Wednesday, September 06, 2006


There is an ingenious way of building walls using polystyrene and concrete. You use the polystyrene as formwork to build up the walls into the shape you want, then you pour concrete into the formwork and, voila, you have a structural wall with insulation already built in.

These systems, and there are several, are known generically as Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICFs). They are not new and they haven’t really made the splash that their proponents had hoped for, but there are signs that the market for ICF systems is at last coming alive. In the UK and Ireland, there are now about a dozen active promoters whereas five years ago it was basically just one. And there are indications that the crucial developer market is at last coming on board and seeing the potential of building homes with ICFs.

What are the plus points?
• It’s a quick building method – comparable with timber frame
• It’s semi-skilled
• It’s simple: the number of elements needed to make up an external wall are greatly reduced
• It can be cheaper – if you restrict your choice of external wall cladding to pre-coloured renders
• You get fantastic insulation levels
• Other benefits include good airtightness and soundproofing

And the negatives?
• The headline price, usually around £30 per m2 for the polystyrene formwork, plus £10 per m2 for the readymix to fill it, puts a lot of people off. You can construct a blockwork wall, labour included, for around £20 per m2, so why would you want to start with a wall system that costs twice as much? I know one or two people who have got as far as this and no further. But if you compare finished wall costs, it looks very different. A fully finished brick and block wall with insulated cavity costs between £80 and £100 per m2. An ICF really shouldn’t be any more than this and if finished with an external render should be less than £80 per m2 overall.
• Pouring the concrete is critical and can be a little bit scary. Building with ICFs may be “semi-skilled,” but it’s definitely not unskilled. There is a knack, which you have to learn. The walls wobble about and you have to be confident that you have your bracing just right.
• Bursts. It’s not difficult to overstress the formwork when pouring concrete. This can cause the formwork to split open and for the readymix to spill over onto the ground. It looks worse than it actually is and it’s part of the skill to know how to handle the odd burst without panicking. But it doesn’t look good and it contributes in no small part to a negative perception of ICFs.
• Concrete. Although all the ICF promoters sell their systems as a green method of building, they can’t get away from the fact that concrete is not perceived as a green building material. Far from it. It is regularly subject to scathing attack from environmentalists and is blacklisted from many deep-green projects, along with all cement-based products. Personally, I think this is a ridiculous state of affairs, especially as these projects almost always promote the questionable use of lime as a replacement for cement. But nevertheless, these perceptions count. Concrete is just not sexy, in the way timber, glass or handmade bricks are sexy.
• Neither, for that matter, is polystyrene!
• Not so much thermal mass as thermal mish-mash. I have written recently on the blog about the perceived joys of thermal mass as a method of storing passive solar heat and evening-out temperature fluctuations. I remain somewhat sceptical of the wilder claims made by thermal mass advocates but the problem for ICF walls is that the concrete is insulated by the polystyrene casing both inside and out, so it’s not readily available to admit heat radiation. Thermal mass fans find this incredibly frustrating, so much so that I know of at least one project where the architect instructed the builders to peel off the entire inside layer of polystyrene after the concrete had set and to then stick it onto the outside. Inelegant or what?

I have written at far greater length about the negatives than I have about the positives. If word counters measured opinions, you would surmise I am therefore broadly negative. But that’s not so. It really doesn’t bother me that ICFs are made of concrete, or that the thermal mass is compromised by the insulation, or that headline price looks high, or that they are not quite as easy to build with as you might initially think. In July and August, I visited two ICF sites, one a selfbuild and the other a 25 unit development, where the respective builders were both chuffed to bits with their decision to use ICFs. The selfbuilder was particularly instructive as he was a carpenter by trade and you would have thought he would naturally have gravitated towards a timber house. But no, he wanted full control of the project and he wanted to undertake virtually every trade himself. As he put it, “I’d rather just do it myself than spend time explaining to someone else what I wanted them to do, only for them to do it wrong.” In fact, the skills of a carpenter are far more appropriate for ICF builds than the skills of a blocklayer, which they are designed to replace.

