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A new home in half the time

Study results: Structural insulated panels win out over conventional framing 

From a distance, watching a stack of structural insulated panels (SIPs) go up can be like watching a house of cards be assembled by ants. The large panels are hoisted through the air by crane while workers guide them into place. Unlike the stack of lumber for a stick-frame home, which is whittled down over the course of a few weeks, a new study says that a stack of SIPs becomes a dried-in home in half the time.

The study conducted by the RSMeans unit of Reed Construction Data found that framing a house with SIPs took 45% to 55% less time than stick-framing the same house. BASF (www.basf.com), a chemical company that makes some of the components used in SIPs, commissioned the study.

To conduct the study, RSMeans engineers evaluated the time it took a SIP crew to construct a two-story, three-bedroom Cape-style home with two small dormers in Tilton, N.H. The engineers compared findings using their own published data of labor hours for conventional framing.

Photo by: John Ross
From Fine Homebuilding198 , pp. 20