STRUCTURAL INSULATED PANELS, SIP’S THE NEXT GENERATION OF UK HOUSE BUILDING
For over 50 years SIP’s has been used in America for building all types of houses and commercial buildings from affordable through to ultra luxury.
Seven out of ten houses in the USA today are built using SIP’s.
The question we are posing today is why is this not the case in the UK?
In all probability it comes down to two things, education and cost. If these points can be overcome we think that a lot more housebuilders will look seriously at SIP’s as an alternative to traditional build.
Let’s take a look at the current situation in the UK. There are probably only three large SIP manufacturers in the UK at present and not one of them sell their product direct to the public. They use partners and wholesalers as vendors. This has the effect of extra costs and the product being too expensive. Couple this with the lack of education about Structural Insulated Panels, SIP’s as a building system and the result is very little takeup.
This is a shame as British housebuilders should have SIP’s as an alternative build system as it has many advantages, which we will see later.
We spoke to two brothers James and Rhodri from PRIME LE SIP’s in Wales, who are on a crusade to change the way UK developers see SIP’s, and asked them how they are going to undertake such a huge task.
They explained that via education and competitive pricing the UK housebuilder will see for themselves that SIP’s will be a viable alternative to traditional build.
To this end they have gone into partnership with a large long-standing manufacturer in the USA who will produce specific panels for them, Prime LE SIP’s for theUK market.When we asked what does the LE stand for we were told it was for Large Element panels of 8m in length and up to 12″ thick, making it so much better as a heat retaining system, yet another breakthourgh for our market.
The promise from the brothers is that the product will be cost effective and as much as 50% below what is already available in the UK today.We said that was a bold statement and were they sure that they could stick by it. They proved to us they could by showing us a graph which compared their product with three UK suppliers for a simple 3 bedroom bungalow. They were as true as their word
They also responded by saying the reason that they can catagorically stand by their bold statement is that they have a promise from their US partners that costs will be kept as low as possible, couple this with the fact that they do not need huge manpower as most of the graft is done the otherside of the pond. They stated that they want to grow their business expotentially and will not be taking huge profits but will endevour to increase their earnings via small returns on volume business.
James points out that education and correct marketing is paramount to their success and once the UK house builder is happy to take SIP’s on board they will see the true advantages of the product. In the brother’s opinion SIP’s is ideal for the UK, specifically with our unpredictable weather. A SIP house can be erected together with roof and made fully weather proof within a few days enabling the builders to work inside in comfort whatever the weather.Think of the savings in time alone and we all know that time saved is money in the bank.
In closing we asked them what was going to be their biggest hurdle to overcome, as one they both said education. To educate the UK builder is going to be a mamooth task. Rhodri said that if you had twenty builders in a room in Cardiff today probably only two would have heard of SIP’s and one may have used the product.
This will change in the coming years as British builders and the construction industry must find a way of building homes much quicker and more efficient whilst attaining the required standards now called for by UK Building Regulations and ensuring that the end user, us the UK house owner, pay lower heating and electricity bills.
As the Americans say a win win for all!
James and Rhodri will be available via their website www.primelesips.co.uk and personal telephone, 07514619348, to answer any questions and promise to give a quotation within 24 hours on any plans sent to them.