ICF AND THE DESIGNER

ICFs provide a simple yet effective method of constructing durable, energy-efficient buildings quickly and cost-effectively. They allow the specifier to create a wide variety of designs with curves, arches, complicated, intricate patterns and varying angles. ICF has its own logic and methodology, which when correctly applied produces excellent buildability and flexibility. The simplicity of the system makes it inherently adaptable and changes to the formwork can be incorporated into the design up until the concrete is poured on site.

Variety of finishes

ICF is suitable for all types of commercial build projects; housing developments, apartment blocks, leisure complexes, care homes and schools. A wide range of external facing materials can be applied to ICF structures, including brick, stone, render and timber, as well as steel, aluminium and cement cladding panels. Discuss your chosen cladding system with your ICF supplier to ensure compatibility with the ICF product.

Compatible to other building systems

The ability to use a range of roofing, flooring, utilities and opening systems allows the designer total freedom to choose their preferred supporting non- structural building components. Most ICF systems have compatible flooring systems which can be poured at the same time as the supporting walls, but they also have timber systems where joist hangers penetrate the ICF walls before being concreted in.

Detailing

Detailing is an issue which can be daunting for architects who are new to ICF. The details allow architects to successfully interface a wide spectrum of different construction systems, materials and products. Furthermore the flexible nature of ICF means that important aesthetic considerations, such as whether to recess doors and windows, and by how much, are easy to achieve using standard detailing practices. Indeed, some conditions, such as corner windows and cantilevered openings, are easier to design with ICF than traditional forms of construction, as they do not require complicated structural solutions. The simplicity of the system also makes it inherently adaptable. Changes to formwork, for example, can incorporated into the design up until the concrete is poured on site.

Higher building performance standards

Insulating Concrete Formwork out-performs the current Building Regulations and can easily meet the requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes Star Level 3. When used in conjunction with other sustainability supplements, such as ground source heat pumps, heat exchangers, wind turbines, and photovoltaics it can meet Code Star Level 6 – Carbon Neutral.

Talk to your ICF supplier

The ICFA recommend discussing your project with your ICF supplier as early as possible. Your supplier can identify areas that may require special consideration and design issues that are specific to ICF construction. For more information please contact the ICFA.
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