The Future of UK Construction Part 8: Resistance and Stability in Construction
A Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) is a multi-faceted product; strong, adaptable and ideal for the modular market
One of the most important benefits of SIPs in modular construction is their exceptional strength and durability, making them suitable for all walls, roofs and floors in domestic, industrial and commercial construction. SIPs are currently under-utilised by the UK construction industry, yet they are at the forefront of technical superiority when compared with nearly every other building material.
Here, we look at the extensive testing that underpins the word ‘unbeatable’ in our headline.
Rigorous testing and products which meet the highest levels of compliance
Hemsec adheres to the European Technical Assessment (ETA) document, which specifies precisely the rigorous tests followed as part of the Factory Production Control (FPC) process.
All Hemsec SIPs have ETA accreditation and CE Mark Certification. This is a guarantee to any construction-related company in the UK and Europe that Hemsec’s products have been tested to the very highest levels.
The tests are specifically for Structural, Acoustic and Thermal properties, including Fire Resistance. The results of these tests are verified by Eurocodes.
The CE Mark Certification process classifies SIPs as a System 1 product and ensures that during audits there is a strong focus on Factory Process Control (FPC) processes.
Hemsec is also BS EN ISO 9001:2015 certified; this quantifies our quality management system thus demonstrating our ability consistently to provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.
Assessing mechanical resistance and stability
The six elements to verify mechanical resistance and stability are:
1. Horizontal load capacity for walls
SIPs are pre-engineered and carefully designed to withstand vertical and horizontal loads. They are manufactured by sandwiching together a core of rigid closed-cell polyurethane foam (PUR) insulation, bonded to two outer Oriented Strand Board (OSB) skins. Their load bearing ability derives from the strong, structural bond between the three layers which makes a building also airtight and water-tight.
2. Vertical load capacity for walls (with or without eccentricity)
Under the Eurocodes Hemsec SIPs generally provide a vertical loading capacity of 80kN/m, which is an industry-leading standard.
3. Combined vertical/horizontal load capacity
Although SIPs are relatively light, they have the ability to bear high loads as a result of the strong structural bond between the layers. The load supported by SIPs is conveyed to the ground by the OSB skins, with the structure held in position by the fully bonded insulation core. SIPs can therefore bear considerable vertical and horizontal loads with reduced internal studding.
4. Racking load capacity for 150mm thick walls:
SIPs provide a stable racking resistance for modular buildings, and can reduce the overall frame of the module. In addition, by using SIPs it is possible to reduce some of the components of the frame (e.g. the amount of cross bracing) and sometimes remove the external frame of the module.
At Hemsec we test panels to demonstrate racking resistance of 13.9 kN for an example panel height of 3 metres.
This determination of the racking strength of walls constructed using SIPs is a measure of a building system’s ability to resist wind loads.
5. Fixing capacity
SIPs are fixed with either nails or screws. Both fixes provide sufficient strength although screws are stronger and recommended.
6. Roof structural capabilities
SIPs are equally as strong and effective for use with roof systems. A SIPs 125mm panel thickness, a panel span of 3.0m and a roof slope of 60° has Panel Design Capacities of 5.04 k/N.
We will work with you to integrate SIPs into your building processes and projects, and if you need support pre-or post-manufacture, we will put you in touch with our tried and trusted partners. For specific technical information contact Michael Hunter, Technical Manager
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