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Deadline is
Oct 26th
October/November 2007
The Insulating Concrete Forms Magazine
Commercial ICF
Building Tall Walls
Heavy Commercial Award Winners
Floor and Decking Options
ICFs and Schools
Inside This Issue
ICFs in the Commercial Sector
Commercial ICF construction shows no sign of slowing down. It’s
hard to argue with ease of construction, quality, strength, durability,
and time savings.
ICFs and Schools
With LEED certification becoming increasingly popular, there’s
never been a better opportunity for ICFs in school construction.
Here’s how it works, and case studies from those who have done it.
15 Project Profile: Brevard County (Fla.) Additions
16 Project Profile: Elmore City Elementary
Floors and Decking for Commercial Work
Steel joists and EPS decking offer a host of advantages over wood and
precast when it comes to installing floors on commercial ICF projects.
18 Project Profile: Residences at Mont Blanc
20 Project Profile: Mountain Edge Resort
21 Project Profile: Vernon View Condominiums
Best Heavy Commercial Projects
These three projects, winners of the 2006 ICF Builder Awards,
represent the very best in ICF heavy commercial construction.
22 Project Profile: Grande Caribbean Condominium
24 Project Profile: Armed Forces Reserve Center
26 Project Profile: Megaplex 20 Theater
New Record for ICF Tall Walls
This ready-mix plant in Monticello, Minn., set a new record for
the heights possible with ICF walls. Did someone finally break the
60-foot barrier?
Summit Publishing, LLC
Clark Ricks
Circulation Manager
The New ICF-X Training
The next in a series of articles on installer training,
Owens-Corning explains how their ICF-X training
plans on reshaping the entire industry.
As I See It: Look How
Far We’ve Come
ICF News Roundup
In the News: New Faces
Design Perspectives
New Products
Art Director
Jason Robinson
Brad Moulton
Monica Hall
Tall Walls: Bracing and Consolidation Tips
Covering both mid-rise (up to 25 feet) and true tall-wall applications, there’s the
know-how and equipment you need to make your big jobs go smoothly.
36 Project Profile: Waterside IV Condominium
On the Cover: The massive
Armed Forces Reserve Center
near Tampa, Fla., is possibly
the largest military use of ICFs
to date. The project was 1st
runner up in the 2006 ICF
Builder Awards. It’s also a
great example of how well ICFs
work in the heavy commercial
sector. For more on this project,
see the story on p. 24. For
more information of heavy
commercial ICF construction in
general, see the feature on p. 12.
Craig Shorts
Editorial Director
Advertising Manager
Brandie Allen-Rezac
Mark Klesk
David Lindsey
Patrick Murphy
Vera Novak
Al Peterson
Peter Polley
Jeff Van Sloun
Summit Publishing
884 East 700 North
Mapleton, UT, 84664-3761
toll free: 877-229-9174
editorial: ext. 2
advertising: ext. 1
subscriptions: ext. 3
fax: 801-494-3232
Volume 3 Number 5
ICF Builder magazine is published bi-monthly: February,
April, June, August, October, and December by Summit
Publishing, LLC, 884 East 700 North, Mapleton, UT,
84664-3761. Subscription price: $29.95 per year.
Application to mail at Periodicals Postage Rates
is pending at Springville, UT. POSTMASTER: Send
address changes to ICF Builder Magazine, 884 East 700
North, Mapleton, UT, 84664-3761
Copyright © 2007 by Summit Publishing. All rights
reserved. Printed in the USA. ICF Builder is a trademark
of Summit Publishing.
As I See It…
by Clark Ricks
Look How Far We’ve Come
This issue, focused on commercial construction, demonyears ago. It’s now a proven technology. Steel
strates just how far the industry has come in recent years.
decking has come a long way as well. Similarly,
Think about it: 15 years ago there was no ICFA, no prescriptive code,
contractors today can choose from a host of
no general guidelines on ICFs. Even 10 years ago, there was no adhigh-rise and mid-rise bracing systems for tall walls, none of which
justable metal bracing, no hot knives,
existed five years ago. You can read
no reducing hoses for pump trucks. The industry continues its growth, about the options and projects on
And many of the leading ICF blocks
pp. 17 and 30 respectively.
new technologies have emerged.
didn’t exist either: Eco-Block, Logix,
Lastly, this issue highlights at
Nudura, and Amvic, to name a few.
ten outstanding heavy commerThis issue will bring you up-toJust five years ago, the entire incial projects. The contractors who
dustry installed only 35 million sq. speed on these developments.
built them are some of the best in
ft. of wall, about 30% of this year’s
the world. They can tackle nearly any
total. The biggest ICF project then underway was an office complex
ICF project, anywhere in North America, and have it run smoothly.
in Colorado, just under 65,000 sq. ft. Now contractors build dozens
Their successful projects have moved the entire industry forward.
of projects like that every year.
If you think you’re one of them, with a project that deserves
As the industry continues its phenomenal growth, new techindustry-wide recognition, enter it in the ICF Builder Awards. The
nologies, techniques, and specialty contractors have emerged. This
deadline is Oct. 26, 2007.
issue will bring you up-to-speed on these developments.
For instance, EPS flooring is so much simpler than it was five
October/November 2007 ICF News Roundup
Industry Size Estimate
Along with this, there will be a continued
weakening in activity and prices.”
The ICFA has contracted with an independent, third-party auditor to estimate
the size of the ICF industry and analyze
regional growth trends.
Previously, the ICFA has relied on
member firms to report the volume of ICFs
shipped by state and province every six
months. As these firms compose only 60%
of the industry, many lacked confidence in
the resulting statistics. The new audit will
hopefully correct that.
The research was performed over the
summer by Construction Marketing Associates, Inc. The results will be presented at
the Fall ICFA convention in St. Louis.
ICFs a Hit in Maryland
Residential Recovery Still
Leading economists now say that the
housing slump, which began last year, is
still a long way from over.
Speaking just prior to the Southeast
Builders Conference (SEBC) in July, economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s
stated, “The worst of the decline is over, but
you’re a long way from recovery.”
Charles Shinn at Shinn Consulting explains, “In a housing downturn there are typically three phases: 1) The market softens; 2)
The banks tighten up credit; 3) Consumer
defaults and foreclosures. The first phase has
been underway for almost two years. The
second phase has started. Banks are tightening credit and…lenders are getting back to
old-fashioned make-sense lending. Although
we are not quite through with phase 2, phase
3 has already begun.”
“When do we turn the corner?” Shinn
asks. “The earliest will be mid-2008, depending on the impact of exotic mortgages.”
He notes that $500 billion in adjustablerate mortgages (ARMs) will reset this year.
“These borrowers can’t refinance, so there
will be an increase in 2008 foreclosures.
ICF homes have been promoted all
summer in Maryland, thanks to the Maryland Ready Mix Concrete Association and
local media.
The multi-city home show has reportedly boosted interest across the entire construction industry.
In the city of Denton, a two-story ICF
home participating in the show has been a
hit with neighbors, builders, and realtors.
The primary realtor in the development
brought several clients to the house, and
other potential buyers scheduled private
tours after attending the open house. The
builder of the home has seen an increase in
the number of requests for ICF bids.
The July portion of the show, in Annapolis, featured two ICF homes. Because
both were in the construction phase, they
attracted more tradespeople than buyers.
The local paper, the Annapolis Capitol, ran
a timely and informative article outlining
the benefits of ICF construction.
The show moved to Frederick in August,
where about 100 visitors toured an enormous 14,000 sq. ft. ICF home. The Frederick
News Post ran an article in the business section and plans to run another feature in their
Fall Home section later in the year.
Tom Evans, Promotion Director for the
Maryland Ready Mix Concrete Association
and Promotion Council, says, “I think this
has gone pretty well so far, and I look forward to doing something similar next year.”
Two more open houses are still to come in
October: Cumberland and Ocean City.
Disaster Prevention Class in
New Orleans Features ICFs
A new NAHB course, Disaster Mitigation for Residential Construction, was
taught for the first time in New Orleans.
The class was funded by PCA and FEMA,
with input from the Institute for Business
& Home Safety.
The 4-hour course is designed to give
builders and designers an overview of how
to make structures that stand up better to
hurricanes, tornados, floods, wildfires and
“ICFs are mentioned prominently in
the course,” says Jim Neihoff, residential
manager at PCA. “Of course, they are not
featured exclusively, but the class does mention them and the advantages they offer in
creating disaster-resistant structures.”
The class covers foundations, abovegrade walls, roofing, door and window openings, roof-to-wall connections and exterior
cladding, and can be taught through any local home builders association (HBA).
For more information, visit
New Southern Home Uses
The 2007 New Southern Home,
which received rave reviews during the
Southeast Building Conference (SEBC)
in Orlando Florida, utilizes insulated concrete walls from Greenblock Worldwide
The New Southern Home program is
backed by the Florida Home Builders Association and is considered the premiere
show home in the Southeast, a tradition
that began in 1988. Like its predecessors,
this year’s 10,200 sq. ft home is designed to
showcase what luxury living in the southern
United States may look like in the future.
“Greenblock is proud to be a part of
this project,” says Jim Leatherman, Nation-
al Sales Manager for Greenblock. We’re
looking forward to introducing builders
and home owners to energy-conserving,
sustainable and environmentally responsible building technologies.”
“One of the main goals for the house
was to be as environmentally friendly as
possible,” says owner Jim Krantz. “We
chose ICFs for the exterior walls of the
house because of their extreme energy-efficiency. Greenblock was the natural selection because they are a Florida-based
company that offers a total solution of both
supplying and installing their ICFs.”
“Our insulated concrete forms also
provide walls that are strong enough to
stand up to the hurricanes and tornados so
prevalent in this region” says Leatherman.
More information on the home is available at The home will be
open to the public through the IBS show in
January 2008., or members of the
ACPA can request a free copy by calling
(614) 431-5618.
Rastra Opens New Plant
Rastra has opened a new plant in
Albuquerque, New Mexico, to serve
the southwestern part of the U.S. The
company manufactures the Rastra Block,
a composite ICF made from EPS and
portland cement. The company uses waste
EPS foam collected by the Recycling
Coalition of New Mexico, which has been
highly successful. The Rastra plant is
currently running a two-shift operation to
keep up with demand.
