SIPs Design For Self-Builders

SIPs Design Meeting

As a self-builder it's important that your project runs as smoothly as possible from start to end. Many self-builders have work and family commitments and cannot afford to devote additional time and energy fixing unnecessary problems.

Perhaps this is your first endeavour with SIPs or even your first self-build experience. Whatever your previous knowledge and experience, we will tailor our consultations to give you as much (or as little) hand-holding as you require.

We offer several design and consultation packages. You may simply want your architects drawings or sketches converted into full manufacturer's drawings. Or, you may require further assistance working with a suitable manufacturer after the initial design phase. The quick guide below will help you decide what level of service you may require:

A Quick, Step-By-Step Guide
for Self Builders

Here's a simplified step-by-step account of the process a self-builder might go through when building with SIPs:

Step 1
Decide what you want (new home, extension, garden shed!) and obtain the land and planning permission.

Step 2
Take your architects drawings or your sketches to a design company specialising in SIPs.

The SIPs designers will then convert your drawings or sketches into a computer-based 3D model and visualisation. They will also produce the all-important Manufacturer's Drawings. Remember that even a small bungalow can have up to 130 different cut panel shapes and sizes. Then there all manner of supporting structures that must be accurately detailed before the components of your build can be manufactured.

We offer the highest quality design package. It comes with full manufacturer's drawings presented in a way that is easy for both you and the manufacturer to understand. This reduces potential confusion that can lead to costly and time-consuming errors.

Click here for full details of the manufacturer's drawings we will supply you with.

Step 3
Take your full, working manufacturer's drawings to a suitable or recommended SIPs manufacturer ~ we normally recommend four panel manufacturers to our clients. But beware.... apart from those we recommend ~ not all manufacturers produce their panels to the same exacting standard. Not only that, you must keep a tight vigil on your manufacturer to ensure the components are produced to your requirements and in the right order.

For example, in our experience some panel manufacturers will simply extract all the simplest panel shapes and cuts from your design and mass produce them first. You could then find yourself taking delivery of and storing dozens of panels, of which only a handful can be used at that time! You really need them delivered to you in the WALL order that you will build with and this takes some careful negotiation with the manufacturer. Of course, this is just one example of many potential pitfalls that can face inexperienced builders when working with a SIPs manufacturer...

We offer a consultation service beyond the design phase. Because we have a close working relationship with many trusted SIPs manufacturers, we can provide a full, one-stop solution for self-builders. We take away the hassle and headaches of keeping on top of the manufacturing process by acting directly with manufacturers. We ensure that they fully understand your design plans and that your panels and supporting structures are delivered in the order you need them. Also we offer an on-site service where we meet with your joiners and explain the method for building with sips and work alongside of them in preparation and erecting the first series of walls ~ and more in necessary ~ we usually make a further visit to oversee the roof being assembled onto the walls ~ to ensure this is done as best as possible and to check all joints are glued and screwed as required.

We only recommend SIPs manufacturers that we trust and with whom have worked with previously. But it goes without saying to do your own due diligence and should you opt for another SIPs manufacturer, we will work closely with them also.

Savings can be achieved in these erection stages of the project ~ but it is highly recommended that this be undertaken with experienced life time joiners NOT jobbers or cheap 'I can do any job for less persons'.

Remember that time served joiners have all the correct tools and disciplin's to effect a proper job ~ the cheepo's invariably cut corners, omit to run the glue in the joints, use smaller length screws........etc etc. ~ It's your job ~ do you want it right or to fall down and sag......I'm sure that any Building Regulations Inspector worth his salt will pick-up on cheepo work and will ask for it to be exposed ~ if found to be sub-standard you could end up stripping the whole build back to basics....just give this a though when you choose which way to go.

Click here for full details of our SIPs construction and consultancy package.

Step 4
Begin the construction process of your new build. You may want to do this yourself, and many of our self-build clients have chosen this option, such is the simplicity of the SIPs concept. You could also hire a local builder who should be well capable of erecting the structure. We often recommend you opt for a joiner however, because they may be more adept at close tolerance construction.

