Selfbuilder & Homemaker: Ian Clay discusses the growing trend for SIPs in the UK self-build market
SIPs (Structured Insulated Panels) have been used to build houses in the US for decades, but only recently have they started to catch on over this side of the pond. Driven predominantly by the self-build market, the use of SIPs in the UK construction sector is on the rise – and for good reason, says Ian Clay of SIPS@Clays.
In the latest issue of Selfbuilder & Homemaker, Ian describes why SIPs are so well suited to UK self-builders and takes a look at their growing impact on the sector.
“The building blocks of the future”: The suitability of SIPs for UK buildings
SIPs are every bit as strong and hardwearing as traditional building materials such as stonemasonry and timber frame, but with the added advantage of maximising space in the build. With space for new developments so limited and the cost of building plots at a premium, this in itself makes SIPs an appealing option for many UK self builders.
A growing consciousness of environmental issues has given rise to a drive for sustainable homebuilding in the UK. SIPs are exceptionally well insulated, minimising drafts and dramatically decreasing demand on heating systems – often by up to 50 percent – resulting in far lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The Orientated Strand Board used to construct their skins comes from FSC-accredited plantations and takes 80 percent less energy to produce than concrete.
The reduced energy bills are a huge bonus for UK homeowners who, increasingly affected by spiralling living costs, are looking to save money in any way they can. Further savings can be made thanks to the fast build time required to erect a SIPs house – often as little as two or three weeks . This reduces labour costs and enables homebuilders to avoid construction during cold snaps, a great advantage in a country that virtually defines itself by its unforgiving weather conditions.
Practical benefits aside, SIPs are also highly versatile in the aesthetic sense. They can be used to build structures to rival anything you might see on Grand Designs and can be clad with virtually any material, including brick, render, timber, stone, tile or metal. This provides excellent flexibility for design-led homebuilders and those looking to maximise a building’s architectural integrity with regard to its surrounding area.
SIPs and the UK building regulations
The introduction of Target Fabric Energy Efficiency (TFEE) rates in 2013 reflects an ongoing shift in the UK construction sector towards long-term sustainability. With their outstanding thermal performance, SIPs lend themselves far more readily to the new criteria than do other, traditional building materials – without any compromise on quality.
“Someday soon, maybe all houses will be built like this.”
– Ian Clay, Selfbuilder & Homebuilder 16/09/2015
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Read the article in full on the Selfbuilder & Homemaker website. Alternatively, browse our website for more information on SIPs or give us a call on 01756 799498 to enquire about the suitability of SIPs for your own self-build project.