The company has another facility under construction near Columbus, Ohio, set
to open at the end of this year. Rastra will
recycle foam at that facility as well, provided
by the Solid Waste Authority of Columbus
Ohio (SWACO).
BuildBlock Gets Code Approval
BuildBlock Building Systems has
received final code approval from the Canadian Construction Materials Centre
(CCMC). The CCMC Report states,
“BuildBlock Insulating Concrete Forms
can serve as a wall forming system, resulting in a monolithic concrete wall in compliance with the intent of the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) 1995.”
A copy of the evaluation report, #
CCMC 13283-R, can be viewed on BuildBlock’s website The
company is expecting to receive ICC code
approval as well within a few weeks.
Pumping Safety Video Available
The American Concrete Pumpers Association has released a new safety DVD titled
“The More You Know, The Safer It Gets.”
The video features a character named
Bob, who leads viewers through various
checkpoints as he goes through a typical
day in the life of a concrete pump operator.
“This is a different method of getting
our safety message out there,” says Christi
Collins, Executive Director of the ACPA.
The DVD, available in English
and Spanish, can be purchased at www.
October/November 2007 In The News
New Faces
New Executive Director at ICFA
Steve Heller has joined the Insulating
Concrete Form Association (ICFA) as its new
executive director. Steve has spent his career
managing business trade organizations, and
began his new responsibilities in mid-August.
From 1979 to 2000, Steve served on the staff
of the 1000-member Printing Industry of Illinois/
Indiana (PII), headquartered in Chicago. He worked in management
positions responsible for labor relations, management programs and
services, and the overall administration of the association.
More recently, Heller served as vice-president of the United
States Business and Industry Council (USBIC), a Washington
DC-based non-profit association of more than 500 businesses
from across the nation. Steve’s responsibilities at USBIC included
industry outreach, marketing, membership development, meeting
planning and organizational management.
“The challenges ICFA must deal with in the next few years are
the same issues faced by many growing businesses,” says Heller, “How
do we move our organization…to the next level? Although I am not
from the ICF industry, I do have significant experience managing trade
associations which have taken those steps. I look forward to working
with the officers, director and members to make it happen for ICFA.”
Heller holds a BA from the University of Chicago, and an
MBA from the J. L. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern
University. To learn more about Heller’s vision for the ICFA, look
for the interview printed in the upcoming December issue.
BuildBlock Names Sales Director
BuildBlock has chosen Paul Erger as its North American Sales
Director. Erger has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Iowa State University
and brings over 18 years of sales and management
experience to the position.
“Joining BuildBlock and the ICF industry at
this time is very exciting,” said Erger. “Our recent
CCMC approval is a significant development in
our evolution as a young ICF company and our ICC-ES approval is
expected shortly. It’s truly a great time to be on board.”
Quad-Lock Southeast Has a New Face
Quad-Lock Building Systems Ltd. is pleased to announce that
Jon Downes has accepted the position of Regional Sales Manager for the Southeastern United
States. Based in Georgia, Jon will manage the
company’s distribution network in that region.
“I am really pleased to be joining the
Quad-Lock sales team” Jon states, “Throughout
my career I have been associated with superhigh efficient teams, performing far above budget and schedule
expectations. I know that I can assist the distribution network
already in place in the Southeast and can help to build upon that
for Quad-Lock.”
Con Forms Hires Marketing Director
Construction Forms, Inc. has hired Brad
Fine as Marketing Director. Con Forms is the
leading manufacturer and supplier of complete
concrete pumping systems in the United States.
Fine, who oversees advertising, promotion
and strategic planning for the company, has been in
construction equipment marketing for over 20 yrs.
“Con Forms is well known for providing a high quality product and strong commitment to customer satisfaction,” says Fine.
“Our next goal is not only to meet, but exceed our current
customer’s expectations, attract new customers and prepare for even
more growth.”
ICFs in the
The 11-story Waterside IV condominium near Tampa, Fla., is
an outstanding example of commercial ICF construction. The
contractor estimates he shaved more than 30 days off the
schedule by using ICFs.
Photo courtesy Reward Wall Systems
“The commercial market is the growth market for ICFs,” says
Vera Novak, technical director for the ICFA.“Anything that involves
habitation: condos, apartments, hospitals, hotels, schools; they are
all significant growth markets for the industry right now.”
The reason, she says, is “All of the key issues that are important in
commercial construction are the key attributes that ICFs are good at.”
Jon Hansen, a national resource director for the National
Force protection requirements make ICFs extremely
attractive for military construction.
Photo courtesy Reward Wall Systems
As the residential sector continues to languish, commercial construction—especially commercial ICF construction—shows no signs of slowing down.
Ed Sullivan, chief economist with the Portland Cement
Association, reports overall commercial construction has grown
17.7% in the first 7 months of this year. That matches well with
this magazine’s prediction last December that commercial ICF use
would grow 25% in 2007.
“I believe the increase in commercial ICF construction is a testament to the overall strength of the ICF building concept,” says Hank
Pfeiffer, COO at Reward Wall Systems. “ICF construction provides
benefits, not just to homeowners, but to commercial contractors and
developers as well. It’s hard to argue with ease of construction, quality, strength and durability of the finished exterior envelope.
“The performance of the building in terms of energy efficiency,
air quality and comfort, not to mention safety is as important, if not
more important, in a commercial structure,” he added.
“Energy efficiency is much more on the minds of commercial
builders and commercial owners than it is for individuals,” explains
Patrick Murphy, president of American PolySteel. “Commercial
construction is performance driven, which is why ICFs are making
bigger inroads in the commercial market.”
Ready Mix Concrete Association, agrees.
“ICFs are a phenomenal product with outstanding attributes. They’re versatile, energy efficient, sound deadening, easy to use,
and readily available across the country. The
biggest challenge is getting people to try it
initially. Once they try it, they love it.”
The NRMCA is responsible for all ICF
promotion efforts in the commercial sector,
a role they took over from the ICFA in early
2006. They have focused a significant part
of that effort on architects and designers.
“That effort is moving forward nicely, and
a lot of that is due to the visibility of successful ICF projects,” he says. “People are looking
at these successes and are latching onto it.”
He also credits the green building
movement, a trend he says is here to stay.
“Across all industries, there’s a movement to
being better stewards of the earth’s resources,
and owners and developers are starting to
look at the life cycle cost of the building.
The green building trend may revolutionize
building the same way air conditioning,
electricity, and elevators changed the
construction design 100 years ago.”
He adds that ICFs are well positioned
to take advantage of this trend. “There is no
greener building material than concrete,”
he says, “and it’s already well known for its
strength and durability.”
Novak, at the ICFA, stresses the simplicity of the product. “One of the major
advantages ICFs have is that structurally,
it’s basically the same wall assembly in commercial as residential. It’s not more complex. Contractors, architects, and engineers
are becoming aware of ICFs and are very
pleasantly surprised with the cost associated with commercial ICF construction.”
In 2006, the last year for which statistics
are available, commercial construction
accounted for about 30% of total ICF
use. By the end of the decade, however,
commercial work could account for half
of all ICFs sold. “There are tremendous
opportunities in this field for contractors,”
says Novak.
“ICFs are a good fit for any commercial
owner that will pay their own maintenance
and utility bills,” she says. “By building with
ICFs, owners can reduce their operating
costs while improving occupant comfort.”
“The hospitality industry has really
latched onto ICFs,” says Hansen. “Condos,
hotels, resorts, apartment buildings; ICFs
are becoming very popular for these types
of projects.”
“Low rise commercial has picked up
nicely too,” he continues. “Strip malls, retail
outlets, that sort of construction is starting
to notice ICFs. These owners are used to
concrete—usually CMU—but there is
some movement into ICF.”
“In mid-rise commercial buildings,
ICFs are seeing a lot of use as infill walls.
In the past, steel framing was used to fill
between the concrete floors and columns.
Today, its not uncommon to use ICFs for
this type of work.”
“Churches and schools are also major
areas of growth,” he says. “Anywhere people
are making a buying decision that will last for
generations, they’ll move towards ICFs.”
October/November 2007 13
ICFs and
Alvaton Elementary School, near Bowling Green, Ky., was built entirely with insulated concrete forms from
NUDURA Corp. Completed in 2006, the school accommodates 700 students and features spacious classrooms,
modern computer labs, a library, gymnasium, and cafeteria. Coupled with geothermal heating and an energyefficient roof, the 77,000 sq. ft structure is so energy efficient that officials have already committed to using ICFs
for the new high school and middle school set for construction within the next several years.
Photo Courtesy NUDURA Corp.
ICF construction is rapidly gaining a reputation for
being an economical way to create healthy, safe, energyefficient environments. They are a perfect choice for school
districts across the country as they evaluate how to replace an aging
stock of buildings with better learning environments.
“ICFs offer school districts an ideal building material for their
needs, “says Kent Stumpe, chairman of the ICFA board. “They offer
reduced energy costs, comfort, quiet, and safety. ICFs offer them more
value than they can get from any other type of wall construction.”
“It’s a perfect fit,” says Vera Novak, technical director for the
ICFA. “There’s been a big uptick in school construction. Designers
know about it, school boards know about it, and the number of successful projects keeps growing.”
Last year, the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC) established
LEED for Schools to help those interested in building sustainable,
healthy buildings while minimizing their environmental impact.
LEED for Schools is a national standard, and provides
independent, third-party verification that a school meets the highest
health and performance standards,” says Jessie Sackett, publications
manager for the USGBC. ICFs are a great way to meet many of the
LEED criteria.
Clearview (Pennsylvania) Elementary School, for example,
achieved a LEED gold certification from the USGBC, in part by
using insulating concrete forms for all exterior walls.
As a test, the school heating system was shut down at 1 p.m.
in mid-February when the high temperature outside reached only
40°F. Nighttime temperatures fell to 22°F., but the classrooms
cooled by only 4 ½°F. When the furnace was restarted at 5:30 a.m.
the next morning, the desired room temperature was regained in
less than an hour. Architect John Boecker, says, “The insulating
concrete form wall provided us with a high-performance thermal
envelope that contributed significantly to downsizing our HVAC
system and reducing energy consumption.”
Since energy consumption accounts for at least 75% of a
building’s total environmental impact, ICF walls can create major
savings—for the environment as well as school district budgets.
