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SIP Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction to SIPs

SIPschool Founder Al Cobb introduces structural insulated panels (SIPs). Topics include the early and recent history of SIPs, the anatomy of a SIP, common applications of SIPs, and SIP manufacturing.

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize how SIPs have evolved since the original concept in 1935 with a focus on how they have become more energy efficient
  • Identify how SIPA has impacted the use of SIPs
  • Describe the anatomy of a SIP and how SIPs are used in commercial and residential envelope construction
  • Understand the process of manufacturing SIPs
  • Compare and contrast the different types of cores and skins used in SIPs

Study Guide: Introduction to SIPs

Lesson 2: Basic SIP Design and Engineering

Lesson 2 covers the fundamental information necessary to design and engineer a SIP building. Topics include which architectural styles are best suited for SIPs and how to tailor SIPs to best suit the needs of the building.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize SIP-friendly architectural styles
  • Explain the details of how SIPs should be used in floors and walls, how to determine the thickness of each SIP and the correct connections to use
  • Describe how bevel cuts and square cuts are made, and understand when each should be used
  • Identify when to use certain types of roof SIPs support; compare and contrast single ridge beams, cantilevered ridges, purlin/ mid-span beams

Study Guide: Basic SIP Design and Engineering

Lesson 3: The SIP Order Process

Al Cobb presents how to thoroughly and efficiently plan a SIP project, including topics such as estimating and quoting costs and services, finding panel suppliers and the writing specifications for panels to suit the needs of a project.

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize how to give an accurate quote for a SIP project
  • Differentiate between services offered by panel providers
  • Describe differences in SIP packages
  • Identify factors that contribute to choosing a dealer/distributor
  • Understand what panels specifications are needed for a given project

Study Guide: The SIP Order Process

Lesson 4: SIP Building Science

Building science concerns the flow of energy and moisture through buildings. In this lesson, Al Cobb examines the building science behind SIPs.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain what building science is and summarize what is meant by the term “house as a system.”
  • Summarize how and why energy, moisture and vapor move through a structure and why it is important to control this flow
  • Detail roof and wall venting in a SIPs building, and explain where, why and how we should do it
  • Define dew point and understand how condensation can form in buildings
  • Identify the key areas in a SIPs building where heat loss and condensation potential must be controlled

Study Guide: SIP Building Science

Lesson 5: SIP Layout Drawings Lesson 5 gives an overview of panel layout drawings. Topics include the purposes of panel layout drawings and the review process.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify and explain the purposes that panel layout drawings serve
  • Understand how code officials interface with the panel drawings and why this is significant when filing for a permit
  • Summarize the different levels of information included in panel drawings
  • Explain the importance of the review process, knowing when the review should happen and what it should encompass

Study Guide: SIP Layout Drawings

Lesson 6: SIP Site Planning and Coordination

In this lesson, Al Cobb discusses key information for planning and coordinating a SIP jobsite. Topics include best practices, safety, panel delivery and material handling equipment.

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize best practices to plan for a successful SIP install
  • Identify and avoid site safety hazards when installing SIPs
  • Understand what equipment is needed for each project
  • Explain how to stage and set up the site for installing SIPs
  • Outline how to coordinate various trade contractors involved in the project
  • Identify how equipment options and specifications may change from project to project
  • Describe how to properly unload and store panels on site

Study Guide: SIP Site Planning and Coorindation

Lesson 7: SIP Layout and Panel Installation

This lesson provides an overview on how to install SIPs. Topics include tools and techniques, site management and how to tailor the SIP installation to each specific project.

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize how to prepare for a SIP installation including panel prep, preassembly and bracing requirements
  • Understand and explain the importance of labeling as your go the areas that will need attention after panel installation
  • Summarize how to select the correct tools and techniques for each specific project
  • Describe how to work efficiently with other trades on site
  • Recognize the importance of sealing gaps as panels are installed
  • Prepare for and adjust work needs for varying weather conditions

Study Guide: SIP Layout and Panel Installation

Lesson 8: Integrating Mechanical Systems with SIPs

In this lesson, Al Cobb explains on how to integrate mechanical systems into a SIPs project. Topics include working with mechanicals trades, HVAC analysis and how to control dangerous pressure conditions that can lead to backdrafting of combustion appliances.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the importance of pre-construction meetings and layout reviews in order to work efficiently with other trades
  • Understand how the work of other trades relates to the SIP package as a system
  • Explain specifically how to integrate electrical and plumbing work into SIP installation
  • Understand the importance of an HVAC analysis and how it should affect the SIP project
  • Describe how indoor pollutants can be controlled with mechanical ventilation
  • Identify the purpose of blower door and duct testing
  • Summarize how to avoid back-drafting of combustion appliances

Study Guide: Integrating Mechanical Systems with SIPs

Lesson 9: SIP Finish Material and Detailing

Lesson 9 outlines how to apply finish materials and properly detail SIP projects. Topics include siding choices and fastening procedures, window and door installation and back-ventilation techniques.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify appropriate detailing systems for a SIP building
  • Understand the importance of controlling bulk water and describe the techniques used to do this
  • Explain back-ventilation techniques for cladding systems, and identify when these are necessary
  • Differentiate between various siding and roofing selections, as well as understand the fastening requirements for each choice

Study Guide: SIP Finish Material and Detailing

Lesson 10: Common Objections for SIP Designs

In this final presentation, Al Cobb explores how to sell SIPs. Topics include how best to discuss price, and how to persuasively overcome various objections that prospective clients may have.

Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate between sales and marketing
  • Understand why clients often question the price of SIPs, and know how to discuss this in a positive way
  • Describe for clients how proper detailing defends against premature failure using building science knowledge obtained previously in this course
  • Explain the qualifications of the workforce in order to put the client at ease
  • Answer client questions about mold and moisture problems, termites and carpenter ants, noise and other concerns in a knowledgeable manner

Study Guide: Common Objections for SIP Designs

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