SIP School Gets Real

November 27, 2006

This is my last cramming session before things get real.

Home away from home

And like in college, I have to deal with some distractions. 


But enough of distractions. The itinerary for the first day is…


The points that sound interesting are the points of Best Practices and Learning from Our Mistakes. I expect to have good notes on these topics.These two topics are of special interest to me because in my casual conversations with builders I have been surprised to hear how many of them expect to build with SIPs, if not in their next project, in a project coming up soon.

Al Cobb told me that he thinks the biggest thing holding back the SIP industry is a lack of trained installers. I think that says a lot about the state of the home building industry. Things are changing fast. Not many of the people I have talked to are asking what’s wrong with traditional stud framing. Most people are asking how do we make building better and keep up with the mandates of a changing world.

Here’s a note on my bias: I am not a proponent of a specific building system, but I am a proponent of using the best methods and practices available to us. As the posts follow I will hedge them in advance. The point of this exercise is to get inside the SIP building method. It’s important to keep a critical perspective but as I consider the pros and cons of SIPs it’s just as critical for me to take a deep dive; to take off my flotation devices so to speak. It’s up to you all to keep me honest. I welcome the diversity of points of view. If you have questions about what I post or disagree with what I am saying, post a comment.

I’ll leave it at that and see you all tomorrow.

Tools I’ll need



  1. I have built 2 SIP houses; both were custom projects and that’s the way I see the industry staying for awhile, as long as the spec builders keep the “impress your neighbor” crowd happy with square footage and cheap glitz. The savy folks who research a better, smaller house with these new techniques are who I want to build for. High tech, better quality, and smaller footprint still costs a pretty penny, but for the client and myself it is a very satifying way of using the clients resourses and my efforts.
    I could identify with your findings on pros and cons. There is a problem with one illustration where the panel is shown in an electrical context, so it’s probably not a big deal, but it shows no bottom plate between the OSB sheets. Also, when I needed to add an extra electrical chase, I heated up the end of a sized piece of rebar and then directed it where I needed the chase to go. People naturally scatter when someone is wielding a long piece of hot rebar, but of course caution should be used when your subs are around and in there own little world (no offense).

  2. So, Where is the rest of the article? Am I missing something? I was reading along hanging on every word then BANG! – the book slammed shut on my nose. Seriously, I was hoping for more. I had been told by someone that the school was “unnecessary” – in a way. I’m not sure which “way” that is but I am going to give it a shot – I think I will be running down there for thier SIPS 201 class next week. I have been following the industry for some time and plan on building very soon. Likely a “SPEC” house of sorts to showcase the wonderful world of SIPS. I would be interested to hear how the rest of your class turned out. – keep us posted – and thanks for what you have written so far.

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