But that’s not the only advantage ICF construction has to offer.
Novak says, “ICFs can also contribute LEED points by limiting the
construction footprint, reducing construction waste, using recycled
and/or regional materials, and improving thermal comfort and indoor air quality.” ICFs also reduce noise transmission.
A 2006 study shows real advantages to building “green schools.”
Cleaner air reduced asthma by nearly 40%, while increased thermal
comfort increased productivity by up to 15%, and even led to improved teacher retention and better student attendance.
According to FMI Corp., a construction consulting firm, more
money is spent on school construction than any other non-residential construction segment, with spending nearing $20 billion a year.
To take advantage of this market, the Insulating Concrete
Forms Association recently decided to target school construction.
The association is creating a pair of technical briefs; one that
will showcase the benefits ICFs offer schools, the other to help
contractors that want to break into local school construction
markets. The ICFA will also exhibit at the American Institute of
Architect’s (AIA) annual School Building Expo in 2008.
ICFs and Schools
There is another advantage ICFs offer: durability and protection from
natural disasters. When the Brevard
County (Florida) School Board received a
mandate to replace its portable classrooms
with more permanent structures, they
chose to build with ICFs from American
“The project involved 22 schools, with
one to eight classrooms being constructed
for each school,” says Patrick Murphy,
president of American PolySteel. Seven of
the 22 buildings were designed as hurricane
shelters for the surrounding community.
The general contractor, 3D/I
Construction, won the design/build job
after carefully consulting with the local
distributor, Florida PolySteel, Inc. The
selection committee was impressed with
PolySteel’s hurricane resistance, energy
efficiency, superior sound attenuation, and
termite resistance.
“The forms are economically
competitive to all existing exterior wall
systems… which was one of the main
selection criteria,” adds Bill Porter-Carlton,
of 3D/I Construction. “Also, the forms
do not require high skill labor and heavy
equipment isn’t used on a congested,
Photo Courtesy American PolySteel
Brevard County (Fla.) School Additions
occupied school campus.”
The buildings utilized standard roof
trusses, tied into the concrete core of the
wall with hurricane straps.
“PolySteel was able to create good,
solid, secure structures with improved
indoor air quality and a peaceful quiet
atmosphere,” Murphy says.
“When Charley, Ivan, Frances, and
the rest of those hurricanes rolled across
Florida in 2004, they were glad they built
with PolySteel.”
The district has been so impressed
they’ve asked PolySteel and 3 D/I to
complete several more projects for them in
the years since.
Fast Facts
Project Name: Brevard
County Portable Classroom
Size: 22 Schools
Completed: 2003
Outstanding Energy Efficiency
and Disaster Resistance
Construction Team
General Contractor:
3D/I Construction
ICF Installer: 3D/I Construction
Florida PolySteel, Inc.
Form: American PolySteel
October/November 2007 15
ICFs and Schools
Elmore City (Okla.) Elementary
Photo Courtesy Jim Smith
Jim Smith, superintendent of Elmore
City-Pernell Public Schools in central
Oklahoma, first became interested
in ICFs because they would provide
a tornado-proof shelter for students.
But he soon became convinced their energy
efficiency was just as valuable. Under his
direction, the district built a new elementary school and a high school addition with
room for 200 students. Both structures
use post-tensioned Lite-Deck to create a
tornado-proof, 8-inch thick concrete roof.
(For more on concrete decking and roofing,
see story on p. 17)
Exterior walls have a reinforced
concrete core measuring a full 12” thick.
Interior walls are also made from ICFs,
with a more modest 4” core.
Terry Helvey of ICF Direct of
Oklahoma, which installed the walls, notes
that some of the construction funding was
provided by a federal program to provide
disaster-resistant community shelters. “But
the real benefit is energy efficiency, and
they enjoy that regardless of whether there
are tornadoes in the area,” he says.
Fast Facts
Project Name: Elmore City
Elementary School
Size: 15,000 sq. ft.
Completed: Dec. 2006
12 classrooms
Functions as Safe Room
Construction Team
Owner: Elmore City-Pernell
Public Schools
General Contractor: ICF Direct
of Oklahoma
ICF Installer: ICF Direct of
Form: Logix and LiteDeck
Floor and
Decking Options
EPS decking systems, like the LiteDeck used on this New England
resort project, are a great match for
commercial ICF jobs. For more on
this project, see the profile on p.20.
Photo Courtesy Andy Nichols/Cretepavers
With most commercial ICF jobs, wooden floor joists are
not the best option. Often the spans, fire codes, and weight
loads just won’t allow it. On other projects, sustainability concerns,
like energy efficiency and life cycle costs, are driving factors. A number of excellent alternatives exist, all of which work extremely well
with ICF construction.
One popular solution is to use prefabricated steel joists.
FloorSPAN by Metwood and Hambro by CanAm Steel
Corporation offer longer clear spans with less joist depth. Openings
in the joists make wiring, plumbing and HVAC a cinch, and the joists
themselves can be installed by carpenters, saving on labor costs.
“It just makes for a much better building,” says Barry Gow, a
Hambro representative based in Ontario, Canada. Gow supplied
the joists for a 230,000 sq. ft., 5- story apartment complex in
Halifax. (See project profile on p. 18)
Peter Polley, who oversaw the development project explains,
“The typical unit involves two bathrooms and a washer/dryer in
each of the 64 units. There is such an incredible amount of ducting.
If you use regular concrete flooring, you’d have a 7-foot ceiling in half
the unit, or have to go to a 9 foot ceiling throughout the building.
Hambro gives us the ability to do all the mechanical work within
the joist space.” The joists support a concrete slab 3 inches thick.
Polley also used Hambro joists in the Villas at Mont Blanc,
which earned Best Residential Development from the ICF Builder
Awards in 2005. The Villas feature an in-floor radiant heat system,
powered by electric boilers, which allows residents to capitalize on
a Nova Scotia program that sells power during off-peak hours at a
30% to 50% discount.
FloorSPAN by Metwood offers similar advantages. “It’s a
structural steel I-beam with the utility holes pre-cut in it,” explains
Mike Callahan, owner of Metwood.
“There are advantages for Metwood beams in just about any
application, but especially those that involve concrete floors,” he says.
Coupled with metal pan decking and a concrete floor system,
the beams are incredibly strong. “Joists can be placed up to 8 ft apart,
and still be strong enough to park cars on,” says Callahan. “When
you’re placing the slab, Metwood can span up to 32 feet without any
additional shoring required.”
There are other advantages as well.“Any carpenter familiar with
light gauge steel studs can install our product. The GC doesn’t need
to go to a steel erector because there’s no welding at the jobsite.”
“It installs as fast as anything, and you don’t have to tear
anything out,” continues Callahan. “If you do have to use shoring,
it’s minimal.”
Like Hambro, saving on the depth of the floor joists translates
to savings throughout construction. “
(continued on p. 19)
October/November 2007 1
Floor and Decking Options
The Residences at Mont Blanc consists of two 64-unit,
5-story apartment buildings beautifully situated over
Halifax Harbour.
With their multi-faceted façade of bay windows and striking
red roofs, the buildings have become a community landmark and
helped revitalize the entire area.
The building site, despite the outstanding views, had remained
vacant for many years. Originally, it held a number of large fuel oil
tanks, but soil contamination and noise gave most developers the
impression that the site was unbuildable.
Peter Polley, president of Polycorp Developments, thought
otherwise. “The site was challenging in that all the native till had to
be removed and replaced with structural fill prior to construction,”
Each building has 82 corners, which would normally add significanthe says. “Also the site was accessible from only one side, which meant
ly to a project’s cost. Careful design work, however, made it easy.
that onsite staging had to be erected to provide adequate support
“All of the corners and walls are laid out to the exact
for the concrete pump truck.”
dimensions of the block,” explains Polley, “so even though we had
Lastly, there was a tremendous amount of noise. The port,
so many corners, there was no cutting and no waste. Window
which operates 24 hours a day, was less than 150 yards away. A
and door sizes were also selected to
major highway and rail line ran between the
minimize waste.”
port and the building site, and traffic on a
Polley used steel joists from Hambro
nearby major bridge contributed as well. “We
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
for the floors. The open web design allowed
knew that if we didn’t do something about
Size: 230,000 sq. ft
builders to put all the mechanical components
the noise, the buildings would be largely
ICF Walls: 130,000 sq. ft
in the joist space. (See story on pp. 17)
uninhabitable,” he says.
Cost: $16 million
Arxx walls insulate as well as an R-50
ICF construction helped resolved nearly
Completed: 2006
frame wall, which is important during the
all these problems. They chose Arxx, which
ICF Form: Arxx
Floor System: Hambro
long harsh winters. “I estimate these units
have an STC rating of 50+. Polley says that
are at least 20% more efficient that any other
the combination of foam and concrete nearly
complex in the city,” says Polley, “despite the
eliminates the outside noise completely. “The
fact that they have more windows. Fully oneunits are incredibly quiet,” he says. “It has
Polycorp Developments, Inc.
third of the exterior is glass, but tenants still
allowed us to charge premium rents just 400
have abnormally low energy bills.”
feet from a major port facility and rail line.
Michael Napier Architecture
Polycorp is already working on their
If we didn’t have ICF walls we would have
General Contractor:
next project, a seven-story condo, also built
serious vacancy and turnover problems, but
Polycorp Developments, Inc.
from Arxx ICFs. Polley reports the building
we’ve been very successful renting the units
ICF Installer:
Polycorp Developments, Inc.
is 80% sold and the exterior walls aren’t
and keeping the building full.”
yet completed.
ICFs also helped speed construction.
Fast Facts
Construction Team
Photos Courtesy Louis Lemoine/Polycorp
Residences At Mont Blanc
Steel decking is another great option for commercial ICF
work. Often, all the mechanical and HVAC work will fit
into the plenary space created by the joists.
(continued from p. 17)
If you save one course of block and three or four courses of brick
on every floor of a four story hotel, that adds up,” he says. “It
doesn’t take long to realize that this can be a better buy.”
Another effective material for commercial ICF construction is
EPS decking. It offers all the advantages of precast, with the additional benefits of being cheaper to ship and easier to finish.
