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Advanced Manufactured Construction - University of Florida Training Manual

View the Advanced Manutactured Construction Training Manual (PDF)


The Universtiy of Florida has published an Advanced Manufactured Construction Training Manual which contains an entire Module-3 (Page 110 of the manual) devoted to panelized building contruction and section 3.2 specifically highlighting Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), featuring PanelTek and INNOVA Eco Inc. case studies.  Manufacturing processes and installation techniques are well illustrated and a summary of SIPs construction advantages and disadvantages are listed.


The manual defines Panelized Buildings as:

Panelization is the process of manufacturing prefabricated exterior and interior wall assemblies under controlled environmental conditions using light wood or light-gauge metal framing. The panels are prepared using cutting-edge automation, assembled according to the design specifications, and then packaged for transportation. Once at the jobsite, panels can be installed by a crew and cranes.

The highest efficiency for panelized building manufacturing is achieved when the maximum amount of work is completed in the factory, with the least waste, in the shortest time. In addition to the studs, headers, and plywood or OSB sheathing, it is possible to install doors, windows, siding, trim, and other finish elements in the factory. However, this creates a heavier and fragile panel which could increase costs and the complexity of transportation.

The process differs from the traditional site-built method because the wall panels are fabricated under controlled environmental conditions, providing higher precision and quality. The site-built method is more labor intensive and more susceptible to errors compared to panelized buildings.

Panelized assemblies are considered to be a green method of construction. The process is recognized by many green building certifications, including the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard. Also, due to its tremendous design flexibility, panelized construction is considered the fastest growing segment of residential buildings in the US.


The manual defines SIPs as:

A Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) is a high performance building system used mostly for residential and light commercial construction. The panels are manufactured under factory controlled conditions in modular sections according to the design specifications. Some manufacturers also provide a ready-to-use paneling system, with openings cut, and the doors and windows installed in the factory. The panels are then transported to the project site, where cranes lift and install each SIP into the correct location.

This system uses an insulated foam core sandwiched by structural panels. Generally, SIP is made of a sandwich consisting of one layer of encapsulated polystyrene (EPS) board between two layers of plywood or Oriented Strand Board (OSB) (Fig. 3.9). However, alternative materials can also be used for both the core and structural skin (Table 1). Cement-board and fiberglass may be used for the structural skin. Normally, gypsum board or other fire-rated material are applied on the inside to minimize the spread of fire. Polyurethane and polyisocyanurate rigid foam can also be used for the insulating material, however they tend to be more expensive due to their better insulation performance, moisture protection, and fire resistance.

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