European ICF Hits U.S. Market

Another insulating concrete form has entered the U.S. market,
this time from Europe. Variant Haus LLC is marketing a post-and-beam design developed by Variant-Haus GmbH of Germany. 

Jeffery Zwier, head of U.S. sales, says the major advantage of the forms is that they are made from BASF’s Neopor polystyrene. The silver-gray foam is considerably stronger than regular EPS. The blocks are 50% lighter and up to 20% thinner compared to other ICFs, without a loss of strength or insulation. Tests indicate Neopor has an R-Value of 4.7 per inch. Blocks include molded-in-place furring strips for easy attachment of finishes.

Variant House ICFs are made in regular EPS molding machines, but manufacturers can save up to 50% in terms of raw materials while attaining the same lambda value. The company is actively seeking U.S. distributors. For more information, visit or call (305) 777-3849.

Fox Blocks Offers Local Support

Fox Blocks, a division of Omaha-based Airlite Plastics Company, has partnered with Rotella’s Custom Building Supply to provide local support for builders.

Rotella’s already stocks many essential residential and commercial building products, including windows, doors, exterior finishing products, railing, decking products, garage doors, Simpson Strong Tie, Windlock, foundation products, and window blinds and shades.

Now, they also serve as a manufacturer’s rep for Fox Blocks, offering a full range of ICF support services: tech support, estimating, project supervision, bracing rental, and accessories.

As Rotella’s is not a Fox Blocks distributor, customers can purchase Fox Blocks at the same factory direct prices as any other customer.

For more information, call 1-877-369-2562 or visit


Tritex Expands Production Capacity

Tritex has added two production facilities in the Pacific Northwest and Southeastern United States, bringing the number of plants producing the Tritex ICFs to five. The Wilsonville, Ore. plant is operated by Tegrant, formerly SCA Packaging of North America. In the Southeast, Tritex forms will be manufactured by Cellofoam in Orlando, Fla.

The Orlando and Wilsonville plants began producing Tritex in May. The other Tritex production facilities are located in Colorado Springs, Colo., Conyers, Ga. and Plymouth, Wis. 

“We’re very excited to be able to better serve our customers in the northwest and the southeast with these two new facilities,” said Kevin Jones, vice president of manufacturing operations for Tritex. For more information, visit


Truck Driver Manuals in Spanish

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) has translated two of it’s most popular training guides into Spanish.

“With the increase of Spanish-speaking drivers coming into the industry… these training materials are an important way to support the industry’s growth,” said RMC Research Foundation Chairman Dominique Calabrese.

The Spanish version of NRMCA’s Truck Mixer Driver’s Manual was released this past January. In March, the association released the Spanish version of Concrete Delivery Professional (CDP) Program Study Guide. 

“Although all professional drivers in the concrete industry must read and understand English well enough to pass their Commercial Drivers License test, they will certainly absorb more of the CDP information if they are able to study the materials in their native language,” adds Calabrese

To order copies of either manual, visit

Quad-Lock Releases ICF Promotion Video

In April, Quad-Lock Building Systems Ltd. released a new promotional video, SAFE-R, The Solution for Residential Construction, targeting homeowners interested in building a concrete home.

The 12-minute video details why living in a concrete home is more comfortable, energy efficient and safer than living in homes
built with other materials. In addition to the video, product brochures, a photo gallery, and testimonials are available on the DVD.

The video also includes a time-enhanced video clip showing how fast and easy it is to build with ICFs.

Fox Blocks Offers Home Plans, LiteDeck

Fox Blocks, a division of Airlite Plastics Company, has expanded their product services significantly. 

Fox Blocks now offers its customers an insulated floor and roof system with the addition of LiteDeck to its product line up. 

Lite Deck is manufactured by Lite Form Technologies, South Sioux City, Neb., and is molded at several regional locations throughout the United States. Lite Deck is a custom, cut-to-length EPS decking system that can be used for floors, roofs, and even tilt-up applications.

The company has also added custom home plans to its list of services. The 10 new house plans, designed specifically for Fox Block ICFs by Design Basics Inc., can be viewed, specified and printed at by clicking on ICF House Plans.