Dave Hall, marketing director at Lite-Form Technologies,
which invented Lite-Deck, says, “Transportation costs are a huge
thing. With Lite-Deck, you don’t have to haul concrete panels to the
jobsite. Foam is not only cheaper to ship, but it’s cheaper to make as
well. Plus, you get the quality control of site-cast work.
The product consists of EPS foam planks, which are delivered
to the jobsite custom-cut to length. Workers simple lay them out,
install shoring and rebar, and then pour. Combined with posttensioned cables, clear spans of more than 40 feet can be achieved.
Lite-Deck, and similar products such as Insuldeck and
AmDeck, are a great option for jobs that require a complete
concrete building envelope. A school district in central Oklahoma,
for instance, used Lite-Deck to create a tornado-proof roof on two
ICF schools in town. (See story on p. 16).
Others use the product with radiant heat flooring. “You’re
getting the insulation without any extra work,” explains Hall.
Developers of a time-share resort in New England chose Lite-Deck
for flooring precisely for that reason. (See story on p. 20).
“We wanted our guests to have the very best,” says Tom Behrens, owner of Mountain Edge Resort.
“That meant using
ICFs on all exterior
and interior demising
walls, as well as using
foam in the ceiling
and floor assemblies.”
(continued on p. 21)
October/November 2007 1
Floor and Decking Options
Mountain Edge Resort, Sunapee, New Hampshire
As the largest and nicest condominium complex in the region, Mountain Edge Resort caters to a discriminating clientele, which is just
one reason owner/
developer Tom BehLocation:
rens chose to build
Newbury, New Hampshire
with ICFs. He had
Size: 82,000 sq. ft.
used IntegraSpec ICFs
Completed: Oct. 2004
on several other projOutstanding Energy Efficiency
ects, so he knew which
and Disaster Resistance
brand and contractor
he was going to work
Owner: Mountain Edge Resorts with early on.
General Contractor:
He also insisted
Mountain Edge Resorts
on using Lite-Deck for
ICF Installer: Cretepavers, Inc.
the floors.
Distributor: Cretepavers, Inc.
“We like the RForm: IntegraSpec
and it works very
Flooring: Lite-Deck
nicely with IntegraSpec,”
Fast Facts
Construction Team
says Tammy Gaherty, a sales representative at the resort. “Having the
soundproof rooms, the high R-Value, and having a healthier environment are now some of the selling points used when we market the
resort and spa.”
The lower level was constructed with 8” and 10” concrete cores to
offset the 10’ of backfill pressure. Cretepavers installed 6” and 8” concrete cores for the above grade exterior and interior demising walls.
Mountain Edge Resort used
foam decking to provide
guests with unmatched
quiet, thermal comfort, and
luxury. “We wanted our
guests to have the very best,”
says Tom Behrens, owner
of the resort. See story on
opposite page for more.
Photo Courtesy Andy Nichols/Cretepavers
(continued from p. 19)
The result is that each unit is extremely energy efficient and virtually soundproof.
With Lite-Deck, finishwork is simple. Utility chases can easily
be cut into the foam using a hot knife or Sawzall. Drywall or other
finishes are fastened to the metal furring strips. Hall says Lite-Form
can precut the chases for you if desired.
Note that while Lite-Deck can accommodate electrical work,
HVAC and other mechanical ducting will not fit in the joist space,
as it would with steel joists.
As the commercial ICF market continues to grow, the demand
for longer spans, better flooring materials, and more sustainable
building practices will increase as well. Steel floor joists and EPS
decking are viable solutions to these building challenges. Especially
with ICF construction, wood and precast concrete are no longer the
only options.
Vernon View Luxury Condos, Huntsville, Ontario
Norm Goodfellow believes in quality.
That’s why he only uses ICFs for the high-end
condos he is developing in the rolling hills of
“We only build one condo per year,” he
says, “but we do everything from developing
the land to stacking the ICFs to marketing
the units. We make sure everything is the very
best.” The first two projects were built with
Amvic, but Goodfellow has used NUDURA
brand ICFs for the last two.
“At the height of construction, we
were completing a floor every 8 days,” says
Goodfellow. The 5-story building has 36 1-,
2-, and 3-bedroom units. Interior walls are
steel stud.
Floors were made using Hambro steel
Fast Facts
Location: Huntsville, Ontario
Size: 60,000 sq. ft.
Completed: 2006
Outstanding Energy Efficiency
and Disaster Resistance
joists. “We’ve always used the system, and it
works really well,” says Goodfellow. The building is heated using forced air; by using a 16”
joist, designers were able to get all the ductwork into the joist space so occupants have no
unsightly “bulkheads” on the ceiling.
Construction Team
Goodfellow Construction
General Contractor:
Goodfellow Construction
ICF Installer:
Goodfellow Construction
Distributor: Fast Form
Flooring: Hambro
October/November 2007 21
Best Heavy Commercial
Grande Caribbean Condominiums
Efficiency, Safety,
and Award-Winning Design
The Grande Caribbean, a 6-story,
150,000-sq.-ft. condominium complex
in Orange Beach, Ala., is proving that
ICF construction is a perfect choice for
multi-family construction. The project
took top honors in the heavy commercial
category of the 2006 ICF Builder Awards.
Built just yards off the Alabama beachfront, this project is most notable for its
innovative use of ICFs. Not only were the
foam forms used for all interior and exterior walls, but they were also used to create
all the corbels, columns, and cornices.
Lindsey says that the exterior look of
the building is a testament to the flexibility
of ICFs. “One of the things that we were
trying to prove is that you can do delicate
ornamental work using the formwork itself,”
says David Lindsey, project architect.
“I can step out a horizontal band by using a thicker block. Or I can make a cornice by
stepping up the core size from 8 to 10 to 12
inches and crown it with brickledges. It’s all
solid, monolithic concrete, but it doesn’t look
bulky. It looks like a light Victorian hotel.”
The property has withstood two major
hurricanes since it was completed in early
2003 with minimal damage.
“We were ground zero for Ivan,” Lindsey says. The storm completely destroyed
nearly all the wood frame buildings on the
coast while Grande Caribbean suffered
zero structural damage.
“The only thing we lost were just a few
pieces of Hardie-plank siding due to installation problems,” says Lindsey. “The roof also
suffered minor damage for the same reasons...
We went through two days after the storm
and certified that it was safe to live in.”
Built just yards off the Alabama beachfront, this project is most notable for its innovative use of ICFs.
But it has also proved its durability: the building has already withstood two hurricanes. We went
through two days after the storm and certified that it was safe to live in,” says designer David Lindsey.
Despite ICFs durability, Lindsey
claims the owners are most pleased with
the low energy bills, soundproof walls, and
maintenance-free units.
“I went to an owners group meeting
about a year after it was finished, and most
said their bills were about $25 a month. But
that wasn’t what impressed them. What
they wanted to talk about was how quiet
it was.” Owners of units that sit less than
50 feet from a 6-lane highway say they can’t
hear the noise once the door shuts.
ICFs construction was a major reason
for the project’s success. “It helped with
the initial sales; it helped with the resales,”
confirms Lindsey. The building was 100%
pre-sold before it was completed.
An in-depth feature of this building
appeared in the Oct. ’06 issue. The story,
along with additional photos, can be viewed at
Not only were ICFs used for all interior
and exterior walls, but they were also
used to create all the corbels, columns,
and cornices that give Grand Caribbean
it’s distinctive Victorian look.
Project Statistics
Location: Orange Beach, Ala.
Bldg Size: 160,000 sq. ft
Cost: $7.9 million
Project Start-to-Finish Time:
12 months
ICF Form: IntegraSpec
Construction Team
Owner: Grande Caribbean, LLC
Architect: David Lindsey
General Contractor:
Coastal Builders, Inc.
ICF Installer:
Coastal Builders, Inc.
October/November 2007 23
1st Runner Up
Armed Forces
Reserve Center
Photos courtesy Reward Wall Systems
The Armed Forces Reserve Center in Pinellas Park, Fla.
walls.” The ability to apply synthetic stucco exterior directly to the
was named First Runner Up in the Heavy Commercial catICFs also resulted in cost savings.
egory of the ICF Builder Awards.
The reserve center is actually three separate buildings totaling
Judges cited the size and architecture of the building, as well
140,000 total square feet. ICF walls in the main building are 44 ½
as the fact that it represented the first large military application of
feet high, the two peripheral buildings have walls 18 feet high. Shared
ICF technology.
Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the federal
This project represents the first large-scale use of ICFs by the military.
government has mandated that all military buildings
They are reportedly “extremely pleased” with the building. Two
must have built-in “force protection” –the ability to
Congressional committees toured the construction site as well.
protect occupants from hurricanes, explosives, and
other impacts.
“We selected ICFs for wall construction because
it presented an extremely effective method of achieving
the reinforcing requirements for exterior walls,” says
William H.S. Murray, lead architect for the project.
In fact, the designers found that ICFs cost 25% less
than masonry construction, because of the additional
reinforcement masonry requires.
Murray adds, “ICFs presented a reduction in labor
costs for construction, as well as offering advantages
of superior energy efficiency and sound control… For
example, we were able to line all the warehouse walls
with gypboard, because it is fully supported on the ICF
Project Statistics
by the Florida Army
and Naval reserve
Location: Pinellas Park, Fla.
forces, it is the largest
Total Bldg Size: 140,000 sq. ft
building of its kind in
Cost: Undisclosed
the state. ConstrucProject Start-to-Finish Time:
tion was completed
18 months
in late 2004.
ICF Form:
iForm by Reward
The project’s general contractor, Hunt
Construction Group
Owner: Department of
of Tampa, chose Icon,
Military Affairs
Inc. as the ICF subArchitect: URS Corporation
contractor, citing the
General Contractor:
company’s experience
Hunt Construction Group
with large-scale ICF
ICF Installer:
projects. Icon, in turn,
ICON Structures, LLC
selected the insulating
concrete form: iForm from Reward Wall Systems.
Michael Savidakis, project director with Hunt Construction
Group, says the iForm has potential to be used in more government
applications. “This is a fairly simple system with great potential for
future projects,” he says. The ICF system “provides opportunities
with skilled and unskilled labor resources, yet maximizes efficiency
of cost and schedules.”
“This was a very complicated, but also a very important project,”
Construction Team
says Ed Storm, president of Reward Walls, “not only for Reward,
but for the entire ICF industry. The federal government is looking
at alternative building products, and there is a potential for a very
large inventory of projects for ICF construction.”
