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Part 7 Installing the SIPs roof

Some complex design details and minute tolerances throw up a few challenges on site – but the Build It Education House roof is now on! Chris Bates updates us on progress
A chippy created templates for the three gable ends; the most complex of which (shown in the foreground) is for the angled wall at the side of the house. Opposite page: The ICF crew’s last job on site was to pour concrete into the gables. While it’s more complicated than a standard pour, the three sections were completed in just a few hours

We’re now entering an exciting phase of the Build It Education House project. Once you’ve topped out your new home with the roof structure, you’re basically in the dry (minus the windows and doors). So not only can you see the full form of the building you’ve put months of work into designing and realising on site; but you’re tantalisingly close to being able to start the fit-out works inside and out. Here’s what was involved in getting our roof installed.

Why did we specify SIPs?

Quite simply, structural insulated panels felt like a natural fit for our project. We’d already chosen a modern insulating concrete formwork (ICF) walling system, attracted by its energy efficiency qualities and the fact that it works well for basements (find out more about this construction method on page 90). So we wanted to complement that with a similarly high-performance roof.

A factory-made product, SIPs panels can be used for the whole shell of a house – but we’re reserving them for our roof. They are quick to build with and can deliver excellent insulation and airtightness performance in a relatively thin profile. That latter point was what tipped the scales for us over more conventional attic trusses. We want to create a conversion-ready roof void to help future-proof the finished house; but the rather tight 8.1m ridge height available under our Plot Passport means that we need to eke out every spare millimetre of head height. So this thinprofile, pre-insulated roofing system made a lot of sense.

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About Build It

Plan, design and build your dream home with practical advice and inspiration from Build It magazine. Highlights in this month's issue include: - Design Secrets to Win Over the Planners - Home Extension Costs - How to Find a Project with Renovation Potential - Building Contracts: Why You Need One - Buyer's Guide to Sliding Doors - Outdoor Living Ideas - Build It magazine's own Real Life Self Build ... and more!