Full Details of Our
Manufacturer's Drawings Package

Our design service comes with full manufacturer's drawings presented in a way that is easy for both you and the manufacturer to understand. This reduces potential confusion that can lead to costly and time-consuming errors.

We take your architects drawings and reconstruct these to suit the SIPs, either for modular panel width or suitable length, adjusting where necessary to form corners and openings. This is done in order to achieve optimum use of panels and to maintain the closest and best opening positions desired by yourself.

Our design creation is of the utmost accuracy and includes for close tolerance construction methods ideally suitable for structural insulated panels. The whole of our design will be undertaken in 3D modelling form to enable all aspect viewing and checking.

As we progress with the design we purposefully incorporate load lines up through the structural build to achieve the necessary support each construction must offer to the upper storeys and roof areas.

We understand the ideal positioning of eco-joists and similar floor support constructions. Together with these we can include for under-floor heating provision as part of the build. This, in many instances, changes the cut sizes for openings and their respective heights to doors and external windows.

As the design comes together, the individual floors and walls are finalised and for each the particular make-up of SIPs is determined. Each wall in the construction is individually identified, and each panel in the make-up of that wall is also identified and fully numbered.

These individual panels are then taken and detailed as separate items for manufacture. This includes for all rebates, splines, openings, angled cuts etc. -- whatever is necessary to provide sufficient and accurate information to the manufacturing process.

Usually these SIPs details are compiled into a booklet and are issued to the manufacturing works with a full listing of timbers and splines. Generally this booklet will incorporate everything that is required in the SIPs supply package to be sent to site.

On larger projects, the manufacturing batches of SIPs maybe limited to that which can be supplied as individual wagon loads or related to split phases for which the job is being controlled. In the majority of cases the first batches supplied to site are for ground floor construction and usually the last batches supplied are for the roofing.

Roofing is a little more involved than that of walls as there is an element of structural support. This is either in the SIPs construction or by means of additional structure, such as steel or timber frames, or by using interlaced beams into the panel assemblies (such as at valleys and ridges).

Our Design & Consultation Process...
From Start to Finish

SIPs design process

In the early stages of enquiry or pre-discussion, from your sketches or drawings we advise you as to how best we would tackle your project. From here...

We will point out if any structural requirements need to be met or if any positional changes to openings may improve the structure or stability of the proposed build. So far you have made no commitments. Based on our pre-discussions, should you wish to use our services...

  • We will have an in-depth design meeting with yourself, the client, to ascertain your ideal requirements and to finalise your full design requirement. In this discussion we will point out the best usage of structural insulated panels in your particular circumstance. With our experience, we can highlight any changes we consider may enhance your project -- that may better transmit loading forces down through the building for example. At the culmination of this meeting...

  • Between ourselves, we will have an agreed and finalised design from which we shall progress with the detailing of the structural insulated panels. From this same meeting, we may provide you with a list of specific queries that need to be answered. Our designs will most probably depend on the answers to these queries and we urge that you progress this list as soon as possible to avoid any delay to your project...

  • During the early SIPs design stages we shall keep you informed as to the progress and of any minor changes needed other than those earlier discussed. At all times...

  • We will be available for you to contact and discuss your project throughout the design stages. The completed and finalised SIPs designs will be disclosed at a meeting immediately prior to hand-over for your further comment and / or acceptance...

  • Depending upon the service you have selected from our portfolio, we are available to follow through and give advice and / or consultancy during the manufacturing of the panels and the erection stages of your project. In the event of you having problems either with the structural insulated panels or your contractors...

  • We are always easy to contact and in most cases can probably give a quick response with valuable advice and help as needed.

  • Following the completion of our services we shall supply you with a finalised full set of arrangement prints and a computer disc of the arrangement drawings supplied for your own records.

    Have Questions About a Project
    You Want Designing?

    Then please send us an e-mail using the form below or call us on 0151 426 6826. You can simply ask us some general questions or arrange a no-obligation meeting to discuss your plans:

    Please Send Us Your SIPs Question

    Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.