Insulated concrete formwork (ICF) is an in-situ concrete system of building that is quick to construct and offers superior levels of performance over alternative methods of building envelope construction.

ICF has been growing in the UK self-build sector for some years and provides design professionals, architects, homeowners and contractors with a more efficient way to build concrete homes and commercial ICF structures. It is also one of just four approved walling systems for domestic basements (see www.basements.org.uk).

ICF is based on hollow lightweight block components that lock together without intermediate bedding materials, such as mortar, to provide a formwork system into which concrete is poured. The blocks are formed of panels of insulation material, usually expanded polystyrene, tied together with plastic or steel ties. Once the concrete has cured, it becomes a high strength concrete frame structure with the formwork remaining in place.

One of the principal benefits of insulating concrete formwork is its energy efficiency. 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 ensuring “thermal mass” benefits are obtained, the building is warm inside when it is cold out-doors in winter and vice versa in summer. Due to the density and thickness of the concrete cores within the ICF, excellent acoustic insulation is also provided.

ICF delivers a sustainable building which offers measurable benefits over both brick and block and timber frame:

  • Ideal for both complex and curved structures used for below and above grade walls
  • Excellent insulation values and energy efficiency
  • Provides an effective sound barrier
  • Significantly reduce labour and increase speed of build
  • Construction can proceed in most weather conditions including rain and frost
  • Virtually eliminates construction waste
  • Fire protection in excess of normal requirements
  • Minimal flood damage

If you are interested in building with ICF please contact the ICFA or one of our 14 members. All ICFA members offer training courses and won’t supply their products to site unless the contractor has attended their course, providing peace of mind to specifiers and clients.


Insulating Concrete Formwork has many benefits over traditional building methods

The Designer and ICF

Design Flexibility, Variety of Finishes, Compatible to Other Building Systems, Higher Building Performance Standards


The Developer and ICF

Fast track construction, Reduced labour costs, Less down-time, Immediate follow-on trades, Simple service installation


The Occupier and ICF

Low Running Costs, Good Acoustic Performance, Healthy Indoor Environment, Fire Resistance, Minimal Flood Damage



ICF Sustainability

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In the second part of this feature, Insulating Concrete Formwork Association (ICFA) outlines best practice for architects looking to detail and construct buildings using insulating concrete formwork.One of the advantages of insulating concrete formwork construction is...

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Designing and Constructing with ICF – Part 1

In the first of this two-part feature, Insulating Concrete Formwork Association (ICFA) considers how architects should approach the design of insulating concrete formwork buildingsInsulating concrete formwork (ICF) can provide significant benefits for construction...

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To speak on a specific matter with the chairman of the ICFA:

TEL: 01403 701167
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