Structural Insulated Panel Design Resources

Design is only as good as the products you have to work with. That’s why architects and engineers love designing the building envelope (structural framing) with SIPS from Premier Building Systems.

Premier’s structural insulated panels are not only the best available on the market, but Architects & Engineers rave about this versatile design product that builders and homeowners love. Once design professionals get a sense of the versatility that designing and specifying Premier SIPS offers they turn to SIPs time and time again.

Our technical design resources provide the critical information you need to design structures with Premier SIP systems and products. Our Technical Division has nearly forty years of third party data and testing to meet your needs, so if you don’t find what you need please contact the Premier SIPs Expert in your area.

Why Architects Choose Premier SIPs

Energy Efficiency starts with the Building Envelope

Top reasons why architects are turning to Premier SIPS for roof, wall and floor framing needs:

  1. Incredible “green” features. Home and building owners regularly save up to 60% on utility bills. The R-Values of all panels are unsurpassed when compared with traditional stick frame lumber construction. Find out more…
  2. Strength. SIPs are able to bear incredible loads. Ideal for heavy snow loads in cold climates such as Alaska, or for withstanding nature’s forces (storms, winds, hurricanes and more) Premier SIPs truly are a stronger, structural framing option. The IRC and ICC agrees with Premier’s SIPs technology and has adapted the product category into the national residential and commercial code guidelines.
  3. The ultimate code reports. We believe in the advantages the SIPs technology offers the construction industry so we spent years in product development and research to create the best code reports in the industry.
  4. Straighter walls. With expanses ranging up to 24 feet in one panel, its no wonder that buildings achieve straighter walls without bows and curves. Homeowners love straight walls to showcase artwork and stage intricate lighting designs. Builders love straight walls because they make flooring, millwork, cabinet, door and window installation much easier by reducing the need for shimming floors and constantly trimming and adapting millwork to fit bowed walls.
  5. Better design.   Archways and curves are second nature in the design of Premier SIPS . Our routers can cut our panels and openings in our panels into any shape you can dream up. Panels are delivered to the job site pre-cut per your drawings, allowing jobsite installers to cut days off of installation when they would otherwise be creating arched openings, windows and more.  To make sure you are able to take full advantage of the versatility that SIPs offer our experienced drafters and project engineers are available to assist you throughout the design and specifying process. Preview our featured architectural project profiles to get a sense of SIPs design options.
  6. A builders dream. Who wouldn’t love offering their customers a product that will save money on utility bills, reduce installation labor schedules by 60% and that will offer a stronger, healthier home? Once they’ve tried working with them, builders love SIPs for these very reasons. So you can be confident you are offering your customers and contractors a superior framing product.
  7. Fire & insect resistance. The foam in Premier SIPS includes a treatment that makes the foam resistant to carpenter ants and termites. Premier SIPS exceeds all North American standards for residential construction. In addition, we have completed exhaustive testing for multifamily and commercial structures requiring one-hour fire resistant assemblies. Premier SIPS perform very well in these tests. When covered with an appropriate thermal barrier, such as gypsum board, SIPs meet all national fire safety standards for any Type V structure.


Sustainability & Environmental

Please visit our detailed Environmental webpage here. You’ll find thorough information on

  • Sustainable structures with SIPs: How SIPs save energy & conserve resources
  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ): How Structural Insulated Panel structures create turn-key healthy indoor environments.
  • LEED certification
  • Tax Credits
  • Energy Efficient Loans
  • Industry Resources & Studies


The Design Process

SIP Design Process Outline

  1. Understand client needs and wants.
  2. Consider SIPs as you conceptualize. Energy-efficient SIPs are often a perfect fit for residential and light commercial projects, eliminating the need for additional continuous insulation on the building exterior.
  3. Edit and submit our convenient Design Specifications with your next appropriate bid.
  4. Design the building. For SIP structures, prepare your usual architectural drawings. The SIP manufacturer will convert your work into SIP shop drawings that specify SIP size, layout, assembly details and installation specifications.

