Sips History

What are sips and how long have this type of building system been used in construction of homes and buildings?

SIPS are structural insulated panels that are used to construct a large variety of buildings and have been used for a very long time. Structural Insulated Panels, SIPs, are very strong and can be up to 7 times stronger than the traditional timber frame type construction.

Sips offer a far superior insulation, structural strength and air-tightness than traditional systems. The composite panels are lightweight, quick to erect and do not suffer the usual problems of cold bridging and shrinkage associated with stud walls.

Although they have been used since the 1930s in the USA, Canada, Scandinavia and Japan the technology has only recently begun to be recognised in the UK construction market in the last ten years as a better stronger faster and more cost effective eco way to build homes and buildings.

New government regulations requiring higher insulation standards and the renewed importance of using sustainable building materials have made the building companies more interested in building with the Sips technology systems as the can all see the great advantages and cost reduction using the sips method to build with.

The concept of a structural insulated panel began in 1935 at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin. Engineers speculated that plywood and hardboard sheathing could take a portion of the structural load in wall applications. Their initial panels were constructed using framing members within the panel combined with structural sheathing and insulation. These panels were used to construct test homes that were continually monitored for over thirty years, then disassembled and re-examined. During this time, FPL engineers continued to experiment with new designs and materials. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright used structural insulated panels in some of his affordable U-usonian houses built throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s. SIPs took a major leap in technology when one of Wright’s students, Alden B. Dow, son of the founder of Dow Chemical Company, created the first foam core SIP in 1952. By the 1960’s rigid foam insulating products became readily available resulting in the production of structural insulated panels as we know them today.

  • Up to 7 times stronger than the traditional timber frame

  • Superior insulation, structural strength and air-tightness

  • Quicker to build than traditional methods

  • Great advantages and cost reduction using Sips methods