{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Housing industry insights Economics Insights Data & forecasts Tailored research and analysis Advocacy & policy Advocacy Policy priorities Position statements Submissions News and inspiration Industry news Member alerts Media releases HOUSING Online
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder & manufacturer program Industry insurance HIA Insurance Services Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies & tool insurance Member perks Toyota vehicles The Good Guys Commercial Fuel savings See all Planning & safety solutions Building & planning services Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) Solutions for your business Contracts Online Advertise jobs Trusted support & guidance Contracts & compliance support Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials & products Concrete, bricks & walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects Getting approval to build Sustainable homes See all
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer How do I apply? Frequently asked questions Study with us Find a course to suit you Qualification courses Learning on demand Professional development courses A job in the industry Get your builder's licence Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Further your career Find jobs
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Mates rates Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Our initiatives HIA Building Women GreenSmart Kitchen, bathroom and design hub Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Support for you Charitable Foundation Mental health program
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Awards program People & Business Awards GreenSmart Australian Housing Awards Awards winners Regional Award winners Australian Housing Award winners 2024 Australian Home of the Year Enter online Industry events Events in the next month Economic outlook National Conference Events calendar
HIA shop
HIA shop $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Most popular products National Construction Code Vol 1 & 2 Waterproofing wet areas AS 3740:2021 HIA Guide to Waterproofing HIA Guide to NCC Livable Housing Provisions Top categories Building codes & standards Contracts & documents Guides & manuals Safety documents Signage For your business Contracts Online Digital Australian Standards Digital Resource Library Forecasts & data
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faTimes
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Address
Change location
{{propApi.title}}
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.title}}
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Insulating the future

{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
Robert Vis of SIPs Industries is seeing growing interest in the use of structurally insulated panels to produce sustainable housing in Australia, with more people conscious of the benefits to be gained by using prefabricated building products.

Laura Valic and Kate Veteri

Editor

Robert Vis is the director and co-founder of SIPs Industries, a company based in Western Australia that manufactures and supplies structurally insulated panels across Australia to the residential and commercial building industries. 

Established in 2009, the multi-award winning business is driven to providing a sustainable building solution that offers energy efficiency and comfortable living conditions without affecting the environment. The SIPs building product assists industry professionals in creating off-grid, zero net carbon or Passivhaus buildings, using sustainably sourced materials.

Q: How do structural insulated panels produce sustainable housing? 

RV: SIPs offer simplicity, speed and savings in the construction process, with its highly insulated building envelope that significantly reduces thermal bridging and air leakages to produce more energy-efficient homes that are comfortable and environmentally responsible. 

The average Australian home may leak up to 20–30 times its volume per hour, meaning more energy is required to heat or cool the building. SIPs homes can reduce this to as low as 0.25 air changes, and with air exchange units, can recover up to 85 per cent of energy while introducing fresh air to the building. This offers massive performance gains and cost savings to occupants. 

Q: Have you seen an increase in demand? 

RV: We have seen steady growth in demand Australia-wide from multiple market segments, from young couples to empty nesters wanting to improve their comfort and quality of life while reducing living costs. There has been significant uptake by architects focused on more sustainable products, the government sector which wants to be seen to be developing environmentally responsible buildings, while commercial builders are adopting SIPs for speed of construction, and to reduce site costs and overheads. There is a clear shift in demand for better buildings and prefabricated building products.

Q: Is there more the building industry could be doing to improve environmental outcomes? 

RV: There is significant opportunity in Australia to instigate change and improve our current environmental performance. Changing consumer attitudes and legislation that supports better environmentally responsible housing will demand that industry keep up and work collaboratively. 

We are becoming more willing to invest in our future and the wellbeing of future generations. Companies are seeing the benefit of being environmentally responsible, manufacturers are demonstrating how it can be done, now we need the will and leadership to instigate real change. 

Q: What could the future of sustainable building look like?

RV: Sustainable buildings are the hallmark of economically sound business decisions, thoughtful environmental decisions, and smart human impact decisions. I see a great future in what we can do as a building industry to drive sustainable housing. Innovation, coupled with a focus on better living, will see us embrace many systems and principles, such as renewable energy and storage, more durable and environmentally friendly materials, and new technologies.

We may see more of a hybrid approach to building off-site (flat pack) rather than full prefabricated houses. Shorter lead times and demand for higher performance at a better cost point, while managing overhead and logistics, are still big challenges for industry. The development of smaller, narrow lots may push hybrid building, which will assist with limited space onsite and shorter build times.

Q: What sustainable projects are you most proud to have worked on?  

