Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), has released two short videos (one and two) demonstrating the benefits of using insulated concrete forms (ICF) for new construction. According to Build with Strength, the ICF method of construction is the safest, and most durable and resilient construction method and material for Seattle, Wash. To drive their point home, Build with Strength has released new case studies of ICFs construction that highlight these attributes, particularly in comparison to cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction.

The video and the case studies are part of an ongoing effort to inform the design / build and construction communities about the importance of using durable and resilient building materials like concrete. ICF construction boasts not only the traditional attributes of the product, but also speed and ease, which are particularly welcome in a region racked with natural threats.

“ICF is faster than building with wood, [and] concrete doesn’t combust as wood does, that’s the truth,” said Eric Coleman, a developer with EYC Companies. “When you stack foam against concrete, it’s the most insulated envelope… it’s a far better product for an exterior envelope of a building than any wood wall.”

ICF “is a type of permanent concrete formwork that creates the external wall envelope of a building.” Typically, it is standard reinforced concrete sandwiched between two faces of low absorptive, foam plastic insulating material. Its unique, lightweight structure allows crews to construct buildings more quickly and easily than conventional methods, without compromising the integrity of the structure.

The benefits of ICF aren’t limited to speed and ease. It can be constructed in the winter at lower temperatures without the need for insulating blankets or a heating source, it is highly energy efficient thanks to insulating properties within the wall structure, and it is inherently resistant to tornados, hurricanes, fire, rot, and rusting. It also has noise-canceling properties, it costs the same as other materials, and it has a proven history around the world.

“There’s no denying that concrete delivers strength and durability,” said Kevin Lawlor of Build with Strength. “The video and case studies released today show that speed and ease of use can now also be associated with concrete construction.”

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