Structural Insulated Panels

Electrical and SIPs

SClarkson-Electrical-SIPs

Rob our electrician has been patiently drilling away into our SIPs panels - this is one of the numerous challenges that brings into question the efficiency of the SIPs process.  Even with the pre-cut chases, at every corner and from wall to ceiling, in many cases Rob has had to cut out access holes to get at and pull the wires.

We had more visitors at the site on Friday (from two great local architecture firms Studiotrope and Insitu), and they spoke of a SIPs process where electrical conduit and boxes are installed as part of the fabrication process vs. in the field.  I guess if you can coordinate everything down to the last 1/2”, it would be advantageous to do it this way.

If you are building with SIPs, make sure your installers place the panels at the intended interior/exterior orientation, and that each corner is drilled out for continuous chase access.  Also, make sure each chase is well marked.  We had a few panels that are square and symmetrical which were installed backwards - an easy mistake to make, but it has created confusion when trying to pull wires, because the chase marks are no longer visible.

SIPs

 SIPS

We will be using SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) for the exterior and roof of the house. Although the cost is a bit more than conventional framing and cellulose insulation, the benefits are numerous: Increased insulating value with foam, straight and plumb walls (presumably), and reduced waste. Unfortunately, however, you cannot use recessed cans in the roof panels at the 2nd floor level, so we’ll make some adjustments to the original lighting scheme.

Note: For information on SIPs, visit www.sips.org

Contractor Selection

A big day for us - we’ve made the decision on which contractor to use for our project.  It’s been a challenging process, as the final three were all very qualified, and some had experience in areas that we valued a lot.

Ultimately, the one with extensive SIPs experience won out, in that he is comfortable with them, and will not be charging us a significant premium for framing all the exterior walls with them.  It’s amazing how many contractors in the Denver area do not even know what SIPs are!

Many of the custom home-builders are charging a premium for their services in Denver.  Even though the market as a whole may be slowing, custom outfits in the metro area still aren’t hungry yet.

We are very happy to have made this milestone, and now the focus is on getting the permit set into the city and the project started ASAP!