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RE: SIPS panels - Structural Insulated Panel System

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I've done a little work with these systems, although it has been a number of
years.  As Eli says there are a couple of suppliers that have ICBO
approvals.  I would stick with one that does have the approvals.  Also, it
seems that what they call "racking shear", doesn't allow very high values,
so be careful there in your diaphragm design and shear wall design.
J. Grill

Joseph R. Grill, P.E. (Structural)
Shephard - Wesnitzer, Inc.
Civil Engineering and Surveying
1146 W. Hwy 89A Suite B
Sedona, AZ  86340
PHONE (928) 282-1061
FAX (928) 282-2058
jgrill(--nospam--at)swiaz.com
 


-----Original Message-----
From: Eli Grassley [mailto:elig(--nospam--at)psm-engineers.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 4:17 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: SIPS panels - Structural Insulated Panel System

John -
I have used this product before, although for a much smaller storage room
type structure. They can install any number of 2x studs/joists (or even
I-joists) at the ends of the panels, with the insulation sitting between the
studs. This helps carry the loads for both roof and wall applications, and
can even be used as end posts for shear wall holdowns. The ones I used
(called "Premier Panels" http://pbspanel.com/) even have ICBO approved
design load tables, which helps me get that warm fuzzy feeling back.

Eli Grassley
PSM Engineers
Seattle, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: John C. Jones [mailto:john(--nospam--at)struct-engr.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 2:47 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: SIPS panels - Structural Insulated Panel System

I have a project that's a private high school dormitory.  The Architect is
very interested in using products that can fulfill multiple tasks.  He has
suggested using a SIPS panel as both the roof decking and the load bearing
wall.  A SIPS panel is basically 2 pieces of plywood separated by
insulation.  The panels are 48" wide and at each joint have actual studs or
joist members.  The project is in central Alabama and is IBC Seismic Cat B.
Seismic will be relatively light for this project.  Wind will likely
control.  The Architect wants this to be his structural deck (14' span or
so), finish ceiling (yes, it's rough), insulation, and shingle nailer.  The
walls would be the same except it would receive sheet rock on the interior
and hardi-plank on the exterior.

My main concerns are:
1.  With a conventional plywood roof on H-clips there is movement available
in the roof.  This product doesn't have this option.  How is this
accommodated for this system so that temperature doesn't cause visible roof
bulges?
2.  What issues are there with load bearing?  It appears that the plywood is
actually taking the load.  It really doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling.
What happens if there is a leak that causes plywood failure?  It doesn't
seem like it would take much termite infestation to cause a problem.
Bulkier studs are more resistant to both of these.
3.  Bolting a plate down and then installing the panel and then nailing
through the panel into the pre bolted sill plate just seems like a crap
shoot.  

Has anyone out there used this product and can offer advice?  My gut feel is
that it's probably pretty good as a roof deck/insulation/ceiling, but I'm
not as comfortable with it as my load bearing wall.  It just seems that
you're relying on the insulation to do a whole lot of bracing of the two,
thin load bearing wythes.

John C. Jones, PE
Barnett Associates
Pell City, AL
205-884-5334
205-884-0099 (fax)


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