In a series of cyclic shear wall tests on structural insulated panels, APA - The Engineered Wood Association found that SIP walls perform similarly or better than stick-built walls under simulated earthquake conditions.
APA worked with SIP manufacturer Premier Building Systems and the Structural Insulated Panel Association to develop and perform the tests, which repeatedly subjected an 8x8 section of wall (two SIP panels connected together) to varying degrees of load magnitude and amplitude, says Bill Wachtler, SIPA executive director.
In early February, the International Code Council approved Premier's SIPs (and other manufacturers' SIPs that meet the new APA protocols) for use in California and Alaska, high-seismic states where the ICC had prohibited SIP use. The revision makes SIPs code-approved nationwide.
Wachtler says SIP use increased 15% in 2002 compared with 2001 (research for 2003 is ongoing). Builders used 51 million square feet of SIPs in 2002, with almost two-thirds of that going into 12,000 residential units.