With lockdown easing and a requirement to 'build back better', the construction industry is at the forefront of the post-Covid-19 recovery. But with supply chains still impacted by containment measures across Europe, the time is ripe to find UK based solutions for current construction challenges.
Structured Insulated Panels may not be new - they were first developed back in the 1950s and 60s - but their widespread adoption and extensive benefits demonstrate the significant contribution they can make to post-lockdown construction.
Flexibility and accuracy
The design possibilities with SIPs are almost endless. But these are not the ugly prefabs of the post war years. Instead, the unique design flexibility of the panels ensures that construction can match any style or trend, with buildings being custom built to match local needs. Critical levels of precision and accuracy are delivered by CAD drafting systems. This not only optimises the use of building materials throughout the design but helps to eliminate inaccuracies in the construction process for greater levels of on-site efficiency.
A further critical advantage is the way in which SIPs can be used to maximise the space in a construction. With no need for roof trusses, a SIPs building offers generous under eaves space, increasing the footprint of any build by up to 25%.
Super eco buildings
SIPs fulfil an urgent need for alternative materials and deliver economic benefits across a project. Easy to handle and maintain, a shell can be constructed faster from SIPs for greater savings. The economic benefits extend to their lack of weather dependency, making it far easier to plan and execute a SIPs based structure and reducing uncertainty as well as cost.
However, it's their unbeatable insulation properties that make SIPs a material of the future. These airtight buildings reduce heating costs for occupants by giving them exceptional levels of control over the interior environment. Draughts and hot and cold spots are virtually eliminated. A further benefit of SIPs is the lack of waste generated during the construction process and the lack of harmful gases released when waste is burnt.
Minimising snags and defects
In NHBC's 2019 customer satisfaction survey, 99% of respondents complained of snags and defects in their new build homes. Where quality is an issue, alternative materials such as SIPs provide off the peg solutions. The manufactured construction of the panels ensures walls that are flatter and straighter, not prone to the errors of on-site construction. This, in turn, reduces the need for snagging.
The legendary durability and longevity of a SIPs constructed building means that the interior is likely to wear out before the exterior. After all, these constructions have developed a reputation for being earthquake and hurricane proof.
A sustainable solution
SIPs buildings can achieve Passivhaus standards if required by reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency. Consider that traditional methods of construction are accountable for 14-16% of the world's carbon emissions and it becomes clear that the industry needs to move away from unsustainable methods and materials.
SIPs buildings are highly effective at storing carbon, to create high quality housing that doesn't adversely impact the environment. But SIPs are by no means a high cost solution and any construction will benefit from an accelerated building programme that delivers a fast return on capital outlay.