New ICF Brand Hits the Market
Stronghold ICF is a new insulated concrete form developed by industry veterans with extensive field and architectural experience. The driving philosophy behind Stronghold is to remove the most common stresses associated with installing ICFs. The block has several built-in features that eliminate the need for in-field fixes by installers. Stronghold ICF webs lock together and don’t settle or separate during concrete pours. Thicker denser foam with ties evenly spaced do away with bulging seams.
The block is being molded by a group of ICF manufacturing plants around the U.S. and Canada with ICF experience that goes back 30 years. Company president Cooper Stewart says, “Stronghold is positioned to provide a contractor-friendly ICF block that is truly different.”
Product testing is underway with completion expected in spring of 2019. Currently, Stronghold blocks are available in 6” and 8” core sizes. Straights, 45s, 90º corners, brickledge, T-block, taper tops, flat tops, and ½ and ¾ height blocks are available with more sizes coming.
For more information about Stronghold ICF, visit www.strongholdicf.com, or email vice president Greg Steffes at
New Logix Organization and Logo
Logix, a major manufacturer of insulated concrete forms, has reorganized its corporate structure and branding. The move is one of the first taken by Andy Lennox, who recently took over as company president. (See story page 12).
Lennox says, “I am pleased to announce that our organization will operate from now on as Logix Brands Ltd. Our new Logix Brands identity perfectly reflects our ongoing commitment to the development of innovative and value-added products for a better and more sustainable future.
As part of the move, the company has updated their logo and rolled out a new website, www.LogixBrands.com.
Logix Brands is owned by a group of expanded polystyrene manufacturers who joined forces in 2001 to create a consortium. “We are uniquely positioned to leverage the strength, power and resources of a multi-national organization, while also offering the support and attentive service of a nimble local business,” says Lennox. “Together, Logix Brands, our partners and our customers are working toward building a better world.”
Labor Shortage Continues
New data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce indicates that more than 90% of contractors are concerned with labor shortages. Additionally, nearly half (47%) expect the problem of finding skilled workers to worsen in the next six months.
“Contractors’ pipelines for new business are consistently healthy,” says Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO at USG Corporation. “However, that optimism is challenged by a growing shortage of workers, and this trend has persisted for more than
Placing a distant second on the list of concerns, about two-thirds (63%) said fluctuating steel prices were affecting their profitability.
The survey revealed that contractors have an average of 9.3 months of work backlog, and nearly all (96%) report high or moderate confidence in the market’s ability to provide them new business over the next 12 months. More than half (52%) expect to see revenues increase in this year compared to 2018.
The research was developed in conjunction with Dodge Data and Analytics, a leading provider of data for the commercial construction industry.
PCA Predicts Slower Growth
At a press conference held at the 2019 World of Concrete, Ed Sullivan, executive vice president and chief economist for the Portland Cement Association (PCA) detailed his predictions for the economy and the commercial construction sector in 2019.
“The U.S. economy’s long growth should continue in 2019,” said Sullivan. “Since 2011, we have averaged two million jobs being created each year and the unemployment rate is below 4%. Despite the headlines, the impact in the near term of rising interest rates and inflation are relatively benign. Simply put, fundamentals like these take a long time to unwind.”
Still, Sullivan expects growth rates to slow considerably. “Cement consumption will slow,” he says. “Increases in interest rates, the aging recovery, and international trade issues may contribute to the slowdown in the cement market.” PCA is forecasting a 2.9% increase in cement consumption in 2019.
On the residential side, Sullivan predicts that rising interest rates will likely soften what has been a strong trend for homebuilding in the U.S. Additionally, while rising labor costs affect construction as a whole, he says the biggest hit will be to single-family home construction where there is less room to raise wages.
He also warned builders not to hold out for a major federal infrastructure bill. “We always thought that an infrastructure plan would emerge, but as we head into 2020 it looks like it’s going to be even later than that,” he says. “As we start to look at it now, it’s not that white knight riding in on a stallion. It might be a much smaller knight, riding in on a donkey.”
New Logo and Website for IntegraSpec
IntegraSpec, the Kingston, Ontario-based ICF system, unveiled a new logo and website at the World of Concrete tradeshow. The revamped website features a streamlined and simplified design, improved functionality, and enriched content areas to help developers, architects, design professionals, engineers, and contractors make well-informed decisions about their building needs and goals.
The new logo, prominently featured on the site, reflects the system’s mechanical interlock. Shelly Faye, marketing manager, says the new red color scheme reflects passion, energy, and dynamism.
“We are thrilled to debut our new website to our customers, clients, partners, media, and visitors who are looking to understand the superior advantages and breadth of IntegraSpec’s products and services,” said company founder and president Michel Philippe.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the new website and direct product or service inquiries to the Contact Us page.
Polycrete Launches Online Education Series
PolycreteUSA, the Virginia-based ICF with metal ties, has created a new three-part series to introduce newcomers to their system.
Bruce Anderson, company president, says, “You’re intrigued by the idea of ICF but don’t know where to start or what to expect. Well that problem is solved because we’re about to lift the veil of mystery!”
The three-part introduction applies only to Polycrete ICFs, as the company offers a number of unique services, including design consultation, panelization options, and other alternatives not generally available.
The first segment explains how the company will work hand-in-hand with architects, owners and contractors through the design stage. The second segment covers the pre-construction stage, and the final post in the series deals with the construction process.
The end goal is to ensure the owner gets the results they deserve.
Anderson says, “First and foremost, understand that we are your resource. We don’t sell a truckload of foam blocks and head for the exits. We’re here to hold your hand for the duration. Ask us questions. Ask for advice. This is your first big ICF job, right? Don’t expect to know what you’re doing. We’re the experts. Ask us. Then listen.”
For more information, visit polycreteusa.net.