Half of the plans have two-story designs, while the remaining 5 are ranch-style plans in a wide range of sizes. Typical of plans from Design Basics, these designs are ‘woman-centric,’ emphasizing the features that women like to see in home plans, since women make over 80% of home-buying decisions.

For more information on either LiteDeck or the home plans, call 1-877-369-2562 or visit

Massive Habitat Project Uses ICFs

A massive Habitat for Humanity project in Indiantown, Fla. is being built with ICFs, thanks to the generous support of Greenblock Worldwide.

“This is a huge step,” said Marty Miller-Leveillee, director of Habitat for Humanity of Martin County. Miller-Leveillee is overseeing the construction of 58 ICF homes as part of an affordable-housing initiative in the area.

“Using Greenblock ICFs, we are able to construct more efficiently, saving time from our previous building methods and the houses will be more energy efficient, as well. The energy efficiency is a huge long-term benefit for the families in these homes,” says Miller-Leveillee.

“The Insulating Concrete Form Association has an ongoing relationship with the Habitat family throughout the United States, and since Greenblock is local to Martin County this project is a natural,” said Jeff Alexander, president and CEO of Greenblock. “Our installers at Insulated Concrete Walls had the walls up and ready for concrete on the first home in eight hours.” 

New PCA Newsletter

The Portland Cement Association has announced the launch of “Concrete Thinking,” a new e-newsletter for members of the building industry interested in sustainable development. The free e-newsletter contains news and information about the environmental benefits of building with cement-based products, as well as real-world examples of putting the products into use.

Three of the five stories in the first issue deal with ICFs.

ICFs Star at NAHB Green Conference

An ICF “green home” was the center of attention at the 2007 National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green Building Conference in St. Louis. Sage Homebuilders, which specializes in sustainable design, is building a 2-story, 3,600 sq. ft. home in Creve Coeur, Mo., using Fold-Form ICFs by Owens-Corning.

In addition to insulating concrete walls, the home has several other “green features,” including passive solar design, geothermal heat pumps, energy recovery ventilation, and radiant barrier roof decking.

Sage Homebuilders is a leader of the green building movement in St. Louis, and expects the Creve Coeur home to achieve the highest level of certification in both the NAHB Green Building Guidelines and the LEED® Homes certification. Photos and additional information on the home can be viewed at

Concrete Technologies Tour

The latest Concrete Technologies tour, hosted by the Concrete Homebuilding Council (CHBC) was a fantastic opportunity to promote ICFs. While the CHBC is dedicated to promoting all types of concrete construction, this year’s tour of facilities in and around Minneapolis, Minn., provided ample opportunities to learn about ICFs.

Polar ICF, Reward Wall Systems and Cemstone, the Minnesota distributor of Reward ICFs, sponsored the tour. Cemstone hosted them at their facilities, and Reward showed their Builder DVD on the bus in between tour stops, which reportedly generated a considerable amount of positive interest. The group also stopped at a private residence in Minneapolis, where the owners offered their first-hand knowledge of the benefits ICFs provide. 

Chelsea Oxton, a marketing manager at Reward Walls, says, “It was very productive and positive as far as promoting awareness of ICF building and the benefits it provides. [The tour] was extremely informative and everyone who went was very inquisitive about how to build with ICFs and how they were different and better than conventional building materials.”


ICF Home on a Show Floor

Most attendees at the spring home show in Hartford, Conn., were surprised to find a full-size ICF home in the middle of the convention center.

Built by The Connecticut Concrete Promotion Council, Hartford Area Home Builders Association, and PolySteel Northeast, the 1,300-sq. ft. home was erected during a 4-day period just prior to the home show. An estimated 15,000 people toured the structure. The ICF exterior walls—which were not filled with concrete—were left partially uncovered for educational purposes. Seminars addressing a variety of ICF and concrete topics were held throughout the 3-day event, which took place March 2–4.

The Hartford HBA, which donated the exhibit space for the home, was very pleased with the response. CCPC reports that inquiries about concrete homes increased dramatically in the days following
the home show. Jim Langlois, executive director of the CCPC, claims
the most frequently heard comment was, “It doesn’t look like a
concrete home.”

The project also attracted a great deal of media attention, with coverage from local newspapers, radio, and television stations.