There are so many decisions to be made when building your own home but arguably one of the most important is your method of construction. Personal considerations such as lifestyle, environmental ethos and budget will often be the drivers, as will location, design requirements and availability of materials.
Undeniably, there is a host of build methods available to the discerning self builder, but despite this, structural insulated panel building systems (SIPs) are seeing a major surge in popularity. This is no surprise to the SIPS@Clays team, as we know that there are many benefits to SIPs construction.
However, with so many plus point to using SIPs and a huge mix of requirements on individual wish lists, we asked our customers why they chose SIPs to build their self build homes. By far, the two overriding reasons for choosing this popular method of construction were the energy efficiency and speed of build the structural system provides.
At a time when saving money on energy bills is a hot topic of conversation, increasing numbers of self builders and developers are using SIPs to build their homes. They are taking a ‘fabric first’ approach in order to benefit from the lifelong energy efficiency a SIPs build system provides and also to enable them to meet government regulations that require all new homes to produce up to 30% less carbon dioxide.
The Kingspan TEK building system supplied by SIPS@Clays, provides an energy efficient home with low U-values, reduced thermal bridging and excellent levels of airtightness. These combined, reduce the amount of energy used to heat or cool a room by up to 50%. A SIPs building system removes the need for conventional heating or cooling entirely, relying on the natural efficiency of the fabric of the building. You can also add additional sources of heating or cooling if you wish.
The low carbon footprint of SIPs can be complemented by eco technologies such as Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery systems (MVHR), solar panels, triple glazing and underfloor heating. Extra insulation can also be added to the internal face of a SIPs structure to improve thermal performance even further.
Our clients often achieve an A+ SAPs & EPC A rating for their new builds so you can see why this is a major consideration when choosing to build your new home with SIPs.
“Alongside the New England Saltbox design, our main requirement was to create an energy efficient home that was easy to maintain following our retirement. After being introduced to SIPs construction by a friend, we knew early on that with the airtight qualities, low U-values and minimal thermal bridging, a SIPs building system was the perfect construction method for us. We were also able to add additional insulation, an MVHR system, solar panels, underfloor heating and triple glazing to increase the eco-efficiency. We were thrilled when our new home achieved an impressive 1.5m3/h.m2 in the airtightness test.
"We wanted a tight construction programme and after agreeing timescales with our architect, contractor and SIPS@Clays, our SIPs structure took two weeks to erect and just six months to full completion. This helped give us a controlled schedule that made the process enjoyable & less stressful.”David & Julie Clements, Self Builders, North Yorkshire
Let’s face it, once you’ve made the huge decision to self build your own home, you just want to get the job done.
That’s why, when choosing a method of construction, a speedy build is high on both self builders and developers list of priorities.
Considered to be one of the quickest and most efficient building methods around, a SIPs building system is 40% quicker getting to completion than building a home with traditional methods of construction – a very appealing prospect when you can’t wait to move into your new home.
The three overriding benefits that make SIPs builds super speedy, and according to our clients gave SIPs ‘the edge’ when they chose their construction method are:
Off Site Manufacturing Without doubt, one of the main reasons for SIPs’ speedy construction is the offsite manufacturing process where each panel is individually precision cut in a quality controlled factory setting. All apertures and complex design features are pre-cut before the kit arrives on site, which saves time at installation stage, with only minor tweaking to be done, when and if required.
Predictable Build Programme Having a predictable building programme means that our customers feel more in control of their project and if you’re not an experienced self builder, predictability can be very reassuring. The streamline process of off-site manufacturing means that an accurate build programme can be created. This allows for the building site to be fully prepared prior to delivery of the SIPs building system, materials and plant to be ordered and follow-on trades to be scheduled. The predictable schedule means that clients can order their windows and doors as soon as the technical drawings are agreed, mitigating potential delays.
No Weather Delay One thing our self builders (or even the SIPS@Clays team) cannot control is the Great British weather, so it’s good news that a SIPs building system can be installed come rain or shine. This means there are no weather delays or resultant ‘knock on’ delays to follow on trades. Once SIPs installation is complete, and the superstructure is weather resistant, which usually takes two to three weeks, follow on trades can immediately begin working, simultaneously if desired.
It typically takes around 15 weeks from preliminary drawings to the SIPs shell being completed on site. One of our clients commented, “before we knew it, we had a house”.
When you’re choosing your construction method, it’s important to look at your priorities. If you want low energy bills and a toasty warm home or, you want to move into your new home in double quick time, then it makes sense to build with SIPs. Just like the many customers who build with SIPS@Clays every year, you will benefit from a catch-all building solution that has become a mainstream method of construction.
What to do next
If you need any further information on building with SIPs Contact Us here. We look forward to talking to you about energy efficient and quick to build SIPs.