Nov 2020

Why use insulated concrete forms for your build

by Andrew Horton

Insulated concrete forms or (ICF) is an efficient alternative to traditional build methods, such as timber frame or brick and block, in terms of the time spent on construction and ongoing energy savings.

For the uninitiated, a timber frame build unsurprisingly sees timber used as the framework of a building or extension before affixing stud walls and an external waterproof barrier, and then applying external wall elements. The brick and block method sees internal blockwork and external walls made of brick or stone. The latter method takes longer than a timber frame construction, which can be up in a matter of days.

Quicker still is ICF. This is an insulated concrete building system that is super quick to construct. Hollow, lightweight, expanded polystyrene block components, such as the ones made by NUDURA, lock together to provide a formwork system into which concrete is poured. Basically, its LEGO for builders!

Once set, the concrete structure continues to benefit from the formwork. The 67mm layers of expanded polystyrene encases the concrete to significantly reduce the flow of heat through the wall.

NUDURA celebrates the fact that their ICF walls have “the most useful level of thermal mass,” in that their low thermal conductivity stabilises the internal temperature from day to night fluctuations and provides a largely self-regulating environment to reduce draughts and cold spots.

The result is less energy consumption thereby reducing the need for mechanical heating and cooling…which drives down costs too. Such energy efficiency is becoming more and more important as people try to lead their lives a more sustainable way. As a further bonus, the NUDURA unique folding web design is manufactured from 100% recycled polypropylene too.

With the correct detailing, ICF is an effective sound barrier from outdoor noise, is mould resistant, can withstand winds up to 250mph and is flood resistant. Tick, tick, tick and tick!

PCA has worked on multiple projects using ICF. It is particularly efficient when building basements, due to its dry and damp-free properties, but is equally effective above ground. What makes it appealing to construction firms though is that it is deigned to make building easier and faster.

And to complete the job, a whole range of external finishes can be used, including brick, render, stone, timber and cladding or a combination of any of these.

If you are considering a new-build or an extension and want to find out more about ICF, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

You can also contact The Fell Partnership for further information on NUDURA.