Fabric First Approach Sips1

How SIPS Were Used as Part of a Fabric First Approach to Construction

There are worse places to live than the Yorkshire Dales. Lucky Andrew and Cynthia Colley will soon be living that dream, having started work on a pair of semi-detached houses within the boundaries of the National Park itself. The couple are taking a fabric first approach to the construction of the building, and for this, they decided that SIPS (structural insulated panels) would be ideal.

The Colley's are planning to move into one of the houses in their retirement, and hope that their fabric first approach will help them save on heating bills. In fact, it was only after they had received planning permission that they found out about the SIPS construction system. After doing some research, they found SIPS@Clays to be the obvious choice – firstly because we are local, and secondly, because we have been building with SIPS for over 10 years.

What is the Fabric First Approach?

Rather than relying on renewable energy devices, the building itself is constructed in such a way that as much heat is kept in as possible. Incredibly airtight and well insulated, with large, south-facing windows to harvest as much solar energy as possible, fabric first housing minimises the need for bolt-on energy resources. The exceptional airtightness of SIPS makes them ideal for the fabric first approach to construction.

The Build

Once the concrete strip foundations were laid, we got to work on the walls and roof. The SIPS took just under a month to erect from start to finish, pretty fast work considering the size of the overall structure.

As I write, the outer walls are being built using random Yorkshire stone to help the house blend seamlessly into its surroundings. Next will be the roof tiles, a high quality reproduction slate from Greys Artstone, which is handcrafted from original slates to give an authentic roofscape.

The Colleys plan to install a woodburner and under-floor heating system in their new home. However, they have high hopes that their fabric first approach will render these precautions largely unnecessary. Having worked on countless SIPS projects over the past 10 years and seen the energy-saving benefits that they can bring, we are inclined to agree that it will.

If you’re considering taking the fabric first approach to construction and energy efficiency, SIPS panels can help you meet the strict airtightness requirements. Visit the SIPS@Clays website for further information or call us today on 01756 799498.