ICF Builder Award Ceremony

The date and time of the ICF Builder Awards have been finalized. 

The contest, now in its second year, attracted a record number of entries from across the continent. Any project built with ICFs is eligible, making it the only true industry-wide competition in North America.

Like last year’s highly successful event, the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony sponsored by Cosella-Dorken, makers of the popular Delta MS Wrap dimpled waterproofing membrane.

The event will be held in Las Vegas, Nev. in conjunction with the World of Concrete, at 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2007 at the Cosella booth, #S14413.

Winners will also be featured in ICF Builder magazine and on the magazine website www.icfmag.com.

Winners will be chosen in four categories: Light Commercial, Heavy Commercial, Custom Home, and Residential Development. A “Best Overall” project will also be awarded.


Generic ICF Training Course

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has developed a generic ICF installer course that will soon be available to local home builder associations (HBAs) throughout the nation.

Written by Pieter Vanderwerf, and developed in cooperation with the PCA and ICFA, the course is designed to teach contractors, developers, architects, designers, and building officials the basics about the building method.

Randy Daniels, an Arxx regional manager in the Southwest, is facilitating the first two pilot courses in California. “This is the first-of-it’s-kind rollout of an entirely new educational track,” he says. “The course will offer A to Z “how to” coverage of ICF construction best practices, from ICF tools to concrete placement to finishes.”

Financial support for the pilot program was provided by the California Building Industry Assocation (CBIA). This new class is a sign that ICF construction is rapidly gaining acceptance as a mainstream construction method. “The NAHB tends to respond to what the local HBAs want,” says Vanderwerf. “This is clearly a sign that it’s popular and important enough as a construction method to develop a training course.” 

Because the class is presented by an impartial association, the course material is non-brand specific. But Vanderwerf says the class is fairly similar to training classes taught by individual manufacturers, other than this covers different classes of systems. 

The one-day class, which costs $150 to attend, covers monolithic, screen and waffle grid walls, as well as installation differences between blocks with molded ties and those that are assembled on-site. “It does mention different features, but not different brands,” says Vanderwerf.

Attendees will learn everything from site prep to stacking, bracing, and pouring the walls. “After completing the class, you won’t be able to go out and build an ICF structure unsupervised,” he says, “but you will have the skills you need to work on a crew, and maybe supervise your own project after working on a few jobs.”


Amvic Announces Design Software

Amvic has recently developed engineering software to check the structural adequacy of Amvic walls, lintels and the AmDeck EPS decking product. 

A user simply inputs the loads and reinforcement and the system automatically calculates if the variables are acceptable for the building code the user has selected. The software can determine code compliance for the IBC 2003 (US), NBC 2005 (Canada) and UBC 1997 (California). The software is visually interactive and any changes or inputs made by the user are automatically reflected on a CAD drawing in real-time.

The software also has built in text and graphic reports output for complete transparency on the analysis and design checks performed. This software is the only product on the market which creates these detailed reports.

The software is expected to be extremely useful for engineers and architects who want to streamline their design process. It also functions as a precise estimating tool for builders. 

The software is expected to be available in the spring of 2007.


Concrete Becomes more Popular

According to the most recent forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA), concrete is projected to become more popular as a building material over the next two years.

The forecast, presented by the PCA’s chief economist Ed Sullivan, predicts that overall cement consumption will remain steady, with a growth of 0.3% in 2007. 

Sullivan says the decrease in cement use created by the current construction slowdown will be offset by concrete’s increasing popularity as a building material. 

“Our forecast projects that cement intensities will increase by 2% in 2007, fueled by a favorable relative price position versus asphalt and steel, as well as a shift towards higher cement usage construction projects,” he says. “Code changes in hurricane-prone regions, improved concrete products, and concrete’s growth as a ‘green’ building material will all contribute to this despite a decrease in construction activity.”

He also predicts that the slowdown will end by mid-2007 and normal growth will resume in 2008.


