Written by: Joe Pasma, PE, Premier SIPS Technical Manager
That is an interesting question. There is a very technical reason for this, but we are not going to go into it that technically here. If you want that answer, send me an email and I will forward our “Premier SIPs Code Reports Information Packet”. You can also view the ESR 1882 and PRS032808-3 Listing Report on our website. Here goes the stripped down, less technical version.
The building codes specifically address wood, steel, concrete and masonry as structural materials. SIPs are not specifically addressed in the building code. SIPs are considered a new or alternative material from the building code point of view. Typically, the building code does not specifically address these new materials. This doesn’t mean that the new materials cannot be used; it just means that the provisions for alternative materials need to be followed.
Basically, the alternate materials provision says that alternative materials can be used as long as it is demonstrated to the local building official that the alternative material meets or exceeds the intent of the building code. Code reports from various independent third party entities are methods of demonstrating compliance with the building code that are accepted by code officials.
SIPs have made their way into the Residential Building Code, but they are still not a part of the IBC. Until this happens, code reports will be a methodology utilized by manufactures to show that their products meet the intent of the building codes.