Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) systems are being used in everything from single story buildings to 20+ story high-rises. Common types of projects include single and multifamily residential housing, hotels, offices, educational and healthcare facilities, manufacturing and warehouse buildings and others.
ICF construction offers several benefits including energy efficiency, diaster resiliancy, noise reduction, strength and durability, and sustainability. In addition it is competitively priced in comparison to steel frame, wood frame, and masonry construction. Buildings constructed with ICFs are also very fire resistent, and in multi-family housing, can help to isolate the fire to a single unit and protect both lives and property.
The system works a lot like LEGOs as it is comprised of interlocking blocks with mechanisms that connect together. Each block is made out of molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation in a variety of sizes. According to an article from Concrete INFOCUS, “the most common configuration of an ICF unit is made of two layers of 2-1/2 to 2-5/8 inch thick EPS spaced 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 inches apart for most low to mid-rise buildings.” In the case of taller buildings or when the project consists of high ceilings or large loadings, the structure requires thicker walls. ICF blocks are identifyied by the width of the cavity and wider units include 6-inch, 8-inch and larger.
Typically blocks are fully assembled at the manufacturing site although some blocks are folded into a flat configuration and shipped, while other manufacturers produce ICF forms that are assembled at the jobsite. After the ICF blocks are installed, concrete is pumped into the cavity to make a strong, uniformly-thick concrete wall. Concrete INFOCUS says the “recommended maximum aggregate size should be 1/2- inch aggregate for 4- and 6-inch cavity forms and ¾-inch aggregate for 8-inch and larger cavity forms.”
The Conco Companies are a leading supplier of concrete services for the Western U.S. We got our start in the Bay Area in 1959 by offering clients the best value on a wide range of concrete services and products. Since that time, we have taken a leading role as one of the top concrete contractors in the region. We have four regional offices serving California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Colorado.