Windlock Has West Coast Facilities

Wind-lock, a distributor of ICF, stucco and drywall accessories, is relocating its west coast warehouse to a more central location in Oakland, Calif., and establishing a new warehouse in Jacksonville, Fla. to better serve its customers.

Wind-lock now has coast-to-coast warehousing and shipping, which will allow customers to receive the products they need faster.

“We are continually looking for ways to better serve our customers,” said Ron Chelli, president of Wind-lock. “Moving our west coast warehouse… to a more central location allows our customers to receive the products they need faster. And, it will hopefully help reduce shipping costs, which is important as fuel and freight costs are rising.”


New 166 Home ICF Development

Greenblock Worldwide Corporation, a leading ICF manufacturer, has been selected to provide forms for a 166-unit residential development in southwest Bakersfield, Calif. Construction is planned to begin this month. 

“Customers here continue to demand safer, more energy-efficient homes and Greenblock ICFs help deliver that value,” says Scott Lopez, division president of Homecrete Homes, developer of the subdivision. “We also are just completing Casitas Vera Cruz, which is also an all-Greenblock ICF community that sold out in record fashion,” Lopez continues.

Homecrete Homes’ philosophy to build “green” by providing solid, energy-efficient homes using cutting edge technology, has resulted in an award-winning combination that has garnered national attention. The Casitas Vera Cruz development is a finalist in the ICF Builder Awards, an industry-wide competition designed to highlight the very best in ICF construction.

“Homecrete Homes’ owners rave about how quiet and comfortable their homes are and how much money they are saving each month on their energy bills,” said Steve Reiter, vice president of marketing. “And they are amazed when their first energy bill arrives and it’s a fraction of what they’re used to paying in a traditional concrete block or stick frame home.”


Conform Hose Winner

Paul Morris, a concrete contractor and ICF installer in Duluth, Minn., is the winner of this magazine’s subscription contest.  He was randomly selected from all of the individuals who subscribed to the magazine between Aug. 1 and Nov. 30 of this year.

His company, J.P. Concrete, will receive a new Con Forms reducing hose. “The hose will be a huge benefit to my company,” Morris says.  “I will now be able to pour more walls, more quickly, and without splatter.”

Con Form’s reducing hose is a great solution to many of the problems that face ICF installers.  It slows the speed of concrete, eliminates weight at the boom tip, and allows for more precise concrete placement than competing products.


Concrete Experts Available to Speak

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) has created a “speakers bureau,” a collection of experts willing to give presentations on how to maximize concrete performance.

The move was designed to help engineers, architects, contractors and producers, improve the quality of concrete construction and help new technologies get adopted at a faster pace.

Brad Violetta, of BASF Admixtures, Inc. and chairman of the NRMCA Materials Division, is spearheading this effort to help educate industry stakeholders. 

“Now, anyone interested in bringing a P2P program to his area can contact NRMCA to line up a speaker,” he says.

For more information, contact Lionel Lemay of NRMCA at LLemay@nrmca.org or 1-847-918-7101.

Best Mixer Drivers Compete

The first National Mixer Driver Championship was held this fall in Orlando in conjunction with NRMCA’s Fall Conference. The competition included 29 drivers from across the U.S. and was based on a point system comprised of three components: driving a challenge course, conducting a walk-around visual truck safety inspection and taking a 90-minute written exam. 

All participants were the “best of the best that our industry has to offer,” said NRMCA chairman Peter Brewin during the awards ceremony. 

The top three finishers were exceptionally close. Michael Hennekam of Rinker Materials Corp. placed first. Second place went to Kenneth Blair of the Concrete Company of Springfield (CONCO). Blair has driven a mixer truck for more than 20 years, and has gone 22 years without a rejected load or lost time accident and 20 years without a vehicular accident. Blair has only taken one sick day in the last 22 years.

Tony L. Jackson of Maschmeyer Concrete Co., Lake Park, FL finished 3rd.