Project Manager Stan Shaw of Hunt Construction Group
says that numerous government officials visited the jobsite and were
very favorably impressed. Military representatives were extremely
pleased with how quickly the building went up, he says, and, “two
different Congressional committees have come down here to see
what we’re doing.”
October/November 2007 25
2nd Runner Up
MegaPlex 20 Theaters
The largest ICF project completed
to date, the Megaplex 20 theater in
South Jordan, Utah, has more than
350,000 sq. ft of ICF walls. Some reach
52 feet high without intermediate floors.
It was challenging for other reasons
as well: Developers were on a tight time
schedule, and the large wall surfaces—
hundreds of feet long and more than 50
feet tall in places—needed to be completely
straight. Designers also wanted maximum
soundproofing and minimal energy bills.
Sahara Construction, working with
IMS Masonry as the ICF installer, solved
these problems using ICF construction. Construction went rapidly, too. IMS stacked and
poured all the walls in just over 5 months. In
total, the project used about 35,000 blocks.
For their outstanding work, they were
awarded 2nd runner up in the heavy commercial category of the ICF Builder Awards.
“Our overall experience was very good,”
says Heath Holdaway, vice president of IMS
Masonry. “The size and height of the walls
was a challenge, but they went up smoothly.”
Alan Johnson, President of IMS
Masonry, says the biggest challenge was
making sure they had enough bracing
and scaffolding to keep the walls perfectly
straight. “You’re dealing with a foam block
that wants to move around,” he says, “and
the taller you go, the tougher it gets.”
To complicate matters, they needed
enough bracing and scaffolding to work on
seven theaters at a time.
“With a project this big, the volume
and amount of equipment you need is
extreme,” says Johnson “We used every bit
of scaffolding we had, and then rented quite
a bit more.” In the end, IMS used over 1600
linear feet of crank-up scaffolding, coupled
with hundreds of the regular turnbuckle
bracing units.
The end result, he says, is far above the
industry standard. He claims part of the credit is due to the block manufacturer. “Reward
was fantastic on the tech support,” he says.
Sahara and IMS Masonry have teamed
up again to build a slightly smaller 100,000
sq. ft. ICF movie theater in Ogden, about
50 miles to the north.
The state-of-the-art construction is
matched by the cutting edge furnishings:
The theater is one of the first in the
country equipped with digital projectors,
and has 70,000 to 150,000 watts of THXcertifiable surround sound in every theater.
In between shows, the 5,400 guests can
dine at one of eight separate restaurants
in the central lobby, or relax on the stylish
mezzanine that overlooks the eating area.
It’s possible that a bigger ICF project will
eventually be built. But the Megaplex 20 will
continue to enjoy the benefits of ICFs for decades: noise-free theaters, low maintenance,
and minimal heating and cooling costs.
Project Statistics
Location: South Jordan, Utah
Total Bldg Size: 206,000 sq. ft.
(350,000 sq. ft of ICF walls)
Cost: $24 million
Project Start-to-Finish Time:
13 months
ICF System Used:
iForm by Reward
Construction Team
Owner: Larry H. Miller
Theater Inc.
Architect: FFKR Architects
General Contractor:
Sahara Construction
ICF Installer: IMS Masonry
This project was spotlighted in a featurelength profile that appeared in the Aug.
’06 issue of this magazine. The story and
additional photos can be viewed online at
October/November 2007 27
Tall Walls – Tallest ICF Walls Yet
Ready-mix Plant Walls Top 60 Feet Stories & photos by Mark Klesk
The AME Read-E-Mix Batch Plant in Buffalo, Minn.,
may have set a new record for tallest ICF walls yet built.
Standing 62 feet 8 inches from footing to top plate,
(exactly 45 courses of Arxx) the ICF walls are load bearing
and have no intermediate floors. The previous record for
freestanding ICF walls was in the 55- foot range.
The tallest building utilizing ICFs is the 11-story Waterside V condominium in Ft. Myers, Fla., but the ICFs are nonstructural infill walls, interrupted about every ten feet by the
precast floors. Waterside is profiled on page 26. –The Editor
The Monticello Concrete Plant is the second ICF facility
constructed for AME Read-E-Mix, Inc., a subsidiary of AVR
Inc. of Apple Valley, Minn.
The first facility, built in Buffalo, Minn. is the taller of the two,
with freestanding ICF walls reaching to 62’8”. Building walls of this
height required significant engineering, as it had never been done
First, we formed the structural support columns, which were
poured in place with 12’ lifts. We then filled between them with
ICFs. This method worked well, but proved to be time consuming.
On the second project, we felt we could reduce our construction
time significantly by pre-casting the structural columns. The project
engineer, Chase Engineering, agreed.
We began precasting the columns for the second plant, in
Monticello, Minn., on site in mid-April, 2007. The columns
required one week to form and pour, and weighed about 64,000
lbs. each. Erecting the giant columns took two days with temporary
shores installed. These columns do not carry any weight of the ICF
walls, but were included strictly for wind loading.
Rising 62 feet 8
inches from footing
to roofline, this project
may have the tallest
freestanding ICF
walls ever poured.
Pilasters help with
the windloading.
Construction was
extremely efficient.
Midway through
construction, the
four-man crew was
pouring two lifts
(about 3,000 sq. ft.
of wall) per week.
to brace and shore the walls using
specialized parts that attach to regular
scaffolding. (See story on p.35) We also
used a motorized work platform lift
workers, ICFs, and other materials to
and from the wall.
These systems allowed for significant savings in time and materials. The expertise and experience of
our installer, along with the precast structural columns and poweroperated work platforms cut 10 weeks off the construction schedule and reduced scaffolding by 75%.
Mark Klesk served as project manager and superintendent for
both jobs. He works for AME Red-E-Mix, Inc. of Elk River, Minn.
After the columns were set and braced, we began stacking the
walls. AVR is an Arxx distributor, so we used Arxx” 10”-core block,
with vertical and horizontal rebar every 16”. We poured the walls in
10’ lifts (7 courses of Arxx block).
This method proved to be extremely efficient, and the 4-man crew
was able to stack and pour two lifts (3,000 sq. ft. of wall) per week.
Walls were stacked and braced using modified buck scaffolding.
Arxx makes a high wall shoring system, which allows workers
October/November 2007 2
Wa s
Wall Bracing and Consolidation Tips
When wall heights reach more than 20 feet, bracing and
consolidation become more critical—and more difficult.
Years ago, only a few specialty contractors had to deal with this
challenge. But as ICFs become more common—especially in commercial construction—every serious ICF contractor should know
how to handle tall walls.
If the walls are interrupted every 8 or 10 feet with a flooring
system, construction is simple: Pour the walls, then install the
flooring, and then begin the process again. Infill walls (like
those of the 11-story Waterside condo on p. 36) are equally
But if the wall has no intermediate flooring, the job becomes
considerably more complex. Luckily, new bracing and the experience
of knowledgeable contractors make it easier.
The most common method is to stack, brace, and pour the first
8 or 10 feet of wall as normal. Once the concrete has cured, strip the
bracing, set up buck scaffolding and tie it into the wall. Then you
can begin the process again, bracing off the scaffolding for the next
level. Mono-Brace is specifically designed to snap onto scaffolding
this way.
Obviously this process is fairly labor intensive. It also requires
renting a pump truck more than once. So manufacturers have
developed other options, allowing contractors to stack and brace
walls up to 24 feet without having to take anything down. (See
sidebar on pp. 32-35 for more details).
For really tall walls, though, pouring in stages is still the only
way to get the job done.
“You’ve got to pour the bottom section of the wall first, and tie
the scaffolding into the wall. Otherwise you have nothing solid to
brace against, and everything moves when you start to pour,” says
Alan Johnson, president of IMS Masonry. His company built the
50-foot walls of the largest ICF project to date, a 20-sceen theater
in Utah. (See project profile on p. 26)
He ended up using his crank-up masonry scaffolding, with
custom-made turnbuckle ties. “Being a masonry contractor, we
already had the masonry scaffolding, and it has worked really well,”
he says. “Stick scaffolding would work, but it takes a lot of time to
set up and brace properly.”
Johnson warns that crank-up does have a few drawbacks: “The
upfront costs are extreme compared to stick scaffolding, and there is
a learning curve with crank up, so you may
be better off using whatever system you’ve
got. Once you get past the learning curve,
though, and if you own that stuff, you’ll
be ahead.”
Uniscaffold, based in Lewiston, Idaho,
offers another solution to contractors that
routinely tackle tall walls. “Uniscaffold
is not just scaffold; it is a scaffold system
specially designed to stage material,
build, and align ICF tall walls,” explains
Al Peterson, owner of the company. The
design is based off the high wall scaffold/
bracing system developed by Arxx, which
was used to create the tallest freestanding
ICF walls to date, at 62’8” (see story on p.
28). But Peterson says he has improved the
system to make it even better.
“With Uniscaffold, contractors can
erect ICF tall walls at or below CMU and
tilt up prices,” says Peterson. “It can be
built up to 125’ high without any scaffold
engineering requirements, and exceeds
the OSHA wall attachment requirements
without requiring any additional work.
It provides material staging platforms for
materials as you build your wall… It is the
most stable and secure scaffold system of
any ICF scaffold on the market today.”
Brian Smith, a senior project manager
at IC Walls, was using Uniscaffold at a
jobsite in Flagstaff when a severe windstorm
came through. “The weather forecast called
for scattered showers and wind gusts of 20
to 30 mph, so we decided to go ahead with
our concrete placement,” he says. “Our wall
heights at this stage of the project were 24’
and three at 20’. As the concrete placement
began, it seemed like we were getting hit
with the strongest 30 mph winds I could
remember, and the wind didn’t stop all
day. That evening while watching the local
weather we learned that the local wind
gusts had exceeded 60 m.p.h.”
IC Walls is one of the most experienced
ICF installers in the country. “I would like
to have Uniscaffold available for every
project we build,” says Ruben Carabajal at
IC Walls. “Having the Uniscaffold system
is really saving time on low wall assemblies
as well as the tall walls.”
