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Building with Sipform™: Need to know

Building with Sipform™: Need to know

We’ve crafted this blog post to consider the most important elements during the construction phase of a Sipform structure.
June 28, 2022

We’ve crafted this blog post to consider the most important elements during the construction phase of a Sipform structure.   We hope you enjoy reading it and if you have any questions at all, please get in touch with us.

Creating a high-performance building envelope

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) deliver such a high-performance building envelope that it is far beyond conventional timber-framing and brick solutions.  Inherently, SIPs offer a number of benefits right out of the box which allow for this efficiency.  The key benefits are:

  1. With an EPS core, SIPs require no additional insulation on the building.  By eliminating traditional batts or spray insulation, there is no installation risk that could lead to poor insulation.  No installation means fewer contractors on site too.
  2. With a virtually airtight envelope, indoor air quality is dramatically improved and offers inhabitants a healthier environment.  This airtightness also reduces the requirements for heating/cooling and provides consistent room temperatures.

Although Sipform panels offer a very high R-value, the biggest gains come from the airtightness and the high performance components.

More than an R-value

Sipform and all SIP manufacturers readily offer the R-Value on our panels.  For example, our panels start at an R-Value of 2.30 for our 105mm panel and go all the way up to 3.3 with our 135mm Super Graphite panel.

These values offer a useful data point but are quite a narrow evaluation of a high performance building envelope.  Sipform structures have up to 90% less air leakage compared to traditional structures.  When account for the airtightness and thermal bridging, the performance of a conventional structure drops dramtically compared to a Sipform structure.

Right sizing your heating and cooling system

With a virtually airtight envelope, there is a requirement for mechanical make-up air.  Several options are available on the market and we suggest a Stiebel Eltron Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) or an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV).  With the increased efficiency of the envelope, there are lower requirements on your air conditioning system leading to smaller unit requirements and lower energy consumption.  You should not use the same practices of sizing an air conditioning system for conventional buildings as you would for a Sipform building.

To suit virtually any design

Sipform structural capacities comply with building codes through evaluation reports from third-party evaluators. Many designs eliminate support beams with conscious awareness of where point loads are located, reducing costs, labor and thermal breaks.  SipForm’s increased strength over conventional framing enables greater design flexibility.

Factory manufactured for quality, accuracy and reduced on site labour

The cost and scarcity of construction labour is a challenge; the more that can be done in a factory by Sipform means there is less demand for onsite labour.  Due to the large nature of the panels, there are fewer connections - resulting in faster installations and a much tighter envelope.  

File to factory system

Sipform converts architectural drawings into our own proprietary factory drawings (we also design in house).  These drawings specify the size, layout, assembly and installation details as well as used in the factory for fabrication purposes.

While Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) construction is well known, SipForm have established a technological advancement in Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).  The system significantly reduces time in detailing, manufacture and installation.  It seriously creates the most time efficient model of construction, ever! From the moment we receive a design from your Architect or Designer, our team can rapidly form up a 3D model using our parametric components.

Even from an initial sketch design, we can model, cost and provide feedback on potential saving measures quickly and easily. With a fully pre-tested design, we can manufacture, deliver and complete the installation of all walls to an average sized home within two weeks of the order being placed.

Roof and wall assemblies

Sipform panels are compatible with conventional roof and wall cladding options.  Unlike timber framing, there is no internal air cavity as the EPS core is solid and continuous through.  The solid core reduces convection and condensation issues that can occur in conventional framing.

Because Sipform envelopes use very little solid timber, an increased fastener schedule may be required when attaching exterior cladding.  This can be easily accommodated in the design phase.

Factory cut electrical conduits

Electrical conduits are provided in Sipform walls which reduce electrician labour by eliminating time spent drilling holes in walls.  Vertical conduits are provided in the walls to assist with wiring.  Using surface mounted LED lighting is the preferred choice as this maintains the airtightness (this applies to all methods of construction) but recessed lighting is available.  Determining your electrical and lighting requirements prior to manufacturing will lead to the most optimal and efficient outcome.

This article offers some high level considerations when building with Sipform panels.  If you have any questions, please get in touch with us and we look forward to working with you.

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