The International Code Council has voted to adopt structural insulated panels with polyurethane cores into the 2009 International Residential Code, scheduled to be published in March. Inclusion in the building code will allow builders using polyurethane core SIPs to build homes without the approval of a licensed engineer if the homes fall within the applicability limits of the code.

In May 2007, SIPs, expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene, were added to IRC’s 2007 supplement. The recent code change adds polyurethane as an accepted core material to the current prescriptive provisions for SIPs in the IRC. As a result, all three foam types will be included in the 2009 IRC.

In order to qualify under the prescriptive requirements of the IRC, the polyurethane foam used in SIPs must meet certain minimum material properties that are described in the new code language. These properties were developed through a collaborative effort between the Structural Insulated Panel Association, the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association and APA.

“This code change was the result of lots of time and effort put forth by the associations involved and also by SIPA members that donated time and materials,” said Bill Wachtler, executive director of SIPA.

Lorraine Ross of Intech Consulting Inc., which represents both CPI and PIMA, said the inclusion of SIPs in the 2009 IRC is an important achievement for the SIP industry and that the win happened because industry associations worked together.

Many SIPA members also contributed to the development of the code change proposal, including BASF Corp., Dow Chemical, Ainsworth Lumber, Better Building Products, Murus Co., and Winter Panel.

The IRC is currently in use at the state or local level in 46 states plus District of Columbia. However, local jurisdictions will determine when new versions of the IRC will be put in effect. For more information