2011 Heavy Commercial

Best in Class

The H.C. Moore Library, part of the College of the Bahamas in Nassau, is an outstanding example of how ICFs provide an elegant, cost effective solution to many construction challenges.

The design favored radius walls; 85% of the exterior walls are curved, with integrated structural columns at 15 foot centers. The three-story tall central atrium is perfectly circular. The wings curve away in sweeping radii on both sides.

Additionally, the owner stipulated it needed to double as a National Disaster Relief Center, able to withstand any major seismic or hurricane force winds that frequently occur in the region.

Not surprisingly, most preliminary construction bids came in well over the project budget.

Mark Moyle, the Quad-Lock distributor that provided the ICFs, knew his product could resolve these issues and still come in on budget, but it proved to be a tough sell. He relates, “Fortunately, the structural engineer was familiar with ICFs and we were given the opportunity to demonstrate the system to a very, very skeptical general contractor and project management. Using one of the radius (121’-0) and incorporating one of the integrated 2’ x 2’ columns from the actual design, a crew of two men installed a twenty-foot mock-up five feet high in the contractor’s parking lot, in three hours.”

After demonstrating how Quad-Lock easily made the various curved walls, Moyle and his crew demonstrated how the panel system worked around the demanding rebar schedule far more efficiently than traditional formwork. When he showed the GC that he could lower the entire project cost to fit within the client’s budget, the deal was sold.

There were other advantages as well. “The original engineering called for 8” thick poured concrete walls with metal furring and fiberglass insulation on the inside,” Moyle says. “We were able to convince the client/contractor that ICF was a very suitable, time and money saving alternative.”

Despite the demonstration, the GC was still skeptical of ICFs. He had a tight construction schedule, and he wasn’t going to let the ICF crew put him behind. In the beginning he insisted that Quad-Lock Bahamas have a 24-man crew of installers onsite to ensure wall construction to keep up to his overall scope of work. Within two weeks, the ICF crew was downsized to eight men and after a month, it was decreased to three. So, for the majority of the project, the general contractor had an average of 60 tradesmen on site, performing all the horizontal work while a three-man ICF crew performed all the vertical work. At this pace, the entire reinforced concrete structure was completed in a little over one year.

Moyle recalls, “There were some amazing challenges with examples of different radius walls joining at obtuse angles and five-sided asymmetrical columns that tested Quad-Lock’s versatility to the limit.”

Now complete, the library is the pride of the island, holding 150,000 volumes. It’s been described as “one of the largest and most sophisticated public buildings in the Caribbean.”

College administrators are so pleased with the energy savings that they’re applying for LEED certification, and requiring all future structures be LEED certified.

Moyle concludes, “Now recognized as an important landmark in the region, it’s as if ICFs now have a full-blown Bahamian Government stamp of approval and permanent recognition within the Bahamian Construction Industry. This project has broken down any resistance to ICF’s strength, cost, speed, quality of construction and sustainability.”

Project Statistics

Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Type: University Library/Disaster Relief Center
Size: 60,000 sq. ft. (floor)
ICF Use: 32,000 sq. ft. walls (75% of exterior walls)
Cost: $28 Million
Total Construction: 600 days
ICF Start-to-Finish Time: 300 days


Construction Team

Owner: College of the Bahamas
General Contractor: CGT Contractors and Developers
ICF Installer/Distributor: Quad-lock Bahamas, Ltd
Architect: Jackson Burnside Ltd.
Engineer: ETS
ICF System: Quad-Lock

Fast Facts

One of the largest public buildings in the Caribbean
Doubles as hurricane/emergency relief shelter
85% of exterior walls are radiused
Integrated pilasters, including asymmetrical 5-sided columns
Large-scale construction mock-up demonstration convinced project management to use ICFs
ICFs installed by 3-man crew



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