Peterson lists the tall wall projects
October/November 2007 31
Paid Advertising
Most manufacturers of ICF bracing have created systems specifically
designed for light commercial work with walls between 12 and 25 feet.
Mono-Brace Tall Wall
The Tall Wall leg assembly from TAPCO
Brace works seamlessly with the Mono-Brace
ICF bracing, scaffolding, and alignment system.
“We have a telescoping tall wall kit that works
in conjunction with our bracing,” says Jeff
Bresler. “When it telescopes down, its only 12
feet long, but you can pour walls 14 to 24 feet tall or anything in between
with just this one item.
For contractors pouring walls up to 24 feet, one stock keeping unit
(SKU) does the job. For example if you were doing a 20-foot wall two
Mono-Brace units are bolted together as they were designed and engineered
to do. The bracing from the first pour remains in place while the second
10-foot strongback is added to the top of the first brace. The Tall Wall leg
assembly is then pinned to the upper brace and secured to the ground.
As with other TAPCO products the Tall Wall assembly is designed and
engineered to telescope and store in a small space while serving a wide size
and capabilities range making it a safe and cost effective choice.
For more information, visit or call
Plumwall Commercial System
The Plumwall Commercial System is a
modular system designed to brace ICF walls
up to 24’ in height and is fully adjustable.
“With our system, if a guy is going up 24 feet,
he can stop every 8 feet to pour the walls, or
he can stack the entire wall, cut in windows,
and pour from the side,” says Tom Sommerville, president of the company. “One other feature that makes us unusual
is that you can adjust for plumb while you are on the platform.” Adjustments are made with a variable-speed cordless screw gun.
The system is comprised of three main components that are combined
and stackable to give support to 8’, 16’ and 24’ walls. The ladder is the
strongback and comes in 8’ sections. Work platforms can be installed at
height, and multiple platforms are possible. Appropriate safety railings
can be built to comply with local codes at any level. The contractor is
able to continue supporting additional wall heights with the Plumwall
Commercial System without having to remove any components. For
example, you can build the first 8’ section of wall, align it, pour it and then
add additional modules to extend the wall up to 24’ in height.
For more information, visit or call
If the walls are interrupted every 8 or 10
feet with a flooring system, construction is
simple, but if the wall has no intermediate
flooring, the job becomes considerably
more complex. Luckily, new bracing and the
experience of knowledgeable contractors
make it easier. As tall walls become more
common, every serious ICF contractor
should know how to handle them.
Giraffe Bracing for Heavy-Duty Support
Giraffe Bracing has positioned itself to be the leader in design,
manufacturing and distribution of ICF bracing and components for the
21st century. Their distribution method allows retailers to offer the best
price by cutting down on costly shipping fees.
With five warehousing locations and over a hundred retailers across
Masonry scaffolding
will work with ICFs, but
it’s relatively expensive.
he’s used Uniscaffold on: “In the last 3 years, four multiplex
theaters with walls typically around 34’ high, and one theater
having two walls 52’ in height were completed with our scaffold.
It was recently used to successfully complete a 12-plex theater,
a new Honda dealership and a concrete supply warehouse. All
three projects had walls in excess of 26’ and were completed in a
timely manner.”
Peterson offers a comprehensive training program at his
Lewiston, Idaho, headquarters, where contractors get hands-on
experience stacking block and scaffolding ICF tall walls. “Most
contractors are amazed and impressed that they can safely work
on tall walls without any problems,” says Peterson.
The Pour
Until the engineering community becomes more familiar
with ICFs, most tall walls will continue to be significantly
“over-engineered” with considerably more steel than necessary.
October/November 2007 33
Paid Advertising
the country, Giraffe Bracing is the logical choice. A
specially designed rack holds 24 sets of bracing and
has a spot for everything. Which means at a glance,
you know for sure that every component is accounted
for. The internal zinc-plated turnbuckles means no
thread cleanup is required… Ever.
Giraffe Insulated Concrete Form Bracing allows
you to build walls 10’, 15’ and 20’ high. Giraffe Bracing
is the highest quality bracing on the market and can
also be used for vertical shoring applications.
You can try the bracing first before you buy by renting from a retailer,
or call us to arrange leasing. You’ll soon discover why Giraffe is “Standing
tall in a concrete jungle”
Visit our website at for a retailer near you or
call us at 1-888-778-2285.
Buck scaffolding,
combined with
turnbuckle bracing
can also be used.
Amazing Brace Tall Wall System
Lakeland Multi-Trade, maker of the Amazing
Brace, was the first company to engineer and market
a complete ICF alignment system.
Today, Lakeland continues to lead the way,
refining and developing alignment systems for the
ICF market, like the new Tall Wall alignment system for walls up to 24’.
Health and safety is Lakeland’s foremost concern. That’s why all
the products significantly exceed all OSHA and CSA standards. The
company is ISO 9001-2000 quality certified, so buyers can be sure that
every product that leaves the Lakeland facility meets all codes and inhouse testing.
The Tall Wall alignment system is available in heights of 16’, 18’, 20’,
and 24’.
All of the components use structural grade steel manufactured from
engineered stamped drawings.
Our products are the easiest to use in the business, with bonus
features such as anodized gravity pins, quick pins, folding powder coated
scaffold platform, and removable guardrails.
Uniscaffold Works for Mid-Rise and Tall Walls
Uniscaffold is probably the fastest and
most cost-effective ICF bracing system in the
world for ICF tall walls. It has been used to brace
walls more than 50 feet tall, and contractors say
it saves significantly on time, money, and peace
of mind. The system also works extremely well
for typical residential projects.
Al Peterson, president of Uniscaffold, says
his product gives ICF contractors the edge they need to move into commercial
markets and bid successfully against tilt-up, pre-cast and CMU.
Uniscaffold gives all buyers an in-depth, hands-on training seminar
on how to use the system. The customizable course covers all aspects of
the build, including scaffold set-up, wall stacking and alignment, and steel
and imbed placement. It also places a high emphasis on worker safety and
This can create challenges both during the pour, and with
consolidation afterwards.
One useful technique to make the pour go smoother is
to use a reducing hose on the pump truck. The Ruff Neck
from Con Forms, for instance, reduces the 5” diameter
boom pipe to a 3” hose. This slows the concrete without
a double elbow and significantly increases the accuracy of
the pour.
“The flow from a smaller trimmer hose makes it easier
on the forms and lets us pour at a rate of 4’ an hour without
any delays or waiting time,” says Peterson. “We try and pour
around 400 to 450 lineal feet of wall 1’ to 14 feet high at a
time. Six men can easily pour and align the walls if we stay
around the 400’ mark.”
Concrete consolidation has become much easier in
recent years, thanks to new equipment on the market.
Paid Advertising
compliance with OSHA regulations. After training, they will continue to
offer tech support over the phone or even with a jobsite rep.
Product is in stock now for shipping around the world. U.S.
orders can be delivered in 14 working days. For more information
on how to start bracing your tall walls faster and better, call 208746-1033, email us at [email protected], or visit our website at
Arxx Introduces a New Solution
Most manufacturers
now offer convenient,
specialized bracing for
walls up to 24 feet.
Brecon Inc, a Bosch Licensed manufacturer, markets an
external vibrator designed specifically for the ICF walls.
Because it vibrates through the foam, it easily handles
common problems such as corners, lintels and congested
rebar. Although the unit weighs about 25 pounds, Steve
Kenning of Brecon Inc. says that when used correctly, the
weight of the machine is not a factor. “When the unit is
operating, with a slight pressure against handles, it holds
its own weight against the wall,” he says. Just as with other
vibrators, additional work platforms may be required since
the entire height of the wall needs to be accessible.
“We use Oztec’s backpack vibrator with the rebar
shaker as much as possible with great results,” says Peterson.
This device uses the same engine as the internal vibrator,
but works by attaching to the top of the rebar, effectively
converting the entire steel rod into a vibrator. It works well
for rebar spacings less than 12”.
Internal “pencil” vibrators with a 1” head are extremely
effective as well, especially when used by experienced
operators, but can get hung up in congested rebar and lead
to blowouts if overused (See Concrete Consolidation in ICF
Walls in the April 2006 issue for more information.)
“Depending on the engineer for the project, we
sometimes use pour pockets or holes in the forms to keep
from dropping the concrete too far during the pour,” says
Peterson. He claims to have dropped concrete from 10 feet
without any segregation, but cautions, “When a lot of steel
is involved, a mock up or test wall is always good to verify
segregation, concrete consolidation and mix design.”
So, whether you are an experienced ICF contractor
or tackling your first ICF “tall wall,” there are products and
experts available to ensure your project runs smoothly,
safely, and efficiently. Dan Kackman, at Reechcraft, sums
it up, “Our message to the contractor is, ‘Don’t be afraid
to bid the big jobs ‘cause we’ve got your back.”
Arxx Walls & Foundations markets an
engineered bracing and alignment solution for
walls 16’ to 24’ tall. The new mid-height system
has been designed and manufactured following
the same standards and engineering excellence
as the popular Arxx residential bracing and
alignment - R100 for 8’, C120 for 10’ and C144 for 12’ high.
The new mid-height design utilizes the existing Arxx 10’ (C120) &
12’ (C144) strongbacks and brace poles along with a new adjustable brace
pole, coupler and cross bracing. Assembly is very efficient, providing a safe
working scaffold at these desired heights.
This mid height solution has been developed for the light commercial
construction market, where ICF wall heights from 16’ to 24’ are commonly
required. Above 24’ feet the Arxx Tall Wall System Scaffold solution may
be used.
Highlights of all Arxx Alignment & Bracing Solutions:
• Strongest in the industry, using structural grade steel (no aluminum)
• Safe working platforms per OSHA requirements
• Multi stage height adjustment
• Available from your Arxx distributor
Contact Arxx at for bracing solutions to meet
your next project’s needs.
Panel Jack from ReechCraft
As the ICF industry moves into the commercial market, there is more of a demand for
the 12’ to 24’ tall wall bracing than even 5 years
ago. That’s why Reechcraft offers the component type scaffold, so the customer can go
higher with their current Panel Jack Pro system. The Panel Jack bracing system includes an aluminum strongback,
platform bracket, turnbuckle, and single pin. The strongback can be cut at
any length up to 24’. The turnbuckle has 8” of adjustment to plumb walls.
Platform bracket supports planking up to 24” wide.
