing.

How Our SIPs Are Manufactured

Superior Closed Cell polyurethane Injected panels. Polyurethane sips are superior to all EPS (expanded polystyrene ) panels which will fail structurally in a fire and are less environmentally friendly, as they let off gas. Our panels are manufactured to order in our UK factory.

How They Are Built

Our Outdoor Living Rooms are delivered as a self build ‘flat-pack’ kit, complete with all the components, providing you with everything you need to construct your outdoor garden room or building. A little like flat-pack furniture, you simply need to have the right tools on hand and follow the instructions carefully!

The SIPs panels are completely self-sufficient and need little, if any, structural support. They are simply lifted into place and then joined together by a specialist glue, self-adhesive tape or foam sealant. Proper sealing is crucial in building your outdoor living room – if not it can compromise the structural integrity of the building.

Once the building is erected the basic panels need to be protected from the elements. This is done by cladding – see our additional extras page for options – which makes the structure weatherproof.

Why Do We Use SIPs?

A well-built structure using SIPs will have a tighter building envelope and the walls will have higher insulating properties. This means fewer drafts and reduced operating costs.

Construction time can be reduced compared to a traditional timber frame building because SIPs work as framing, insulation and exterior sheathing, and come pre-cut from the factory to meet the needs of each individual building project. This also means fewer tradesmen are required on site.

The panels can be used as roof, walls and floor – the latter being particularly beneficial when used above an un-insulated space.

The total life-cycle cost of a building constructed from SIPs will usually be cheaper than a conventional framed one and some even achieve 40% life-time savings.

In many cases SIPs are structurally more robust than timber framed buildings but have a similar versatility for creating custom-built designs.

Building Regulations and Energy Efficiency

Under the latest revisions to the new Part L (England & Wales) Building Regulations, a minimum standard U-value is required for the thermal efficiency of a newly constructed building.

All Garden Spaces garden rooms, garden offices, lodges and buildings are designed and manufactured to exceed the U-values required under these new regulations.

What Is a U-Value?

A U-value is ‘a measure of air-to-air heat transmission (loss or gain) due to thermal conductance and the difference in indoor and outdoor temperatures, in relation to an area of material, expressed as w/m2k (Watts Per Square Metre Kelvin)’

As the U-value decreases so does the amount of heat transferred through the material, i.e. the lower the U-value, the better the level of insulation.

Required U-Values

To comply with the new Part L (England & Wales) Building Regulations building components must have U-values that are at least equivalent to the following:

  • Walls – Building Regulations Walls Minimum = 0.35 Wm2k
  • Floor – Building Regulations Floor Minimum = 0.25 Wm2k
  • Roof – Building Regulations Roof Minimum = 0.20 Wm2kAll of our garden buildings exceed these U-value requirements and therefore offer outstanding thermal efficiency.