How to Run Electrical Through Structural Insulated Panels
Conversations with those new to SIPs inevitably turn to concerns and questions on how to run electrical through structural insulated panels. Most assume that the solid core of a SIP thwarts the efforts of your electrician to efficiently run wires through walls and roof. In actuality, with a bit of preplanning and knowledgeable SIP installers, Sparky can get wires from A to B with minimal effort.
As a standard, most panel manufacturers have predetermined the location of wire chases that meet common requirements for wiring a building. For instance, if electrical outlets are to be placed at 16” off the finished floor, most manufacturers will place a horizontal chase at that height in all wall panels. Likewise, as electrical outlets are required above kitchen counters, it’s logical to place an additional horizontal chase in the panel at 42”-44” above the floor. Some manufacturers place an upper horizontal chase at switch height. However, my experience has shown that 99% of all switches are next to doors so I recommend a vertical chase 6” from the door edge. If the SIP designer doesn’t know which way the door swings it’s not unreasonable to place a vertical chase on either side of the door at 6” off the rough opening. This vertical chase will allow the electrician to pull wire up to the switch box and continue on to an outside light or even up to an upper floor system or beyond.