It remains to be seen just where ICFs go from here. As the regulations demand more and more insulation, it becomes increasingly challenging to work this into the standard cavity wall routine and builders become more open to novel format like ICFs and SIPs. At the moment, you can still build with a 100mm cavity and pass muster with Part L but the next version may require a 150mm cavity and that is stretching it some. At that point, we may suddenly see a really big switchover to ICFs, especially by those builders who instinctively don’t like timber based wall systems. Ireland has already seen a significant take-up of ICFs, but there it seems to be more about meeting the seemingly insatiable demand for new homes by whatever means available. In the UK, the new homes market is very different.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

need 2 know how 2 buy (or company name)

10:11 am  
Anonymous long island home builders said...

The insulated framework has a lot of advantages. It's up to you choose the right material for the property.

6:43 am  
Blogger Jennifer Swift said...

This is such a good idea in making an insulated wall. The use of polystyrene and concrete in making a structured wall is a very innovative idea. Insulated Concrete Formwork will surely be advantageous among property owners and home owners. If there is any disadvantage, I'm pretty sure that it's minimal.

Burnside Conveyancing

7:39 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing informative post. this idea is really very useful because polystyrene is best product widely and we can use this as formwork at construction. It is very cost effective and storage products. I'm engineer and I always use polystyrene blocks at a construction building that make my building more strong.

5:15 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

louis vuitton bags
michael kors outlet
celine bags
louis vuitton bags
hollister shirts
coach outlet
lebron 13 shoes
michael kors outlet online
ray ban outlet
toms wedges
michael kors outlet clearance
jordan 11
cheap oakley sunglasses
lebron 13
louis vuitton outlet
retro 11
ray ban outlet
michael kors handbags
hollister jeans
louis vuitton outlet stores
oakley outlet
cheap air jordans
cheap jordans
ralph lauren outlet
tory burch flats
ray ban sunglasses outlet
coach outlet online
polo ralph lauren
rolex watches outlet
polo ralph lauren
michael kors outlet
pandora jewelry
christian louboutin shoes
hermes bags
ralph lauren outlet
coach outlet
michael kors bags
rolex submariner price
coach factory outlet online
michael kors purses

2:25 am  
Blogger John said...

ray bans
oakley sunglasses outlet
longchamp bag
cheap ugg sale
moncler outlet online
canada goose parka
lebron james shoes
michael kors outlet online

11:56 am  
Blogger chenmeinv0 said...

polo ralph lauren shirts
kobe 10 shoes
prada outlet
adidas nmd r1
coach outlet store online
adidas yeezy boost 350 v2
kate spade handbags
burberry scarf
christian louboutin sale
nike air max 2017

8:41 am  
Blogger 1111141414 said...

yeezy shoes
van cleef arpels
michael kors factory outlet
jordan retro
tory burch shoes
nike lebron 14
adidas yeezy
pandora charms
light up shoes
light up shoes

9:58 am  
Anonymous Pengobatan Atasi Keputihan Yang Gatal Dan Bau said...

Thank you for sharing the information, a very interesting article

Pengobatan Tumor Rahang Sampai ke Akar
Cara Mengobati Asam Urat Ampuh
Pengobatan Herbal Batu Ginjal
Pengobatan Asma Ampuh
Pengobatan Ampuh Atasi Kencing Batu
Cara Mengobati Ginjal Bocor

8:42 am  
Blogger khairy said...

نقل عفش بالطائف
نقل اثاث بالطائف
نقل العفش بالطائف
شركة نقل عفش بالطائف
شركة نقل اثاث بالطائف
شركات نقل العفش بالطائف

6:23 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

issey miyake
christian louboutin sale
mulberry handbags
ugg boots
moncler jackets
louboutin shoes
coach outlet online
off white clothing
nhl jerseys
coach outlet online

10:03 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

2018106 leilei3915
cheap nhl jerseys
pandora charms
mulberry sale
ugg boots
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
nike outlet
longchamp outlet online
michael kors handbags
coach factory outlet

2:39 am  
Blogger Redi Afandi said...

I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine
cara menghilangkan benjolan di kelopak mata
obat amandel
cara menyembuhkan infeksi rahim
obat paru paru basah

7:22 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well this article that i’ve been waited for so long.
obat penyakit gondok
cara menghilangkan benjolan di kemaluan
cara menghilangkan bekas borok
obat pengapuran tulang belakang herbal
obat tradisional leukosit tinggi pada anak

7:49 am  
Blogger Obat Sakit Tenggorokan said...