RV: Since we opened in 2010, our panels have been included in thousands of homes across Australia. Recently they were included in a project called Desert House located near Alice Springs. The custom built home – designed as an off-grid dwelling – was designed and engineered in NSW, SIPs' panels manufactured in WA, and built by a local builder in the NT. This home won several national awards and accolades in recognition of our ability to team up across the country to design and construct a sustainable dwelling with a high level of detail. 

We have continued to team up with industry professionals in different states and territories to implement sustainable buildings for individuals and organisations. Offices building and childcare centres have been created in WA to promote an environmentally sustainable to business even among the mining industry and a clean, toxic-free environment for children.  

Q: What R&D is SIPs involved in now?

RV: Currently, we are working with industry, in apartment and single-residence dwellings, to better communicate the effect of condensation to the causation of wall and roof damage in the form of moisture build up within buildings that are increasing insulation layers to meet building codes.

If moisture is not expelled from the structure it builds up on the inner face of the external cladding causing mould and ‘Sick Building Syndrome’. This in turn can lead to the growth of mould within the home causing potential health problems, such as chronic inflammation of the respiratory system (CIRS), to the homeowner. 

To overcome this, SIPs' external wall and roof panels are coated with a breathable lining that allows moisture to escape and evaporate away from the building.

Q: Do you think COVID-19 will influence the way we design and build eco-friendly housing to improve occupant health and wellbeing?

RV: On observation, we are seeing a shift in attitude that is leading to a change in behaviour. People are recognising that through mandatory restrictions during COVID-19 that we have a direct responsibility in how we manage our environment, taking into consideration its fragility and how it is directly impacting us as individuals.

People are now asking the right questions, wanting to make a difference to our environment beyond just saving money on home utilities, it is the need to be kind to our planet, starting with the home. We are becoming more willing to invest in our future and the wellbeing of future generations. Companies are seeing the benefit of being environmentally responsible. I would expect to see some benefit from our recent misfortune.

You might also like:

Better living Inspiration Mental health Wellbeing
When ADHD & addiction collide
Jess Kennedy suffered a 20-year battle with drugs and alcohol, all complicated by undiagnosed ADHD. Now a Beyond Blue speaker, she shares her journey, hoping to help others with similar issues.
Jul 24
7 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
President's report Building developments Development Approval (DA)
NSW President's report
Planning reforms across the state are creating waves. However, with regulatory burdens high, now is not the time for a complete overhaul of NSW home-building laws.
Jul 24
2 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Outdoor Inspiration Projects
Tropical wonder
After running their building and design business for more than 15 years, this husband-and-wife team created a sunny hideaway that won the 2024 HIA Australian Outdoor Project Award.
Jul 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Environment Energy efficiency GreenSmart Sustainability
Don't miss the HIA Future Homes Forum
Have you booked your spot at the HIA Future Homes Forum in Hobart yet? Check out our must-see topic and speaker line-up on 23 August.
Jul 24
3 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Inspiration Residential Products
Rural Reimagined
Tingle View, a project by The Rural Building Company in Western Australia, is as timelessly elegant as it is inviting. Housing takes a deep dive into 2024’s winning HIA Australian Project Home.
Jul 24
3 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Design Inspiration Projects
Blue steel
Beautifully versatile, this misty blend of cool blues with slate-grey undertones has emerged as a timeless combination. These shades evoke a sense of calmness and serenity, and can be seamlessly integrated with neutrals or bold ac...
Jul 24
1 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Inspiration Residential Projects
Parkside perfection
Perfectly positioned on the edge of the picturesque and heritage-listed Haig Parklands in the heart of Canberra, this award-winning project is the culmination of a visionary collaboration between Bellevue Building and DNA Architec...
Jul 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Apprentice Awards Financial planning People
Go figure!
Changing his career path from studying finance to taking on an apprenticeship was undoubtedly the right move for Hobart’s Oliver Burnell. His skill, determination and passion for advocacy are just some traits that won him the 2024...
Jul 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Bathroom Plumbing Project management Renovations Business and digital
Wasting no time
When a couple launched their own bathroom renovation business, they soon recognised a gap in the market. Their product launch was so successful, they’re now considering globalisation.
Jul 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Inspiration Design Bathroom Products
On trend winter 2024
Housing’s top pick of innovative building products for winter 2024.
Jul 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Wellbeing Mental health Better living
Food for thought
A busy lifestyle, tight schedules and juggling priorities means that we may put our food intake last. Nutrition expert Joel Feren explains how our choices make a difference in the long run.
Jul 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Affordable Awards Apprentice People
Social impact
Housing affordability is spiralling out of control but winner of the 2024 HIA Australian Professional Medium Builder/Renovator award, St Joseph Affordable Homes, emerges as a beacon of hope. It’s pioneering innovative solutions co...
Jul 24
3 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight