Safe and strong structures for natural disasters
With the amount of natural disasters increasing every year, Code Officials, Architects and Engineers are taking precautions to design residential and commercial structures that are strong and safe. Only proven building envelope systems and assemblies can comply with required strength, and this is proven through a variety of third party testing agencies. Several of these tests include simulations on how SIPs will perform in various natural disasters, including seismic performance & hurricane impact missile tests (demonstrating hurricane force winds).
As a result of these tests, SIPs comply with standards and are regularly used for high wind building designs (to accommodate an excess of 180 mph). With proven tested strength, SIPs building envelopes are approved for Florida’s strict High Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZ). See one of the tests for yourself here.
Watch: Hurricane Missile Impact Test SIPs vs Sticks
Mother Nature beware
When it comes to earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, the strength of SIPs is far superior to most lumber site-framed assemblies. SIPs strength comes from the factory manufacturing process that incorporates engineered structural lamination of every panel. (Get a visual of the structural lamination difference in this video.) When the large structural panels are connected together with structural splines at installation SIPs create a monolithic shell (building envelope) that is highly resistant to shifting.
A study on SIPs performance with seismic load handling was conducted by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory and the Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA). The study details seismic load handling, aspect ratios and perforated shear wall research and is an excellent resource documenting the “Performance of Structural Insulated Panel Walls under Seismic Loading.”
Ready for Coastal construction
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also produced a “Guide to Coastal Construction.” In this guide, FEMA publishes a series of 37 fact sheets that present information aimed at improving the performance of buildings subject to flood and wind forces in coastal environments.
The fact sheets include recommended design and construction practices that address high performing building envelopes, including structural connections incorporating Structural Insulated Panels.
SIPs offer tested and field-proven strength
To comply with increasing building code requirements, Premier SIPS have easily passed extensive third party tests documenting loads, strength and much more. SIPs have been used in the field for more than 140 years, so their strength is well documented in actual structures world-wide. This proven strength makes SIP structures ideal for high wind and seismic zones, and also offer more design flexibility for architects and engineers in these challenged regions. Premier’s final load charts are available for engineers and design professionals here.
When compared with site-framed lumber walls and roofs (where loads are distributed only on the supporting lumber components) in SIPs loads are distributed across the entire panel. This distribution of weight allows SIP structures to carry far greater loads that a stick-framed wall assembly. Specifically, SIP walls can withstand loads 3-7 times higher than standard stick-framed lumber construction.
It is important to note that this strength is accomplished without additional lumber. In fact, more lumber doesn’t mean more strength, as demonstrated by the load illustrations below.
Strong, durable & resilient SIPs structures
The Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) has documented projects that have faired well in hurricanes, tornados and more. To get a glimpse of the benefits of SIPs durability and resiliency in unfortunate storms, visit SIPA’s website here.