ICF AND THE SELF BUILDER

Buildings homes with Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF) has been gaining popularity in the UK for some time. ICF is a straightforward building method that offers levels of performance significantly better than alternative methods of construction. The polystyrene blocks are lightweight and easy to handle and slot together without the need for mortar.

Not all ICF products are the same and the size, design and material of the product can vary. Some systems are delivered complete and others are fabricated on site. The ICFA recommend talking to ICF suppliers as early as possible to identify the best product for your project and to discuss areas that may require special consideration.

WHY CHOOSE ICF?

Low running Costs

ICF structures offer low ‘U’ Values from 0.30W/m²K down to 0.10W/m²K. Dense concrete is the structural core with layers of insulation providing “thermal mass” benefits keeping the building warm inside in winter and vice versa in summer.

Good acoustic performance

Due to the density and thickness of the concrete cores within the ICF, excellent acoustic insulation is provided.

Healthy indoor enviornment

An ICF building will have minimal air leakage as it is a monolithic structure. Studies have shown this will benefit occupants with allergies and chest complaints due to reduced levels of dust and pollen within the property.

Fire Resistance

All Insulated Concrete Formworks provide fire protection in excess of normal requirements. EPS (expanded polystyrene) is manufactured containing a fire-retardant substance, which means the ICF does not support a flame.

Minimal flood damage

Concrete and construction grade EPS are unaffected by water. ICF buildings are a good choice for flood risk areas, they will withstand the pressure of water and damage will be minimised.

Rot and Vermin

ICF structures do not rot and are unaffected by vermin and termites.

Wind, storm & earthquake

Since ICF systems are concrete framed structures, they can be designed to the relevant codes for earthquake zones and provide successful protection from heavy storms and high winds including hurricanes and tornadoes.

Easily adapted for future needs

Concrete frames offer a space without further loadbearing walls making it is easy to remodel and upgrade floor layouts in the future. The strength of the ICF walls allows extra floors to be added, subject to authority approval, and it is easy to add and tie in extensions. The structural walls will also accommodate extra openings in the future if needed.

Mortgage, insurance and planning acceptance

ICF structures, as a concrete framed building, are accepted by all reputable companies and organisations providing they have passed the recognised third-party tests and standards that are needed to obtain building approval. The Valuation Panel of the Council of Mortgage Lenders confirmed that ICF is acceptable for mortgage purposes as a standard form of construction. Click here to read the letter in full.

Minimal maintenance required

Under normal circumstances no maintenance would be required on the ICF walls in the life of the building. The internal and external facades could be subject to minor damage which could be easily repaired or completely stripped and renewed.

Contact

If you have a query or would like further information, please contact the ICFA here.

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