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Case Study: The Woods

An energy-efficient estate of affordable homes constructed using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) to provide eco-friendly homes that make the most of increased living space.

Location: Bristol, UK

Materials: Full 169mm kit w/254mm metal web joists. 89X38 cls internal studwork

Area: 10 plots over 1200 m2

Project duration: 4 months

Developers using our SIP panels soon recognise them as an incredibly efficient, eco-friendly way to construct affordable homes. With a 90% reduction of on-site waste, this cuts down construction costs and time significantly.

Below, we’ve highlighted an example of how a client used our expanded polystyrene (EPS) SIP panels to make The Woods, an affordable housing project in Bristol, a reality – in just four months.

The challenge

We were approached by Litt Developments, who were looking to build 10 affordable 2 – 3 bed detached and semi-detached homes in Bristol, for their project, The Woods. Litt had heard of SIP panels before, but had never used them on a project.

They approached us because they needed to construct high quality, affordable homes faster. The homes had to be both energy efficient and spacious for families to grow into, so they viewed SIPs (with incredibly low U-Values) as a potentially good fit.

Litt needed construction to go as smoothly as possible. Any issues would have slowed the project down, taking them longer to see any ROI. As traditional builders, they already had a tried-and-tested method of construction, and SIPs were unknown.

The solution

Having consulted with our in-house design team, Litt decided they wanted families to be able to make the most of the increased living space SIP panels allowed for. By adding dormers, they were able to utilise the roof space to construct additional floors.

Litt opted for a 169mm kit for both the walls and roof – both filled with our expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, allowing for excellent energy efficiency and a 55% typical reduction in energy costs.

Internally, they used our manufactured 254mm metal web joists throughout, which meant no cutting on site (one of the biggest benefits of SIP construction), leading to less waste, reduced labour costs, and a considerably quicker build time.

Minimal steelwork was required for the project, with steelwork being used in the roof for the gable-to-gable house design.

Having chosen to carry out the builds themselves (rather than having us install the panels), Litt still had access to a production manager, and continuous remote site assistance from our team of SIP specialists whilst construction was underway.

Because our SIP panels are so light, the fact the site was in a residential area was not a barrier to the critical path of construction, and they were able to keep everything on track with minimal disruption to the neighbourhood.

Due to the inherent nature of our watertight SIP panels, the project was also not weather-dependent, so a little rain didn’t stop Litt from completing construction with no delays.

The results

Litt were delighted with the results, and having completed the entire project in just four months, they were left with 10 superior-build affordable homes that were not only spacious but also very energy efficient and pleasant for the area.

As a result, the homes sold quickly, and Litt were able to achieve a quick turnaround on ROI; something that had been a key goal for this project.

From a design perspective, with both client and architect having understood and embraced the efficiency of the SIPs system, Litt were a pleasure to work with throughout The Woods construction.

Because Litt had chosen to construct the affordable homes themselves, they quickly became experienced with SIPs, continuing to use them for future projects. Their next SIPs construction project was completed even faster.

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