Argyllshire Advertiser


Build-speed, integral strength for better use of light and space, incredible insulation and lower running costs means SIPS is becoming more and more popular here with Scotland’s self-builders


Care to name a phenomenal Scandinavi­an home success, other than that famous store with the bold blue shopping bags?

Think SIPS – Structural Insulated Panels – technology which is one of our northern cousins’ most popular methods of building – it is also taking more and more of Europe by storm, especially the east. These are areas that more than match Scotland’s cold and wet climate and SIPS’ proven success there is winning more converts here.

Simply, SIPS homes are made up of pre-insulated panels, usually from engineered wood sheet and a sandwich of high quality rigid insulation forming walls and roofs. The panels can be made to a wide range of building design and are extremely strong. So strong that roof trusses are not needed and extra window space can be added.

High-ceilings, double-height even; glazed gables and openplan are yours for the asking within a reasonable price and incredible energy efficienci­es. The panels are manufactur­ed off-site and once delivered are installed quickly; your project can be weather tight within three weeks which is music to any self-builder’s ears and mortgage. Trades can be inside while the exterior cladding is still being fitted; the insulation is already in place so there is no need to allow time for that in your schedule.

There are swings and roundabout­s, books to balance and numbers to crunch because each self-build and the circumstan­ces are unique; that’s why you chose to go down the self-build route isn’t it?

You might have a longer wait for the panels to be manufactur­ed; they are bulkier to transport than a traditiona­l kit frame so a crane is needed for the heavier and larger SIPS meaning that access could be tight along single-track roads to a remote setting or an urban plot with confined space.

Any initial extra outlay is more than compensate­d by the reduced energy running costs from the insulation and ability for extra solar gain.

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