Design & Build with SIPS? - Structural NZ
Design & Build with SIPS?

Design & Build with SIPS?

Seeing the popularity in the US & South America and the fact that SIPS Panels offer several benefits for home building projects, it is slowly gaining an attraction in New Zealand.

Words by SIPS Direct

The SIP system is a sandwich structured composite, consisting of an insulating layer of rigid core, pressed between two layers of structural board, used as a building material. The board is most commonly made of an oriented strand board (OSB), and the core can either be expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), or preferably a BASF Neopor Polystyrene, (due to its performance value), which contains a ‘green’ flame retardant called PolyFR.
SIPs can be manufactured to create large sections of walls, floor, and roof, and are typically supplied in 1200mm panels to build fast and efficiently, which is absolutely suitable for prefabrication. 


The panels are made locally in our Hamilton factory to your own bespoke requirements. While we can send ‘blank’ standard panels, we can do a lot of the cutting and assembly work in the factory rather than on-site.


This means that once the pre-assembled SIPs walls, floor, and roof panels are delivered, the shell of your new home can be erected far quicker than with a traditional construction method.

Design Possibilities

When it comes to designing your SIPs home, the only potential limitation is your own imagination.

Houses of all sizes and shapes are possible, and after the structure is complete, it can be clad with pretty much anything you like. Whether you want a traditional design & build with a classic brick finish or a modern timber cladding finish or a large window feature, it is all very much achievable.

One design element that SIPs do lend themselves especially well to is creating spacious living areas in lofts, thanks to their strength and insulation performance.

“If you pay good money for your section, why would you sacrifice an opportunity at having a High Performance Product, thinking you could save money, just to stay in the budget ?” asks Rod Yeoman the CEO from Red Herring Design Ltd. “Get your final concept design done and compare Sips Direct Panels vs a timber frame construction and you will be surprised.” Rod continues. 

“Another design advantage of SIPS Panels is that they create additional space, without a huge price tag”, says Rod. “You might be looking at what would traditionally be a two-storey home with a standard truss roof, but using a SIP System, you could achieve three full levels with an amazing attic space and create extra space for your family”, explains Rod. 

The sky’s the limit when it comes to aesthetics, as with any build, but you must hire the right professionals if you are keen to get the best out of your project.

“Having a good architect/designer with a strong knowledge of the system will assist in maximising the overall benefits,” states Rod. “They can help you with factors like window placement for solar gain or shading solutions and adding to the house’s overall performance.”
In terms of the SIP structure itself, working with an experienced designer can help you identify cost efficiencies. For instance, the most economical roof form will be to combine the panels with a ridge beam and apex gable ends, which is the most efficient way to build a SIPs house, to keep the cost down. 

As a result of the excellent levels of airtightness that are inherent with a SIPs build, you need to ensure that you have got a good stream of fresh air circulating throughout the house via proper ventilation. This is the same as it would be in any highly efficient property.

Rod recommends installing a mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) system to maintain a fresh air supply, to benefit from a High-Performance Home.

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