ICFMA Works to Build Better in North America

Submitted by: Brian Corder, ICFMA Board Member

The Insulating Concrete Forms Manufacturers Association (ICFMA) is the North American non-profit trade association for the Insulated Concrete Forms industry. The mission of the ICFMA is to promote and enhance the social, environmental, and economic value of insulating concrete forms in the North American marketplace.

Founded in 2014 by a dedicated group of manufacturers to improve the quality and acceptance of Insulated Concrete Form construction in North America, the ICMFA member companies have collaborated over the past seven years on energy-efficiency testing, unified engineering, joint promotion, education, code acceptance, and exploring the integration of emerging building material technologies with ICFs.

Energy Efficient Testing

The ICFMA has undertaken two different accredited studies to evaluate the actual performance of ICFs in real world climate zones. The first study compared a 2″ x 6″ traditional insulated wood frame cavity wall to a standard 6-inch (150mm) core insulating concrete form (ICF) wall. The study was overwhelmingly positive, confirming dramatically superior energy-efficiency performance and an overall better R-value/RSi demonstrated by the ICF wall assembly.

The second study replicated the first study and added additional wall types including steel stud, and assemblies with continuous insulation. This study also evaluated both cold and warm climates. The second study correlated prior results and demonstrated substantial energy efficiency performance across all climate zones. Airtight walls, dense foam insulation, and the thermal mass of the structural concrete core work together in the wall assembly to deliver unparalleled cost-effective performance.

Prescriptive ICF Design for Part 9 Structures in Canada

This year, the ICFMA also published the first edition of the ICFMA Prescriptive ICF Design Tables for Part 9 Buildings in Canada. The guideline specifications were developed on behalf of the member companies of the ICFMA to provide Prescriptive Tables, Engineering Details, and ICF product information that is code compliant for buildings constructed under Part 9 of  the 2015 National Building Code of Canada. This Guide provides code compliant information for ICFs across each provincial region of Canada and contains a broad scope of residential designed that cover specific nuances of individual provincial regions.

Design information contained in the guide applies to the below grade and above grade ICF reinforced  concrete walls, both load bearing and non-load bearing, that make up the exterior and /or interior of Part 9 buildings. Each of the tables and designs cover the standard specifications for products manufactured or produced by members of the ICFMA. This guide is available for download on the ICFMA website (icf-ma.org) or directly from your ICF manufacturer.

Join Promotion

The ICFMA member companies work together to promote ICD construction through tradeshows and partnerships across North America. Most recently,  the ICFMA has joined the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s “Build With Strength” partnership with Habitat for Humanity International to support their goal of building affordable, energy efficient, and disaster resilient homes. This effort is combined with outreach to architects, engineers, builders contractors, and other professionals to train and expose them to the simplicity and affordability of ICFs.

Education and Code Acceptance

The ICFMA publishes other resources and guides to support the design and construction of buildings of all types. Each member company also works to support training for architects, engineers, builders, contractors, installers, code officials, and other professionals using standardized materials and certifications. This training and certification ensures design professionals have the most current information, best practices, and skill to  build quality high-performance structures anywhere.

Exploring Emerging Technologies

Join the ICFMA at the Canadian Concrete Expo to learn more about the use of Glass Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Rebar (GFRP or FRP) in ICF construction. FRP Rebar is a spiral wrapped structural reinforcing rod made from a combination of fiberglass roving and resin. Developed as a superior alternative to steel in concrete reinforcement, FRP rebar is suitable for applications requiring a lightweight material that has high tensile strength, with non-corrosive and non-conductive properties. The focus of this classroom event is to introduce experienced and non-experienced ICF builders to the concept of using fiberglass rebar within the ICF industry. The use of this emerging building material technology continue to make ICF construction safer on the jobsite and offers significant cost savings over traditional steel rebar.

The ICF industry has evolved significantly over more than 30 years and today provides a refined and proven constriction alternative. ICFMA members work together across all construction sectors to help the building industry create cost-effective, high-performance, energy-efficient, safe and disaster-resilient homes and buildings.

The future of ICFs is synergy by creating a stable building envelope and the flexibility to embrace other building materials and emerging technologies. The goal is extending the lifespan quality of life, and energy-performance of structures long into the future.

To learn more about ICF construction and its member companies, please visit icf-ma.org