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ICF Tech - advanced construction technology

Call us on 01773 850920

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FAQs

What are ICFs?
Why is ICF Tech different to other ICF companies and systems?
Why do you provide training, support and supervision services?
Are you construction professionals?
What does an ICF structure look like when it is finished?
How environmentally sustainable are ICFs?
How quickly can you build using ICFs?
How cost effective are ICFs?
Is ICF Construction weather dependant?

What are ICFs?

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are classified as an on-site Modern Method of Construction (MMC). ICFs are basically a formwork system for constructing concrete structural walls whereby the formwork stays in place after the concrete has cured giving the structure superior thermal insulation properties. ICFs are a simple and quick way to construct walls and are as cost effective as timber frame or brick and block construction, yet with a higher thermal and sound specification.

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Why is ICF Tech different to other ICF companies and products? 

ICF Tech could have taken the same route as all other ICF suppliers in the UK and licence a foreign system. But our research into the ICF market (worldwide) for four years concluded that none of the systems were ultimately suitable for the way we build in the UK. The main reason being is that they are not metric modular in design and does not work seamlessly with the myriad of construction components that an ICF wall has to integrate with to guarantee a stress-free build.

Other ICF products do no supply a complete system that has been designed to work with their forms. ICF Tech has designed all the required ancillary equipment, from bracing and alignment systems to structural anchors to allow you to complete an ICF construction successfully; not just the forms. Put simply, we looked at what was required and if it was not suitable we designed and manufactured our own items; no compromise.

And why is metric modular so important? It sounds simple but if you want to fix the commonest of building materials (plasterboard) you need specific fixing points at 300mm intervals. Our polypropylene webs that are embedded into the EPS during manufacture are spaced at 300mm centres and we have a wide firing strip (fixing point) so you can quickly mechanically fix internal boarding and external cladding. The webs have been designed to support 64kg/m² with a healthy factor of safety.

Our unique “anyway up anyway round” interlock design allows for easier construction, you don’t have to think which is the inside or outside face of the Form. With only a 25mm repeat for the interlock you can easily adapt existing plans to suite our system. Having wider web spacings also allow you to quickly install void vents without cutting the webs of other systems.

Our FloorForms (also unique in the industry) were designed to accept any concrete flooring system available in the UK. Any floor thickness can be quickly accommodated by using our unique raising pieces and course heights can be increased in 75mm increments (metric brick sizes again) by using another double sided raising piece.

Our FormCloser not only seals the cavity around windows and doors prior to concrete pours but has a fully insulated core to prevent cold bridging and a wrap-around design to stop air leakage at this important construction junction. And that’s not all; once the concrete is poured you can simply snap-fit your windows without having to carry out further fixing operations – no sub-frames required.

Simple design, attention to detail – no compromise – that is why we are different. 

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Why do you provide training, support and supervision services?

Many of the aspects using ICFs are as simple as building with Lego but an ICF is a concrete formwork system and when you work with concrete you have to know what you are doing. The strength in an ICF wall comes from the concrete poured into its core, it is essential that the concrete goes where it is supposed to. That is why we train installers using our installation guide covering all aspects of installation; from accurate setting out to rigorous pre and post concrete pour checks and quality control over the concrete delivered; if it isn’t right it goes back, no messing, and no compromise.

That is why we provide support and supervision. In almost all cases having trained your chosen (local) builder works out to be effective, and you have the peace of mind that the work is carried out by an installer that has the back up of a professional team.

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Are you construction professionals?

Quite simply yes. We have over 50 years experience in the construction industry; actually designing and building, not just manufacturing building products as is the case with our competitors. That is why we can work with you to optimise your designs to take advantage of the superior strength of structural concrete walls.

Our in-house team of structural engineers, architectural designers and construction professionals will ensure your build is completed to a high standard.

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What does an ICF structure look like when it is finished? 

You can see from the builds we have completed so far that an ICF house can look like anything you wish, from contemporary timber and metal cladding to traditional brick and render finishes, there is no limit to your imagination. ICFs are also able to take advantage of the new breed of flexible renders which are as thin as 6mm but flex to prevent unsightly cracking.

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How environmentally sustainable are ICFs?

Everybody used to think that anything involving concrete is inherently unsustainable; how wrong. When you take into account the holistic journey from where a material is sourced to when it becomes a construction product the truth is quit startling. Concrete as a building material has an embodied energy of 153Kg/tonne compared with timber frame which is 449Kg/tonne. This is because more than 95% of timber used in the manufacture of timber frame homes is harvested overseas and transported to the UK.  And steel; 1932Kg/tonne!

But the final word has to rest with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) who devised the Green Guide assessment for building products. Our ICF system has been assessed and achieved an A+ rating for brick slip and timber clad finishes and we are currently having more finishes assessed. You cannot achieve a higher rating.

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How quickly can you build using ICFs?

With an experienced installation team and a typical house design you can achieve 4m²/man/hr (much quicker for commercial properties). We use a three man installation team so progress can be rapid and accurate. Remember that the design of a dwelling has an impact on how quickly it can be constructed. Make use of our construction professionals to make your design ICF friendly.

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How cost effective are ICFs?

We are currently constructing homes that meet or exceed level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes for little more than you would pay for a timber frame or brick and block structure achieving a mere Part L Building Regs. pass.

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Is ICF Construction weather dependant?

Unlike brick/block and timber frame construction, our system is not stopped by rain.  When you consider that it rains almost 150 days a year in the UK, which is potentially a lot of lost or wasted time. We build come rain or shine.

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