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Building with SIPs

Published 3rd June 2020

Choosing your construction method is one of the first and most important decisions you will need to make when starting out on your self-build project. Your choice will no doubt be based on a host of considerations such as:

  • lifestyle
  • environmental impact
  • site location timescales
  • budget

To determine whether building with SIPs is the right choice for you (and of course we think it is), below is a selection of frequently asked questions with answers from Ian Clay. We hope these few facts will make your decision making a little easier.

What are SIPs and how are they made?

Photo: Building with SIPs

SIPs or Structural Insulated Panels are a highly effective construction method used to create energy efficient homes. They are typically used for the structural shell of the building i.e. external walls and roofs and offer a simple and highly adaptable building solution for self-builders and developers alike.

As a modern method of construction the SIP panels are precision engineered off-site in our quality controlled factory setting. Each panel consists of two sheets of oriented strand board (OSB) which are autohesively bonded to a rigid foam insulation core. Extra insulation can be added to the internal face of a SIPs structure to improve thermal performance even further.

Read more on SIPs and their thermal performance.

What are the key benefits of SIPs?

There are many advantages of building with SIP panels:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Exceptionally low U-values
  • Reduced thermal bridging
  • Excellent levels of air-tightness
  • Speed of build
  • Design flexibility
  • Perfect for small, challenging plots
  • Predictable dry-build programming
  • Minimal waste
  • Maximising living space e.g. option of a room in the roof.

Read more information on the benefits of SIPs for more information.

What design features can you create with SIPs?

Photo: Building with SIPs

One of the many design benefits of using SIPs, and in particular the Kingspan TEK® Building System, is the system will always provide a larger floor area than can be achieved when using traditional build methods, due to the thinner construction components.

This is particularly evident within the roof space where unlike brick and block builds that require roof trusses, SIPs roofs are supported by glulam beams. This obvious benefit not only provides additional living space with a value adding ‘room in the roof’ but can often make a fabulous design feature, especially when the roof is left open to the eaves. This will increase the room height to create a light, bright, contemporary living space.

SIPS@Clays has a dedicated in-house design team who work directly with clients from the outset or we work alongside our clients’ architects to translate any plans into SIPs friendly designs.

Read more information on designing with SIPs.

Are there any design limitations with SIPs or things to be aware of?

Photo: Building with SIPs

Flexibility in design and ease of construction means there are few limitations to building with SIPs, and design complexity is no barrier to building a SIPs house. Designing with SIPs offers many options and it is our job to ensure that our clients know exactly what can be achieved.

The simplicity of SIPs allows for practical amends to designs and architects drawings prior to fabrication. Credible SIPs designers, such as our in-house design team can ‘design in or out’ elements of the plans that will enhance or impede your project, with value engineering and cost saving efficiencies identified and applied at the design stage.

How much of the build would SIPS@Clays be involved in?

Photo: Building with SIPs

SIPS@Clays designs, fabricates and installs the Kingspan TEK® Building System. We work closely with clients, architects, contractors and developers right from the outset offering technically sound, straightforward solutions that are individually tailored to a project.

We are ‘practically’ involved until the structure has been erected by our BBA accredited team of installers; it is completely weather resistant and ready to hand over to follow-on trades. However, our involvement does not end there. We have an outstanding reputation for customer care and we are always on hand to discuss any aspect of a SIPs project.

With nearly 20 years’ experience in SIPs construction, SIPS@Clays is the original Kingspan TEK Delivery Partner and has unrivalled knowledge in all areas of Kingspan TEK and structural insulated panel (SIPs) construction. Our clients have certainty that they are not only using the best SIPs product on the market but are also employing experts to deliver their SIPs project.

What to do next

Send us your plans...If you have plans you’d like to discuss, email them to and either Andy, Darren or Ian will contact you to provide a speedy quotation or answer any queries you have about building with SIPs.

We look forward to hearing from you.