Stages of a SIP Build Project

To give you an insight into self building with SIP Build UK, we have put together a step by step guide of the stages involved in building your new home.

(Please use this guide responsibly. This guide is only indicative of the stages and actual stages may vary)

1. Site preparation

Ensure your Building Regulation application has been lodged

Arrange necessary site and structural insurances we guide you in the right direction of who to contact.

Health and Safety

Provide proper toilet facilities – we recommend that you use facilities that are maintained weekly by the supplier (you don’t need to worry about this too !)

Ensure that members of the public are kept off your site by providing temporary fencing.


If you have no secure storage available, a lockable store for tools and equipment is worth considering

Entrance and Access

Hardcore may be needed for easy access to your site / crane hard standing

Water and Electricity Supply

Water is essential: where will you find yours on site ?

Heavy duty tools need electricity: you may need to arrange for a temporary supply or hire a generator (you may also need a transformer for 110 volts)

Space Planning

Arrange delivery of materials to come in phases to avoid overcrowding the site

Also consider space for a skip

2. Working with Sub-Contractors
Always remember that an ‘estimate’ is not a quotation and you should obtain a written quotation since this is a fixed, binding figure and should define the scope of the works to be completed

With the large majority of trades, you should obtain quotations for ‘Labour and Materials’, unless you have a specific reason not to do so. An example of an exception to this is brickwork, which is almost always ‘Labour’ only

Always check with each subcontractor exactly what is included and what is excluded from their package

You may need to provide materials for some subcontract trades. Ensure these are ordered in good time

Don’t forget to check they have the correct insurances in place!!

3. Groundworkers
Setting Out
It is essential that your foundations are correctly located on your plot in accordance with your planning approval

It is our recommendation that the foundations are purpose designed for each individual dwelling

Survey the ground conditions to establish the best foundation method for your site

Structural Floor, Insulation and Floor Finishes
Structural floor or SSL generally refers to the structural ground floor upon which the SIP structure will be constructed and which will receive the final floor finish

Building Regulations require the use of insulation in the ground floor

It is advisable to consult your Ground worker about the timing of drainage installation

4. Scaffolding
Always choose and agree a price with a qualified, recommended scaffolder

Internal features may also require additional scaffolding, such as vaulted ceilings and galleried hallways

It is advisable to lay a hardcore strip around the outside of your house in order to provide a firm base for scaffold. A scaffolder is not obliged to erect a scaffold if he considers the ground to be unsuitable. This could cause unnecessary delays

No one should be allowed on the scaffolding until it is complete and a certificate issued (by the scaffolder)

5. SIP Structure
Erection Service
It is essential that the groundwork is complete and checked for accuracy prior to delivery

Sole Plates
It is essential that the timber sole plates are accurately laid. Any faults at this stage will be magnified as each storey is erected

Structural Post and Beams
These create the structural aisle frame internal load bearing superstructure

These will make up the internal and external walls of your home

Intermediate Floors
These comprise of joists, deck and beams as applicable

Roof Structure
Typically comprises of structural components such as Glulam beams, SIP Panels or in some occasions trusses, rafters, purlins and bracing.

6. First fix trades
First Fix Carpentry
With a SIP structure loose timbers (noggins) that are typically required in vast quantities in other build types are greatly reduced in a Sip structure. Any that are required should be fixed by your carpenter to support electrical sockets, plasterboard, kitchen units etc.

Try to fix all window sill boards from underneath at this stage; they can quite easily be screwed, thereby avoiding any holes and filling on the top face

1st Fix Plumbing and Electrical Services
The installation of all cabling and pipe work

It is essential that cutting / drilling of the SIP structure be carried out in strict accord with the SIP Build UK Construction Details. MAKE SURE YOUR CONTRACTOR IS AWARE!

Liaison with your electrician, plumber, kitchen and sanitary ware supplier is essential to ensure correct provision of timber supports

Ensure that electrical box supports are fitted in accordance with the building regulations

7. Insulation
By choosing your SIP home we will have dealt with the external insulation requirements.

Thermal / Acoustic Insulation

It is the responsibility of the builder or project manager to provide insulation to all areas in accordance with the SAP and thermal calculations

No gaps should exist around insulation in walls, ceilings and roofs NOT A PROBLEM WITH SIPS

If insulation is broken or is poorly fitted between studs, ceiling joists or roof joists, permitting a gap at sides or ends, thermal and acoustic performance can be adversely affected – NOT A PROBLEM WITH SIPS

To meet Building Regulations, walls around all bathrooms and WC’s, including soil stacks, should be fully insulated

8. Plaster boarding
“Drylining is a relatively dry process compared with traditional plastering”


Plasterboard used on walls and ceilings is an internal finish which is a fundamental structural element offering an appropriate degree of fire and acoustic performance. Plasterboard must be fixed in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, usually by screw fixing directly to battens that you install to the SIP panels and or directly to the timber internal walls.