In addition to the Panel Jack bracing system, ReechCraft manufactures the Bronco and PowerPole lift system. The Bronco is an all-terrain
scaffold that is quick and easy to set-up for one story work. The patented PowerPole lift system reduces your on-the-wall costs by eliminating
pumping, hauling, climbing, cranking, and hoisting.
Remember, when you buy the ICFs, you’re committed to the project;
When you buy the bracing, you’re committed to the business!
For more information on ReechCraft products, call 888-600-6160,
email [email protected], or visit
October/November 2007 35
Tall Walls
Using ICFs for infill walls,
instead of CMU, saved money
and time. Thanks to the foam
forms, Waterside IV finished 30
days ahead of schedule.
Photos Courtesy Reward Wall Systems
Waterside IV Condos
Waterside IV and V are part of a high-rise condominium
complex near Ft. Myers, Florida. At 11 stories high, the
buildings are among the tallest structures using ICFs
built to date.
“Anyone who is planning a high rise building should look at
using ICFs for their infill walls,” says Robert Ambrose, vice president
of Ostego Bay Construction, the general contractor for the job.
With more than 20 years in the commercial construction
business, Ambrose has historically used concrete block for infill
walls. In fact, the first two of the 112,000 square foot buildings in
the Waterside project were built with concrete block, but a shortage
of masons in southwest Florida caused him to turn to ICF wall
“I estimate that we saved more than 30 days on the overall
construction time of Waterside IV because of the speed of the ICF
wall construction,” Ambrose said.
He credits much of the time savings to using a professional
ICF installation subcontractor, Icon, Inc., which specializes in largescale commercial ICF construction.
“Now that we have someone qualified to install the ICF walls
they are more viable than ever,” says Ambrose.“I am very comfortable
with the ICF infill walls.”
“The teamwork and organization of our employees really made
this project go smoothly,” says Harry Pilkington, co-owner of Icon,
Inc. “We did half a deck at a time.” While part of the crew was
placing the concrete in the walls of the first half, the rest of the crew
was stacking the second half. “The infill walls have gone in great and
they look great, too,” he says. “We have averaged just 6 1/2 days per
11,000 sq. ft. floor.”
“Really, we had it down to such a science that it isn’t that
exciting to talk about,” laughs Pilkington. “The exciting thing was to
get on schedule and to end up ahead of schedule.”
Pilkington says there are advantages for other trades as well.
“Since the furring and insulation are completed right along with the
steel-reinforced concrete walls, total construction is further along.
And because there is less waste and a cleaner site, very little time is
wasted on cleanup after the wall construction is completed.”
“ICF infill walls are the wave of the future,” said Ed Storm,
president of Reward Wall Systems, Inc., whose forms were used for
Waterside IV and V.“ICF walls are substantially faster. The building
is done faster, contractors get paid faster, you save on the interest on
construction loans, all of which translates into huge savings for the
general contractor and the building owner.
Add to that the extra benefits that ICFs
provide, such as storm safety, fire safety,
sound attenuation and energy efficiency,
and the choice is clear.”
Project Statistics
Location: Ft. Myers, Fl.
Total Bldg Size: 120,000 sq. ft
Completed: 2003
ICF Form: 11” iForm from Reward
11-story Building
ICF Infill Walls
Tallest ICF Structure to date
Construction Team
Giles Development, LLC
Architect: R.J. McCormack
General Contractor:
Ostego Bay Construction, Inc.
ICF Installer: ICON, Inc.
October/November 2007 3
The New ICF-X Training
A History of Excellence
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, knew that he could
grow his business through satisfying the customer with
a consistent product every time. His training system allowed
that to happen. In fact, it has allowed the growth of the entire fast
food industry turning it into a multi-billion dollar industry. It is
hard to imagine finding a single successful fast-food chain that has
not copied the McDonald’s training system in some shape or form.
The ICF industry is keenly aware of the need for training as
evidenced by most major ICF companies implementing some type
of training program. They come in many formats. Some are offered
by third parties who are sponsored by an ICF manufacturer, while
others provide thick manuals with prescriptive drawings and lists of
code approvals. There are a few companies that sell videos, DVDs
and online tutorials mostly designed for the first-time user and offer
little or no follow-up guidance.
In theory, none of them really come close to Ray’s Hamburger
University®. Ray’s systematic yet simple approach to training should
be the benchmark for our industry as well. Not that installing ICFs
is as simple as making fries, but we as an industry should break
down the process and strive to make it that simple…relatively
speaking. Why? So that we are collectively producing high quality
products for consistent building practices nationwide, which, in
turn, creates satisfied homeowners?
In the same way that Ray’s training catalyzed the growth of
the fast food industry, proper ICF training can play a significant
role in helping our segment of construction make its way into the
mainstream. Still in its infancy, the current practice of training and
training support will not institutionalize the use of ICFs in the
building industry. Many ICF companies have “the guy” or “guys”
to go to for help with training and installation, but are they truly
teaching, or just showing? Can the ICF industry benefit from a
McDonald’s type approach
and create a sustainable and
effective teaching method?
Perhaps there is a better way.
A trusted name in the
building materials industry for
nearly 70 years, Owens Corning
has recently been taking steps
to bring greater awareness to
the importance of proper ICF
installation. We’ve been doing
this through our signature Fold
Form® ICFX program, which
enables many trained builders
today to erect between three to
four homes a week using Ow-
by Jeff Van Sloun
ens Corning Fold-Form® Insulated Concrete Forms. They are able to
do this because our training supplied them with the information and
tools needed to not only understand the process of building with ICFs,
but to understand how this building material and technique works in
the grand scheme of home building – if the statue doesn’t have a solid
foundation to stand on, then it’s just a fancy rock on the ground.
In many cases, building companies and contractors who have
gone through the ICFX training program have reported a strong
growth in their business. Many are erecting three to four homes
a week using ICFs. The knowledge and confidence the program
imparts has been a factor, allowing them to expand their business to
other parts of the country. The key selling point for these builders
is that they know they can offer a consistently, high-quality product
based on standardized training. With this said, a small number of
builders does not make anybody an industry leader. While there’s
significant headway to be made in the area of ICF training and
consolidation of the industry segment, Owens Corning believes
these results are characteristic of the company’s way of training and
the industry should take note.
Yesterday and Today
As outlined above, today’s style of training may explain how
to install ICFs at the jobsite, but doesn’t explain the reason for the
specific approach and the overall effect that training has on the
project. Industry standards show prescriptive methods of training
in concrete form and structure. And most training is about the
product and not the environment being created.
At Owens Corning, we take our training beyond the basics.
What sets Owens Corning’s training apart is the experience we’ve
gained during our nearly 70 years in the building materials industry,
our leadership in home energy efficiency and a trusted reputation
in the market. We are one of the only companies that can provide
materials, 70 years of expert knowledge and building science from
the footer to the ridge vent.
Building Science – The Teachings of Tomorrow
At Owens Corning, we take an elaborate approach to our
ICFX training. We practice a three segment course: First, eight
hours of coursework in the classroom covering many elements of
building such as installation, phases of planning and how to locate
and identify certain services, parts and pieces. This full-day course
is followed by a two-part, multiple-choice test and concludes with
an on-the-job field test where the Owens Corning trainer provides a
comprehensive explanation of tools and materials and also provides
step-by-step checklists.
Perhaps the one element that stands out above the rest is our approach to teaching building science. We are one of the only companies
to test on installation practices and building
science as part of an ICF training course.
Building science is woven into each
segment of what we do and what we
teach. We believe that it’s crucial to the
builder, contractor and others to fully
understand the big picture of their ICF
construction project before they unpack
the product from the truck. It’s important
to understand how each part of the project
plays an integral role in the overall project.
We do this through an in-depth session on
building science that includes:
• How to know what kind of concrete
you have when it shows up on the
• How to set up the jobsite so that you
are ready for step-by-step construction
• Noise reduction - measurement of
sound, impact of sound
• Moisture, not just water - air moisture,
dew point, managing moisture,
weeping walls below and above ground
• Heat flow – reducing energy, theories
of radiation convection and conduction
• Working with and understanding
basic elements of the earth – air,
wind, water and how they affect the
building process and outcome
• Resources and instruction on
different equipment – what is best for
which job function, etc.
• What does R-value really mean and
what impacts R-value
These ideas and more are presented
and discussed during our training programs,
which promote an overall understanding of
the value of proper building and insulating.
Furthermore, this training method accelerates learning and provides a solid foundation of sustainable teachings, which can be
passed along from job-site to job-site.
As a leading player in the building
materials industry with a long history in
building science, we consider it our biggest
responsibility to offer quality products,
information and teachings of sustainable
training methods and techniques.
Mr. Van Sloun is Business Manager for
Owens Corning’s Fold-Form division. He has
been with the company since 1985.
October/November 2007 3
Design Perspectives
It Beats a Tent
Recently, I attended a state convention of Volunteer Fire Departments.
I was there to expose these departments
to ICF construction. While talking with
the attendees, I found myself following my
usual politically correct position of saying
that wood, metal buildings and concrete
block were good forms of construction for
fire stations, but ICF would be better. The
more I said it, the more I realized how disingenuous I was. I have seen too many first
responder facilities destroyed by hurricanes
and tornadoes. Not only does this lead to
the damage and destruction of very expensive equipment, but it puts the lives of the
first responders in jeopardy. However, I will
say this for metal building and wood construction: It beats a tent.
Many of the fire chiefs I spoke with
told me about their limited construction
budgets. Most of them were funded by
small tax assessments and donations. I
could not help but wonder what their reconstruction and equipment replacement
budgets would be.
In the past, the vast majority of departments have chosen pre-engineered metal
buildings or wood structures that their volunteer labor force could construct in order
to minimize costs. As we talked, it became
more and more apparent that they needed
ICF construction. They needed a building
to protect their trucks and equipment as
by David Lindsey
well as a safe room
area to protect
personnel. Even
beyond safety, they
needed an energy
efficient building
that had low power
bills. I was unaware until recently that even
if they do not cool their structures (gosh,
give the guys some air conditioning), they
have to heat the entire building in winter
to prevent the equipment from freezing,
which would render it useless during an
The need for protection that we all
rely upon during times of emergency is
something we can no longer ignore. There
has to be a viable solution.
