Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) Technology by Kingspan
During the CPD, a representative from Kingspan presented the benefits of the Kingspan TEK Building System.
The system uses rigid structural insulated panels (SIPs) to construct walls, ceilings and intermediary floors in buildings up to four storeys in height. The panels are designed bespoke per project and manufactured in a factory before being delivered and assembled on site using a unique jointing system. The panels are a structural composite with inbuilt insulation as the inner core, and a rigid outer core. This provides stiffness, strength and the ability to resist bending, and when the panels are used as walls the ability to be loadbearing or non loadbearing. The Kingspan TEK® Building System is recognised by major building warranty providers such as NHBC, Building Life Plans, Premier, Build Zone Homebond and HAPM.
Since the panels are factory manufactured in large dimensional sizes before being delivered and assembled on site, shell construction is completed significantly in advance of traditional method construction. Once assembed the panels are wrapped in a breathable membrane which completes the wind and waterproofing stage. Since this is achieved at an earlier stage than with traditional building methods, follow on trades are able to progress much faster therefore further reducing overall build time.
Cost of build
Speed of completion reduces build cost as outlined above, but also having fewer and larger components further reduces costs in terms of labour. Being larger and fewer in number also means that the component panels are more easily recognisable, therefore reducing scope for costly errors.
Flexibility and Floor space
The multi-use nature of the panels makes them suitable for constructing floors, walls and roofs as long as the foundations have specific tolerances, for erecting ground floor construction. This, and as well as the ability to be cut to size depending on project, makes SIPs a highly versatile buidling system.
The panels can also be used in combination with traditional construction methods making them particularly useful for modifications to existing buildings such as loft conversions.
Since the panels are fabricated using higher performance insulation than that of traditional building systems, insulation thickness may be reduced. This results in a thinner overall wall construction and therefore greater internal floor area for the same size overall building footprint.
The studs used in traditional timber frame construction have a cold bridging effect where they interupt surrounding insulation. This allows them to act as a bridge for exterior temperatures to bypass insulation to reach the interior layers and vice vera. The U-value of a building indicates how effectively the building transmits heat — the lower the value the better. Guidelines on U-values specify a minimum of 5% of walls and 6% of the roof is uninsulated. Due to the large panels utilized in SIP construction and the way they interlock to allow insulation to continue uninterupted, the problem of thermal bridging is minimused. Buildings constructed using SIPs can achieve U-values as low as 4% for walls and 1% for roofs.
Another type of thermal bridging is linear thermal bridging, which is measued in a psi-value. Linear thermal bridging describes heat loss at junctions in the building fabric. The psi-value expresses this in W/m·K. Buildings constructed using SIPs have comparitively low heat loss due to the continuity of insulation at junctions and openings, with the overall effect of reducing the building's operational CO² emissions.
SIPs offer a faster, cheaper and more flexible solution to building construction in comparison to traditional methods. There are added benefits such as increasing floor space for the same size overall building footprint, and reduced thermal and linear bridging which minimises operational CO² emissions.