30 Apr 2020

Masterspec introduces a new generic section 3876 STRUCTURAL INSULATED PANEL SYSTEMS (SIPS) (available in Standard, Basic and Structural & Civil) as part of the range of prefabrication techniques becoming available in New Zealand.

With a growing emphasis in the construction industry on alternative eco-friendly, versatile and economical building materials, Structural Insulated Panel Systems (SIPS) are a viable alternative to traditional timber framed construction and may function as the structural element for external and internal walls, roofs, and suspended floors.

Construction and design advantages of the pre-fabricated SIPS panels include:

  • eco-friendliness
  • acoustic and thermal insulation
  • relatively lightweight
  • a quick and efficient construction procedure.

SIPS constructed buildings do not usually require any timber or light steel framing, the panels themselves form the structure.

Generally consisting of a thick, highly insulating core of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) sandwiched between an inner and outer layer of Oriented Strand Board (OSB), the SIPS are strong, quick to erect and well suited to the construction industry, both residential and commercial.

In the fabrication of Oriented Strand Board (OSB) 85-90% of the log can be used. Compared with conventional milling, where the recovery is typically 50-70%, the board makes use of timber which would be otherwise discarded.

The materials used for construction with SIPS are similar in nature to standard timber construction, however when using SIPS panels the structure is often erected much quicker than traditional timber framed construction. Complete wall, floor and roof sections can be put up quickly, and a weather-tight building shell can be erected in days.

SIPS panels can be easily integrated with traditional timber framing fixings such as nails and screws. Common external cladding and internal linings, like plasterboard, can also be fixed to the panels in the same way materials are fixed to stud walls.

The system outperforms timber stud and metal framed construction in both acoustic and thermal ratings. Fire ratings can be achieved when installed with the appropriate fire rated linings and/or coatings.

Panels have strength sufficient to be used as bracing walls, however, some additional fixings or studs may be required for stronger bracing walls. Panels are available in a range of thicknesses to suit most projects.

The SIPS system is an Alternative Solution under the New Zealand Building Code; however many New Zealand suppliers have CodeMark Certification. The recommendation is to work with a panel manufacturer to develop the particular panel system and types to suit your project.