Building With Big Sky

A Member of Your Design-Build Team

Designing and building a home, office, commercial building or community center takes a methodical process and a team that's all pulling in the same direction.

At Big Sky, we're fluent in the languages of both design and construction.  We work hand-in-hand with your architect and contractor to make sure your project comes out as specified, on time and within your budget.

The sections below will familiarize you with what happens each step of the way, from the initial design concept to the install and testing of your R-Control SIPs.

Design Phase

During the design phase of your building project, your architect or builder designs the principal components of your home or building.

You'll make major decisions, like square footage, number of rooms, and layout. You'll talk about how each part of the building will be used, and set an overall budget for the project. The outcome is a high-level plan for the structure.

During this phase, you'll want to discuss energy efficiency and structural quality goals. Big Sky is often an active contributor to this conversation:

  • Answer questions about SIP capabilities and applications
  • Address efficiency and structural requirements SIPs can fulfill, and the general configuration needed
  • Provide a quote based on architectural drawings and design requirements

Specification Phase

The specification phase is all about laying out the details of your project:

  • Exact dimensions and instructions for the building's construction
  • Specific materials to use, and their suppliers
  • Selection of contractors, if not already decided
  • Final cost estimates

During this phase, Big Sky collaborates with your architect or builder to get a good understanding of the design, then develops a detailed plan for the SIPs and accessories you'll need.

Every panel, its configuration and shape is laid out in our CAD software. We specify how SIPs integrate with other components of the building, and identify additional lumber or other materials that may be needed.

We prepare construction plans, and detailed instructions for assembling the SIPs, making connections and sealing the structure to make it air-tight.

Manufacture and Delivery

Once the drawings for your panels are approved, we schedule your job into our production process.

Prior to manufacturing, our sales representative and customer service personnel keep in touch with the contractor to ensure we have the most up-to-date information and can adjust to meet the changing needs of your project.

After your order has been fabricated and inspected, we print detailed construction plans, index your panels to the plans, and prepare the job for efficient staging and assembly.

Panels may arrive in one or multiple shipments, depending on the delivery schedule requested by your contractor. A forklift is typically needed onsite to offload and stage materials. SIPs should be protected against the elements if they will be stored onsite prior to installation.

Installation and Testing

Once your SIPs arrive, your contractor installs them in sequence according to plans provided by Big Sky. 

Wall panels have been pre-fabricated with an indented pocket that gets seated onto a wood plate attached to the building foundation.

Connections between SIPs in both walls and roofs make use of a similar pocket. A block spline, I-beam spline or regular dimensional lumber is fitted into this pocket to serve as a bridge between the panels. All connections are sealed using Do-All-Ply Sealant, and nailed or screwed in place.

Your job specification may call for large roof or wall panels to improve installation efficiency. In this case, a crane or other mechanized equipment may be used to ease handling and panel placement.

Following assembly, joints between SIPs are sealed with specially formulated SIP sealing tape. Gaps between doorways and windows are filled with expanding foam insulation, and sealed to prevent air infiltration.

The air-tightness of the building can be tested before finishing, so that any remaining gaps can be detected and sealed while they're still easily accessible.

Electrical Installation

Electrical service is easily installed in SIPs through regularly spaced chases cut through the EPS form core. Chases run the length of the panel, both vertically and horizontally. Wire can be fed from the electrical service panel through the vertical chases, either at the top or bottom of the SIP.

An opening is cut along the horizontal chases for each box, and wire is pushed through the chase to the opening for each switch or outlet. After box installation, expanding foam insulation is used to seal any gaps.

Electrical chases are cut during manufacturing. They're typically spaced at standard heights and intervals, but custom chases can also be cut to the specifications of your job.


After SIP and electrical installation, interior walls and ceilings are finished in the same manner as with conventionally framed walls and ceilings.

Installation of wallboard and other claddings is especially efficient, since SIPs are uniformly flat and straight. Nailing can occur across the panel's entire surface area, so there's generally no need to search for studs in a SIP wall.

R-Control SIPs may be covered with just about any exterior finish, including brick, stone, veneer wood, log and stucco. Regardless of the finish, an exterior house wrap or comparable material is recommended as a moisture barrier.

Any conventional roofing material can be used, including shingles, cedar shakes, corrugated metal, standing seam metal, ceramic tile, and various roofing membranes. Our construction manual provides your contractor with details about the recommended application of specific roof finishes.

Getting Started

Want to learn more about R-Control SIPs for your building project? Give us a call or drop us a line.

Looking to get started, but need help finding an architect or builder who's experienced with SIPs?

We'd be glad to help. We work with hundreds of design professionals and contractors across the western U.S. Give us a call or fill out the form on our contact page, and we'll get you connected.