Superform ICF, the Alberta-based ICF manufacturer, has a new look and logo. “Just like a home, sometimes a business brand needs a little remodeling,” explains Jason Unruh, company president. “The changes we are making reflect who we are now and moving forward into the future.”
He continues, “Our new website is redesigned and improves the way customers receive the information they need. The site has more information on our products and a fully responsive layout on all platforms, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. Superform may have a new look, but you can expect our commitment to quality, sustainability, and continuous improvement to remain unchanged.”
A new ICF plan review service was unveiled at World of Concrete in January. Robert Klob, a well known ICF designer, has opened a new company offering a quick and affordable consulting service for residential ICF projects. Homeowners, distributors, installers and design professionals can use this service to ensure their projects are optimized for efficiency, without the over-engineering and unnecessary extra materials that sometimes appear in plans and construction details.
“One of the biggest challenges that has faced the ICF industry is lack of understanding during the design process,” says Klob. “Overdesign and plans that either lack sufficient detailing or properly incorporate brand-specific nuances, regularly cause delays, cost increases, and lost projects. These challenges have tarnished the reputation of the industry in many areas. ICF Plan Review was created to help streamline the design process, integrate best practices during construction and creating a more cost effective to build. “
Final residential construction plans can be uploaded to the website and will be reviewed against a 50-point checklist. A set of red-lined plans with commentary will be emailed back – usually within 3-5 business days. This information can then be reviewed and ultimately incorporated into the plans by the design professional.
Optional services include ICF plan conversion, structural review and HVAC calculations. For more information, visit www.icfplanreview.com.
A 16-story mixed-use development near New York City is underway. When completed, the building will be the tallest ICF high rise in the United States. While a handful of ICF buildings exceeding 16 stories have been built in Canada, the tallest weight-bearing ICF structures in the U.S. have been significantly smaller.
The innovative project, dubbed 42 Broad Street, will also be among the most energy-efficient large-scale buildings in New York. The development is a luxury transit-oriented-development (TOD) and consists of 249 luxury rental apartments, approximately 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space, and an adjacent parking garage.
The exterior walls are being built using panelized ICF wall segments stacked at an assembly plant off-site and delivered ready to brace and pour. Bucks, weld plates, and lintel rebar are installed prior to shipping. The majority of the reinforcing steel is replaced with Twisted Metal Strand Reinforcement (TMSR), which creates a stronger concrete with better consolidation and pour characteristics.
At press time, work was underway on the second and third floors.
Michael Cleary, president of ICF Panels, estimates that panelization will shorten the construction schedule by several months, allowing the building to be occupied significantly earlier than would otherwise be possible. “Owners and developers will see that panelization is literally ‘money in the bank’,” he says. “Opening early allows them to gain access to hundreds of thousands of dollars that is otherwise unavailable.”
Panelization offers a number of other benefits, such as reduced hazard insurance, less form waste, virtually no weather delays, and improved worker productivity. It’s an attractive option for commercial developers, designers, ICF installers and others wanting to maximize profits and gain market share.
In February, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), the ICF Manufacturers Association (ICFMA) and the Arizona Rock Products Association hosted a major event promoting ICF use. Organized as part of the Build with Strength campaign, developers and construction professionals from across the country toured a number of ICF projects, both under construction and recently completed. These included a tour of an ICF hotel under construction, an ICF church (St. Juan Diego, featured in the November 2018 issue of this magazine) and an ICF subdivision (Village at Mountain Shadows, featured in the January 2018 issue). The seminar was held at Hampton Inn and Suites East Mesa, an ICF hotel.
The tour emphasized the improved energy-efficiency and lower lifecycle costs ICFs can provide to building owners in the hot arid Southwest and across North America. Speakers included Rod Cullum, the developer and general contractor for the all-ICF subdivision, and John Minieri, director of building projects for the Catholic Archdiocese of Phoenix, which has built dozens of ICF churches and schools across Arizona. John Schoenauer of HD Management, the hotel developer, along with ICF installers and manufacturers’ representatives also made presentations on their areas of expertise.
ICFs are quickly becoming the building material of choice in Arizona for hotels, schools and religious buildings due to their strength, energy efficiency, noise reduction and ease of use.
The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) has elected the following slate of officers during its annual convention held in March in Tampa, Florida. The association’s new chairman is William Sandbrook of U.S. Concrete, Inc., Euless, Texas. Elected vice chairman was John Carew, Carew Concrete & Supply Co., Appleton, Wisconsin, and the secretary/treasurer is Abbott Lawrence, Martin Marietta, Lakewood, Colorado.
In addition to the board election, the association welcomed Michael Philipps as its new president, succeeding Robert Garbini who retired effective at the end of the convention.
After two months of decline, the overall construction market is showing modest improvement, rising about 2% in January. According to Dodge Data & Analytics. The slight gain followed the loss of momentum that was reported towards the end of 2018, with total construction declines of 7% in November and 10% in December.
Each of the main construction sectors in January registered modest growth. Residential building climbed 4%, lifted by a rebound for multifamily housing. Nonresidential building edged up 1%, driven by multiple large office projects in Houston, Boston, and Seattle.
During 2018, construction starts showed a pattern of especially strong activity in June and October, which was then followed by declines in the months immediately following.
“January’s slight increase suggests that construction starts are beginning to stabilize after the diminished activity reported at the end of last year,” stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “This is consistent with the belief that total construction starts for 2019 will be able to stay close to last year’s volume. It’s true that the rate of growth for total construction starts has subsided from the 7% annual gain reported back in 2017, but it’s still too early to say that construction activity has made the transition from deceleration to decline.”
He continues, “In early 2019, there are several near-term positives for construction. Interest rates have settled back from levels reached during last year’s fourth quarter, material prices appear to be rising more slowly, and the partial government shutdown was brought to a close.”