Thank you, for getting something new and saluting the irrationality of this story, hopefully it will be useful, so that this life is more useful and useful for others.Tips Menyembuhkan Patah Tulang Cara Mengoatasi Tumor Payudara Obat Muntaber Cara Mengatasi Sering Buang Air Kecil

8:37 am  
Blogger yanmaneee said...

fake rolex
supreme hoodie
lebron 10
chrome hearts online
nike flyknit
off white nike
golden goose
off white
air max
adidas nmd

9:40 am  
Blogger Aulia said...

All my life just wants to be with you at all times. Throughout my life, I begged you to leave me

Cara Mengobati Penyakit Batu Empedu
Cara Menurunkan Kadar Gula Darah
Obat Penyumbatan Tuba Falopi
Obat Jerawat Batu
Cara Menyembuhkan Gatal Di Penis

9:53 am  
Blogger yanmaneee said...

balenciaga speed
hermes handbags
nfl jerseys
balenciaga sneakers
michael kors outlet online
off white shoes
moncler jacket
nike air max 97

8:57 am  
Blogger alkhadim LLC said...

We provide seamless Accounting Services in Dubai with a dedicated team. We are one of the top Accounting Services offering end to end Accounting Services. Fully-Managed Service. Monthly MIS Reports.

12:51 pm  
Blogger jasonbob said...

curry 7 shoes
jordan 1
kawhi leonard shoes
curry shoes
nike epic react flyknit
nike lebron shoes
air jordan
off white clothing

5:42 am  
Blogger yanmaneee said...

cheap jordans
hermes belt
bape hoodie
golden goose sneakers
off white
kobe 11
supreme clothing

2:14 pm  
Blogger Levi Bryde said...

ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms) are becoming increasingly popular for house construction. This novel construction material is generally constructed of polystyrene foam shapes with room between them for pouring concrete. ICFs have traditionally been used for foundation walls, but many builders employ them for above-grade walls in 1, 2, and 3-story residences. To find the most outstanding ICF building blocks, go to WestPeak ICF.

9:20 am  
Blogger Danny said...

Nice blog! If you are thinking about ICFs for your residence or office construction then it's a great choice. They are a robust, secure, and resilient structure that is also cost-effective, simple to use, and ecologically friendly. ICF construction

10:51 am  
Blogger Teresa said...

You may employ a variety of room furniture to outfit your home. You can be confident that you will only receive the best designs and services. However, a comfortable twin XL loft bed is required for a pleasant night's sleep.

7:59 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

Also Watch your favorite Pinoy Tv Replay,Pinoy Tambayan,Pinoy Teleserye Replay,Pinoyflix,Pinoy Replay,Pinoy Lambingan Also Watch your favorite Pinoy Tv Replay,Pinoy Tambayan,Pinoy Teleserye Replay,Pinoyflix,Pinoy Replay,Pinoy Lambingan at

8:45 am  
Anonymous saleem said...

Watch and download Korean drama, Kshow and other Asian dramas with english subtitles online free. Dramacool for everyone!

12:46 pm  
Anonymous dramacool said...

Watch and download Korean drama, movies, Kshow and other Asian dramas with english subtitles online free. Dramacool for everyone !

9:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pinoy Teleserye Replay Has a Lot of Dramas Tv List That Goes on Air in the Philipines. We update daily latest episodes of Pinoy Channel.

7:14 am  
Blogger Julie said...

Also Watch your favorite Pinoy Tv Replay,Pinoy Tambayan,Pinoy Teleserye Replay,Pinoyflix,Pinoy Replay,Pinoy Lambingan,Pinoy Lambingan Tv Shows,pinoy1tv,

Pinoyflix - Pinoy Channel - Pinoy Tambayan - Pinoy Tv - Pinoy1Tv - Pinoy Ako - Pinoy Lambingan - Pinoy Lambingan Tv Shows - Pinoy Replay

Pinoy Lambingan Tv Shows shows are the real asset of Philippine’s culture. You can clearly see a clear reflection of their pure culture in their shows and movies.

we recommend you to check Korean TV DRAMAS and you can also watch Japanese ASHI TV PROGRAMS from this site and enjoy at

Watch latest Korean,Chinese, Japanese dramas, DramaCool, DramaBeans dramas all latest shows With English Subbed are available.

2:56 pm  
Blogger Danny said...

Construction safety supervisors, safety managers, and even safety directors are individuals who have expert opinions on this subject; therefore, hiring such specialists for a company's safety assignment may always be helpful. best leather work gloves

10:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home