Structural insulated panels (SIPs): Introduction for specifiers

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Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are prefabricated, high performance, lightweight building panels that can be used in walls and roofs for residential and commercial buildings. A SIP consists of two high density facings, typically orientated strand board (OSB), which are bonded on both sides of a low density, cellular foam core.


SIPs are manufactured under closely controlled factory conditions and can be custom designed for each application. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective.


This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) provides an introduction to SIPs, how they are manufactured and the materials used. It also discusses the properties of SIPs including acoustic performance, thermal performance and durability, as well as their sustainability credentials.


This Wood Information Sheet was reviewed in March 2020. Minimal amendments have been made to remove reference to the now abolished Code for Sustainable Homes.


For queries about this technical document, please get in touch with its authors via BM TRADA’s Technical Helpline on +44 (0)1494 569601 or email


A paper/digital copy of this Wood Information Sheet is available in the BM TRADA Bookshop, which also hosts additional specialist timber publications.

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