The joints should then be taped, filled and smoothed.

Plasterboard for walls should be taper edged for a taped and jointed system, but for ceilings can be either taper edged or square edged dependent on the final decorative finish.

Storage of plasterboard must adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. Care must be taken not to overload upper floors. It is not advisable to put any more than 12-14 sheets of 12.5mm plasterboard in any one stack

9. Claddings
  • Brick
  • Stone
  • Render
  • Timber
  • Zinc
  • Tiles
  • Rainscreen claddings

Roof Finishes

Interlocking concrete tiles are large format and are generally the most cost effective

Plain tiles may be concrete or clay and they cover an average of sixty to the square metre, and so have a consequential increased labour cost. Plain tiles are often used for tile hanging

May be stone, quarried slate or man-made

Man-made slates are available and are made from either fibre and cement or moulded with a mixture of slate dust and glass fibre resin

SIP Build UK houses can accommodate most types of roof covering. If you intend to use natural or man-made slate it is important that details are agreed prior to the structure construction

Tiled roofs will require nailing according to the exposure rating and the manufacturer’s recommendations

As soon as the tilers have finished, decorate the facia and fix the guttering prior to the scaffolding coming down

10. Second Fix Package
  • Stairs
  • Skirting / Architraves
  • Doors (Internal and External) and door furniture
  • Door linings and associated requirements
  • Take time to familiarise yourself with the contents of your particular SIP Build UK package

    Second Fix
    Works to be carried out include the following:

    • Hanging of all external doors complete with locks and fittings.
    • Hanging of all internal doors, skirtings, architraves and fittings
    • Assembling the staircase, handrails and balustrading
    • Installing loft hatch

    Additional Tasks
    There are other tasks that the carpenters are often called upon to carry out as extras to the above:

    • Fitting of kitchen units and fitted bedroom or bathroom furniture
    • Boxing in of soil pipes and waste runs
    • Laying decorative timber floors

    Carpenters/joiners will usually work on a labour only basis so all the materials and fixings will have to be supplied by you.

    11. Second Fix Services
    “These are to be completed by others to finish off your new home”

    2nd Fix Electrics

    • The installation of power points, lighting and switches in accordance with the appropriate regulations
    • Connection to the mains supply and testing
    • Before completion of the project a copy of an electrical installation certificate should be issued by your electrician

    Remember that the Electricity Board will not connect unless all wiring is complete. If necessary, fit a bayonet point to those bare wires that are “just waiting for a fitting”.

    2nd Fix Plumbing
    The installation of the sanitary ware, radiators, boiler and rainwater goods etc. This will also include commissioning and the issuing of certificates for Building Control approval. In most cases your plumber will fix the rainwater goods, e.g. guttering and down pipes, as part of his second fix work

    Don’t forget to give services (water, gas and electricity) plenty of notice of your requirements and timing for connection.

    “This trade is usually labour only with the decorator providing most of their own tools including brushes, sandpaper and fillers”

    • SIP Build UK timber windows and door frames are supplied with a protective base coat, suitable for receiving either paint or stain decoration
    • It is essential to complete final decoration as soon as possible, and in accordance with the chosen manufacturer’s instructions

    Internal Joinery

    • Stairs, internal doors, skirtings, architraves, door studs and linings can be finished in any proprietary stain or paint to suit your chosen colour scheme.
    • Preparation is two thirds of a decorator’s job and it is worth spending time to do this properly
    • It is important that work is carried out in a clean and dust free environment
    • Allow plenty of time for the inside to dry out before decorating
    12. Landscaping
    “Hard and soft landscaping”

    Regulatory Requirements

    • The approach to a building from the boundary should be designed to allow access for the disabled. This is set out in the Building Regulations. Ramps will be required for the main point of access to the house. Normally steps are not allowed except on steeply sloping sites
    • Many local authorities refuse to issue a completion certificate until such time as a proper driveway is installed. They may also insist on pathways, including disabled access and bin stores being completeds being completed