Consider the following as you design:

Structural Capability

See our load tables for load capacity (according to SIP height/length and thickness). Indulge in open space as SIP roofs provide the capacity to span long distances – ideal for cathedral ceiling applications. SIP roofs can cantilever past walls to provide overhangs. SIPs can act as their own header, minimizing cost and maximizing thermal performance.


Keep all HVAC equipment and duct work inside the conditioned SIP envelope.

The airtight SIP envelope typically reduces the load and allows smaller HVAC equipment. Verify proper equipment sizing with an energy model using ASHRAE Manual J or REM/Rate or Ekotrope design software.

Consider specifying a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV), as referenced in ASHRAE 62.2 guidelines, for balanced fresh make-up air.


Vertical and horizontal electrical chases are typically provided by the SIP manufacturer. Plan ahead for special chase location. Surface mounted LED lights should be used instead of recessed lighting.


Design into interior walls.


Because SIPs use very little solid lumber, an increased fastener schedule could be required when attaching exterior cladding. In some climate zones, a back-ventilated assembly may be appropriate.

Design Support

Our Experts are here for you every step of the way

Dedicated Project Manager

We believe it is our job to be your best framing design resource.  When you work with Premier you will have one Project Manager (point-of-contact) to help answer all your design questions. Our Project Managers work regularly with our in-house drafting and engineering divisions so they can help you find the support and technical information that you require to complete your design projects efficiently. We are also available to help convert your older designs into Premier SIPS plans.

In House Technical Center

Engineers and design professionals with literally 50+ years of combined experience are on hand to help answer any challenging technical design questions you have. Anything that your Project Manager requires additional support on, comes from professionals with decades of international experience working with the SIP product.

Seismic & Fire Performance

Premier SIPs Seismic Loading & Performance

SIP Seismic Performance

The Forest Products Lab recently published the following SIP Research paper. This paper discusses SIP Seismic load handling, aspect ratios and perforated shear wall research. This work is a joint research project of USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, and the Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA).

See Premier SIPS Exclusive ICC-ES Specific Code Reports for Seismic categories D, E, and F 

SIP Fire Performance

Premier SIPS have the most extensive fire assembly testing in the SIP Industry. As a result of this destructive testing, we can document the performance of Premier SIPS under the rigorous test standards of ASTM – E119, ASTM – E84 and UBC 26-3. One Hour fire resistive assemblies are achieved by combinations of underlying structure and protection of that structure by Gypsum Wall Board – for both Commercial & Residential Applications.

For fire assemblies and building code compliance refer to:

The following Intertek listing further confirms a one-hour fire rating for specific SIP assemblies throughout the SIPs Industry.

Third Party Testing & Quality Control

Premier SIPs Quality Control

Premier uses third party independent quality assurance agencies to assess and audit the quality control process in our manufacturing facilities. These agencies include PFS Corporation and Underwriters Laboratories. Premier also requires their suppliers to undergo similar processes to ensure the delivery of raw materials that meet Premier’s exacting specifications.

Premier SIPS has received several awards for Quality Assurance and is the only SIPs manufacturer nationwide to have received the coveted Commitment to Quality Award from PFS Corporation. Premier was the first and is still the only manufacturer, nationwide, to use controlled environment laminating in their pressing operation.

Premier also has a full-time Technical Center available to assist with all design and engineering needs. Our Tech Center team regularly tests our product properties. From fire ratings to loads to R-values, to specification updates, we have invested in providing you with thorough and accurate design & construction resources.

APA: Engineered Wood Association SIPS Resources

APA: Engineered Wood Association Resources

As the industry expert for engineered wood products the APA has extensive product resources detailing the use of wood products included in SIP systems such as OSB & Lumber. The history and testing of SIPs and wood based components is well detailed by APA resources below.