SIPA offers evaluation report for SIP manufacturers

The Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) finalized an industry-wide evaluation report that will streamline building code acceptance for manufacturers of energy-efficient structural insulated panels (SIPs).  The report will provide SIP manufacturers with independent third-party structural testing, quality control, and other data required for compliance with building codes.

Currently, individual SIP manufacturers develop and maintain proprietary evaluation reports that contain structural load tables, fire code compliance, quality control guidelines, and other product application information.  Code officials can reference these reports, available to the public, when evaluating new construction projects.

The new industry-wide evaluation report will be owned and operated by SIPA.  Association members will have the option of using the SIPA evaluation report and manufacturing products that meet the structural requirements and other specifications in the report.

According to SIPA Executive Director Bill Wachtler, having the same product specifications among many SIPA member manufacturers will simplify code approvals for participating members.

"SIPs have been considered an alternative construction technology for some time and this has caused issues in the code approval process," said Wachtler.  "The shared evaluation report will consolidate many manufacturers currently producing under different evaluation reports onto a single report with excellent quality assurance and clear product specifications."

Manufacturers listed on the SIPA report must produce SIPs that meet the required structural performance in the report.  Participating members will also be subject to a standardized quality assurance program provided by third-party certification agency NTA, Inc., who developed the evaluation report. NTA, Inc. is a Nappanee, IN-based testing agency that specializes in product certification and testing for the modular and manufactured home industries.

"Quality control is an essential element of the shared report," said Wachtler.  "The rigorous quality assurance program administered by NTA will bring uniform quality assurance standards to the SIP industry and further SIPA’s commitment to quality SIP production."

Standardized product specifications also make it easier for architects and engineers to incorporate SIPs into their designs.  Instead of dealing with multiple sets of structural performance data from different manufacturers, design professionals can reference the single evaluation report that covers products from many SIPA member manufacturers across the U.S. and Canada.

"I see the report as a huge benefit for designers," said Damian Pataluna, President of Louisville, KY-based SIP manufacturer FischerSIPS and a SIPA Board member.  "Narrowing multiple manufacturers down to one uniform set of load tables will make much it easier for designers and architects to engineer buildings using a consistent set of data."

Wachtler noted that part of SIPA’s motivation in offering a shared report was to reduce the cost of code compliance for its members.  As a requirement for association membership, SIP manufacturers must provide evidence of code compliance and have an ongoing contract with a certified quality assurance provider.  The cost of the evaluation report, its maintenance, and future product testing is shared by the SIP manufacturers using the report. 

Changes and improvements to structural insulated panel technology will likewise be shared across the industry through the evaluation report.

"Because we are all working together as one large group it will be more cost-effective to get new products added to the evaluation report," said Pataluna.  "Alternative panel skins and cores instantly become available to all SIPA members listed on the SIPA evaluation report.  In turn, these products will also be made available to consumers on a faster basis."
SIPA’s shared evaluation report is currently available to SIPA members.  Interested SIP manufacturers are encouraged to contact Mary Jane Hominda at maryjane@sips.org or 253-858-7472.

Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) is a non-profit association representing manufacturers, suppliers, dealer/distributors, design professionals, and builders committed to providing quality structural insulated panels for all segments of the construction industry.

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