Request a Quote

Using SIPs as an alternative to timber frame in Social & Affordable Housing

Part L of the building regulations have changed bringing in new U value requirements in England and Scotland.

This has put much more stringent requirements to achieve lower u-value ratings onto builders of social housing and affordable housing.

Bringing these u-value changes across into the SAP calculations, this means the roofs are measured against 0.11 to meet an EPC energy rating of A. For walls, a 0.18 will achieve an A rating.

By its nature timber framed builds are not particularly air tight so timber frame based builders are scrambling to find ways to meet the new Part L requirements. This typically starts by adding in a significant amount of extra insulation to get near to where they need to be. Increasing PUR/PIR insulation, using better membranes and adding insulated plasterboard all work towards achieving Part L but lead to increased costs when building with timber frames.

Did you know that you can have a SIPs panel solution for the same price as a timber frame on social housing?

Request a Call Back

The benefits of SIPs for affordable homes:

Let’s start thinking about some of the high level advantages of using high-performance SIPs panels in affordable and social housing:

  • Reduced U-Values - meeting Part L of the building regs
  • Airtight buildings with reduced cold bridging
  • Up to 3x faster builds than traditional methods
  • Save on labour - reduced number of trades and supervision on site
  • Sustainable builds that can assist with BREEAM requirements
  • 90% less wastage on site (as our panels are manufactured off-site)
  • Zero reliance on weather - less disruption to the critical path
  • 7x stronger than timber frame - and 3x stronger than brick and block
169mm panel for the SIPs hybrid system

Introducing the new SIPs Hybrid and Hybrid Plus systems.

To help the developers of social and affordable housing Sips Eco have launched the new Sips Eco Hybrid System.

The Hybrid system is ideal if you’re not going to use the roof space in an affordable housing development.

The Sips Eco System is airtight and inherently meets the required u-values. It is increasingly seen as a very fast and economic alternative to traditional builds that will achieve the target U values.


Sips Eco Hybrid System – achieve Part L

  1. Achieve u-values of 0.17 to 0.18.
  2. 144mm SIPs wall panels with a roof truss and brickwork/blockwork.


Sips Eco Hybrid Plus System – for even lower u-values

  1. Achieve u-values of 0.15 to 0.16.
  2. 169mm SIPs wall panels with a roof truss and brickwork/blockwork.
  3. 194mm SIPs wall panels with a roof truss. Can be rendered with no need for a brickwork/blockwork exterior.


Benefits of the Sips Eco Hybrid System over timber frame:

  • A better and more structured product.
  • A BBA certified system.
  • An award-winning company.
  • Innovation that supports your funding applications.
  • Easier working setup for follow-on trades such as electricians and plumbers.
  • SIPs Hybrid system removes the cost of bringing in another trade to install a VCL on the inside of the frame.


Here's what some of our customers are saying:

"“If you are not using the roof space in your affordable housing, the Sips Eco Hybrid system is perfect and a cost effective improvement on timber frame”."

A Housing Association Specifier, Autumn 2023

Planning on using the Roof Space?

If you are planning to use the roof space on some, or all, of the homes then consider future proofing your development with a full SIPs roof. This will allow you to utilise the roof space and create an extra bedroom or two.

Local Authorities – if you’re a Local Authority, or their contractor, then you might be attracted to having a SIPs roof because it provides the ability to increase your housing stock without moving people out. You’re futureproofing your housing stock by putting the shell in place, you’re potentially not installing the stairs and finishing the roof space during the initial build phase.

Developers – if you’re a developer building affordable homes then perhaps a pepper pot approach could work best – where some of the homes on your development will use a SIPs roof to utilise the roof space (giving you more rooms on the same plot footprint for a higher price point).


The new Sips Eco Hybrid system is an energy efficient hybrid system for affordable housing.

In terms of meeting the u-value requirements in Part L, it can cost-effectively beat the traditional timber frame approach which historically most have been building with. And if required it provides the potential to increase your floor space, or future proof your build, by adding a SIPs roof.


Find Out More

To learn more, or for an informal chat with one of our expert team, please get in touch.

Product Information

  • Thermal Bridging
  • Air tightness
  • Fire Performance
  • Panel Sizes
  • Our award-winning system uses Sip joining splines to connect the panels, providing continuous insulation, not interrupted by repeated stud work, giving high levels of air tightness minimising any heat loss through thermal bridging.

  • Sips Eco Panels comprise two sheets of OSB3 sandwiching a core of high-performance rigid EPS insulation. Our innovative insulated Sips spline system joins the panels together creating an airtight structure which can assist to achieve Passivhaus performance standards.

    Standard Sips Eco kits have High Levels of air tightness (typically 2-4acph).

  • Sips Eco Panels load bearing walls have achieved a 75 minute fire rating (BS476 Pt 21). While non-load bearing walls can achieve up to a 90 minute fire rating (BS476 Pt 22).

  • All our Sips Eco Panels have a standard width of 1200mm, with standard lengths of 2400, 2700 and 5100mm.
    Panel thickness range – 119mm, 144mm, 169mm, 194mm & 219mm
    *Non standard sizes can be cut from the standard panels

Thermal Bridging

Air tightness

Fire Performance

Panel Sizes

Looking for improved u-values and a cost effective method of building your social and affordable housing? Get in touch today

Your drawings might already be ready and you’ve already specified a 144 timber panel – why not give us a chance and see how we can match? 

One of our experienced SIP specialists will be in touch – usually within one business day – to talk you through your options.

Get a quote today

Keep in touch with our latest news


2024 Homebuilding & Renovating Show @ NEC

We’re exhibiting at the NEC for HBR 2024 and delivering a masterclass on “The advantages of building with SIPs”.

Discover more


Sips Eco shortlisted for Best SIPs Home at the 2023 Build It Awards

We’re excited to be shortlisted for two homes in the Best Sips Home category.

Discover more

Press Releases

Energy efficient new homes at Lochford Gardens Dunbar

We’re delighted to announce our involvement in the new Lochford Gardens development in Hallhill Dunbar.

Discover more

Why sign up for our newsletter

  • Keep up with advancements in the SIPS building system
  • Be the first to see new case studies showing what's possible with SIPS
  • Find out how to build faster for less money without any compromises