Designing With Formance

We often get asked “will Formance work for my house design?”. The answer is inevitably yes. The reality is Formance not only works well wherever traditional stick construction is used but, in most cases, works better.

Here are some design elements comparisons with traditional framed construction.


High Wind Zones

Formance performs exceptionally well in higher wind zones due to the inherent strength and their ability to withstand lateral loading. One example of this is in a high gable end wall on an exposed site. Using traditional framing in this situation will result in a lot of timber and associated thermal bridges causing excessive heat loss. Some situations might even need steel reinforcing in the wall. With Formance however, there’s a good chance the situation could be dealt with by the panels alone and if any additional strengthening is required the thermal splines can be swapped for reinforced splines. Or we simply choose a thicker panel resulting in a much more elegant and thermally efficient solution.



All buildings require bracing to withstand wind and earthquake forces. Bracing loads are measured in Bracing Units per metre (BU/m). The maximum capacity of any given wall type is limited by the capacity of the floor to withstand the uplifting forces exerted on it as a result of racking forces attempting to pull out the hold-down bolts. Timber floors are rated at a maximum of 120 BU/m, concrete floors are rated at a maximum of 150 BU/m. Formance has been tested at over 200 BU/m so for the purpose of achieving Code Compliance we have had to de-tune the rated capacity to match that of concrete floors. No wonder SIPs were at the top of our initial Google search for “Earthquake-proof houses” back in 2012!


Material use Optimisation

Formance panels are cut from a blank panel so the more efficiently we use the panel the lower the cost per m2. While this can make a difference to the panel cost it’s not usually significant as the blank panels are sized to match typically specified sizes in residential construction (2.44m, 2.74m, 3.0m, 6m). We can help with optimisation at the concept design stage.  


Roof or Ceiling?

That depends on where you want the building envelope. Formance can be used for the Roof or the Ceiling in your home, or a combination of both. We are often asked for advice on this on specific projects. Our advice is that it depends on what you’re wanting to achieve. If you want a flat ceiling and don’t intend to use the extra space created within the building envelope for storage or attic or vaulted (cathedral) ceilings, then go for a ceiling panel. However, if you’re wanting to maximise the amount of useable space within the volume of the home then go for roof panels that follow the pitch of the roof. 


Panel Layout Drawings

When the drawings are finalised from the architect we get involved and produce full 3d model and panel layout drawings for the building. This ensures the building will fit together as designed when it gets to site. Timber-framed buildings can afford to be less resolved than Formance buildings as they are more easily modified on site. Either way, it's not desirable to be modifying panels on-site hence why we go to the lengths we do to resolve the project structure in our 3d CAD model before manufacture. 


Formance SIP home model


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