When discussing this issue, we all
agreed that using ICF construction in its
typical practice would be more expensive
than some of the other alternatives. So,
we set out to find a solution to a very real
First, you might be amazed at how
many fire departments are manned totally
by volunteers with small operating budgets
throughout the United States. Each state
has hundreds, if not thousands, of these
organizations. If it were not for them, there
would be no emergency response readily available. Next, in order to address the
construction cost issue, we have set up a
program whereby the ICF material is sold
to these departments at a discounted price.
Part of this program involves working with
the departments to find concrete, steel and
pump truck suppliers in their area that are
also willing to reduce their product and service costs. In many cases, the architectural
services for the building plans are donated
or at a reduced cost. And finally, the fire department commits its volunteer work force
to install the ICF with the guidance and assistance of qualified ICF installers.
I encourage all of you in the ICF
industry to develop similar programs. It
is clear to me that no one deserves ICF
construction more than first responders.
Obviously, this is an opportunity for the
ICF industry to give back. Not only is it
the right thing to do but there are very real
benefits for distributors and contractors
as well. The press alone will benefit your
ICF business. And certainly, the exposure
to multiple volunteers will generate future
construction jobs. What fireman, after
having seen ICF reinforced concrete
construction (non-combustible), would
not want his next home built with insulated
concrete forms?
I don’t understand why publicly funded municipal and government facilities are
not being built with ICFs. Some places
have seen the light. ICF fire department facilities have recently been built in Phoenix,
Ariz.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Raleigh, N. Car.;
as well as Pierce City, Mo. Maybe it takes
a grassroots approach, through smaller
volunteer organizations, to get the bigger
budget project planners to wake up and appreciate what ICF can do for them.
One would hope that lack of education is the only reason why publicly funded
municipal and government facilities are not
being built with ICF. It is the responsibility
of the ICF industry to make sure the lack
of education is rectified.
I believe in ICFs and know they do
what they claim. Find a way to give first responders a safe and storm-resistant building that is energy-efficient and low maintenance. Maybe, being ‘better than a tent’ is
not good enough.
For more information about building first responder facilities, I recommend
the following publications from FEMA:
Hardened First Responder Facility, Design
and Construction Guidance for Community
Shelters, Taking Shelter From the Storm, and
Safe Rooms Save Lives. These publications
are free of charge from FEMA and most
are available for download from the FEMA
web site –
David Lindsey is a professional architect
and owner of IntegraSpec GulfSouth. He can
be reached at [email protected].
October/November 2007 41
New Products
New Option for Window and Door Bucks
There’s a new choice in materials to
use for the construction of
bucks for ICF window and door
openings. Called Engineered
Buck Material (EBM)
the planks are basically
a combination of
extruded polystyrene
foam (EPS) and oriented strand
board (OSB).
EBM, like dimensional lumber,
is easy to saw and fasten in the field. But it eliminates warping
and other weaknesses of dimensional lumber, while dramatically
improving the thermal performance of the buck. EBM is
dimensionally accurate, provides shear protection because of its
keyway, and can handle a wide range of fastening options.
Made by 2M Squared, LLC, the product is two inches in
height (simplifying dimension calculations), and comes in 18’ foot
planks. It is available in multiple widths to accommodate all types
of ICF’s from all manufacturers.
EBM is ecologically friendly as it utilizes engineered wood
products made from smaller trees, eliminates treated wood
products, and has 40% less wood than all-wood bucks. 2M
Squared also has software available to help minimize waste; in
most cases, waste can be kept to less than 3%.
For more information, call 1-866-789-5089 or visit
New Corner Bracket From Reward
Reward Wall Systems has applied for a
patent on a new corner
bracket. The full-height
bracket/tie is designed
to provide additional
strength during concrete pours, and also has
a larger, full-height furring strip which gives contractors more options when attaching siding, masonry and drywall.
“Having more corner attachment options will really increase
the user-friendliness of ICF corner blocks,” said Hank Pfeiffer,
chief operating officer of Reward Walls.
The new bracket has a unique “double-H” shape, which
allows the block to be cut in half horizontally while keeping a
strong corner reinforcement in each half. This feature lets
contractors use both halves of the block, reducing waste while
maintaining strength.
Production on the new block began in July, and the company
expects the product to be available nationwide by September. For
more information, contact your local Reward dealership or visit
Folding Saw For ICF Work
The new ICF saw from Tajima Tools deserves a place in the
tool belt of every ICF contractor. The tool is light, easy to handle,
and incredibly effective at cutting forms, even if plastic ties are
in the way. For gable ends, arched window openings, or simply
cutting blocks to size, this saw is the most effective hand tool I’ve
tested so far.
Formally called the G-Saw 210P, the blade is thinner than
the typical folding saw, which lets it slice through the foam with
less effort and less mess. The tooth size and angle are designed
specifically for cutting foam, and are sharpened on three sides
for unmatched cutting efficiency.
Replacement blades are available if needed.
For additional information on this saw,
or the full line of ICF snap-blade
knives, contact Scott McCoy
at 888-482-5462 or visit
Jamb Jack by Mono-Brace
There is a new, better alternative to bracing doors and
window with wood. The Jamb Jack by
Mono-Brace takes about 90% less time to
install and can be reused indefinitely. The
system consists of an adjustable-length
tubular steel post with turnbuckle-style
end plates. The heavy-duty steel tubing
and end plates are powder-coated for
durability. Locking pins allow for macro
adjustments. The system works with any
type of bucking material.
Jeff Bresler, a sales executive at
Tapco, says the system should pay for
itself within three uses, and eliminates
the waste associated with temporary
wood shoring. “It is fully adjustable, quickly installed, and offers
commercial grade durability,” he says.
The Professional Jamb Jack Kit includes a two-part heavy
duty adjustable post, 2 adjustable screw end plates, and 3 locking
pins. Posts and end plates (including corner plate and panel
adaptor accessories) are interchangeable. The Residential Jamb
Jack Kit includes the post, a welded foot plate, an adjustable
screw / swivel header plate and one locking pin.
For more information, visit
jambjack.pdf or call 330-348-1115.
October/November 2007 43
Waterproofing Specifically for ICFs
Ames’ BLUE MAX liquid rubber is
a new waterproofing material developed
especially for ICF waterproofing.
Made from a special blend of highly
adhesive, high-strength liquid rubbers, it
contains no VOCs, so the material does
not harm foam or concrete. It is high
in solids, and dries to an impenetrable,
tough membrane that can stretch eight
times its original length.
It flows into cracks and crevices as a liquid and sets up as a
durable rubber to seal leaks wherever they occur. It dries rapidly
to a translucent blue color. Blue Max is available in a thick trowelgrade and a heavy-duty sprayable grade. Its adhesion is amplified
with Ames’ Peel & Stick Seam Tape on ICF gaps.
For more information, call 888-345-0809 or visit
Quality Windows for ICFs
European Windows by Heinzmann gives builders unmatched
durability, craftsmanship, and design flexibility. Each of their quality
doors and windows is custom-built, so they can accommodate any
size or opening type.
They are a perfect companion for ICF construction, protecting occupants from high energy costs, outside noise and extreme
weather conditions. The dual-pane, argon-filled panel in European
Windows and doors are the very latest in energy efficiency.
Many glazing options are available including large missiletested impact-resistant glass. The vinyl frames and sashes are steel
reinforced. The multi-point locking system protects the occupants
and their belongings.
Thanks to a unique “Tilt & Turn” hardware mechanism, windows can tilt for ventilation or swing completely open so both sides
of every pane can be cleaned from inside the house. Roller shutters,
retractable and removable fixed screen panels are also available.
For more information on European Windows call 770-2879194 or visit
New ICF from Lite-Form
Lite-Form Technologies is manufacturing a new series of
insulating concrete forms. Marketed as Flexx Block, the design
features hinged ties and a “one-block inventory” philosophy, where a
single straight block design is cut on-site to create corners and angles.
Pat Boeshart, Lite-Form’s president and research director,
says, “We can ship over
7,000 square feet of
forms on a single truckload. With the growing
cost of fuel, that’s a major advantage.”
The pre-assembled
blocks are 16” X 48”
and include continuous furring strips concealed inside the 2inch thick EPS side walls. “ICF users want features that reduce
overhead and labor on the jobsite, [and] we find that our Flexx
Block series answers those needs”. The blocks feature reversible
interlocking teeth on the top and bottoms of the block, and a
tongue-and-groove interlock on the sides.
Blocks are available in 4”, 6”, and 8” core widths, with 10” and
12” cores being added this fall.
For more information, call 800-551-3313 or visit
Tritex Line has 45° Corner
Tritex, recently acquired by
Reward Wall Systems, now offers
a 45° corner.
“We’ve had numerous customers request a 45° corner form
in the 11.25-inch size.” said Reward commercial projects manager W. Thad Tobaben. “The development of this new product is
a response to give them what they
want.” The 11.25-inch size has a 7.5 inch core.
Manufacturing began in July, and the new form is now
available for shipment to all distributors in the U.S. and Canada.
For more information, visit or call 800468-6344 x.804.
Bracing with a Rack
Giraffe Bracing’s highly advanced, engineered ICF bracing
system is now locally available across North America. The
bracing system that comes shipped in it’s own storage crate is
now available through many local retail outlets. Giraffe Bracings
unique box channel coupler allows for one system to be used for
10’, 12’, 15’ and 20’ high walls. For a distributor near you visit
October/November 2007 45
Ad Index
2M Squared
440 Products (Pro Set)
Air Tight Sprayfoam
Amazing Brace
34, 46
American PolySteel
Amvic Building System
ARXX Building Products
Construction Forms
Cosella Dorken Products
Epro Waterproofing Systems
European Windows
29, 35
Fine Line Footing Forms
Fossil Crete
Fox Blocks
Giraffe Bracing
32, 39
Greenblock Worldwide
Insulated Concrete Walls
IMS Masonry
LiteForm Technologies
Metwood Building Solutions
9, 32
Northwestern Ohio
Foam Products
ORO Coatings
Oztec Industries
Perma Crete
32, 45
Quadlock Building Systems
35, 43
Reward Wall Systems
TF System
The Barrier Insulation
33, 44
Vinyl Technologies (V-Buck)
World of Concrete
for additional information
on these advertisers.