opportunity to maintain the wall thick- nesses (and therefore the site plotting flexibility and room sizes) defined by their “standard range” of house designs. Secondly, this could also build in some SAP headroom allowing greater trade off with slab, roof or window specification. Thirdly, these systems can facilitate some future-proofing against further development of Part L, in addition to much faster build times and the associated better ‘cash cycle’.

SIPs systems are very suitable for room in roof designs as an alternative to the various prefabricated roof systems that are now used extensively by builders. SIPs roofs can be used on timber frame walls or even masonry, but the build must be accurate. As with any prefabricated system, lack of fit problems can only be avoided by building to good tolerances. Once fitted, the roof facilitates the early achievement of weather tightness and avoids the complex task of site insulating and ventilating traditionally constructed roofs.

For Passivhaus standards, SIPs is an ideal solution due to its inherent air tightness. Passive houses require an in service airtightness of less than 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals in combination with U-values between 0.09 and 0.13 W/m2


SIPs can also be used as a very efficient replacement for traditional “Metsec and insulation” solutions for cladding steel and RC frame structures. As a cladding solution there are significant advantages. With the right choice of laminate a SIP can offer complete flexibility of fixing position, thereby dispensing with the risks of co-ordination and tolerance. With the right choice of core the thermal performance required will be achieved with a thinner wall profile. That means more internal space for a given footprint which in the rental sector has real value.

Due to its speed, the contractor achieves that all important weathertight date earlier, and therefore can improve programmes, reduce prelims and give the client an earlier handover. In city developments the financial impact can be very significant indeed.

There are many choices of SIP system in the UK. By understanding the product and how it performs, SIPs can offer real benefits to the builder and developer alike.

Ian Loughnane is business unit director at Kingspan Timber Solutions


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