Quad-Lock Acquires Plastics Company

Aqua-Pak Industries Ltd., parent company of Quad-Lock ICF, has acquired Mansonville Plastics Group of Companies.

The deal, finalized in October 2018, includes Mansonville Plastics (B.C.) Ltd. and Korolite Engineered Panel Structures Ltd. In January 2019 the combined company rebranded as Airfoam Industries Ltd., while continuing the ICF division under the name of Quad-Lock Building Systems.

The acquisition allows Airfoam to continue its role as leading manufacturer of EPS packaging solutions for temperature-sensitive goods, while increasing their commitment to sustainable, best-value construction solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

“We are very excited to grow our talent and product solutions for customers in construction-related fields, especially for building envelope systems that keep occupants healthy, comfortable and productive,” said Hubert Kustermann, president of the companies.

In addition to the Quad-Lock ICF line of products, Airfoam now markets Korolite insulation for walls, roofs and underslab, Insulated Metal Panels (IMP) for larger facilities, and geofoam lightweight fill material used under highways, bridge abutments, landscaping and more.

Fireproof Foam Developed in China

Foam manufacturers in the Far East have developed a cost-effective, lightweight, fire-resistant foam that could transform EIFS and ICF construction.

Called NF-EPS (no fire expanded polystyrene) the technology is reportedly fully commercialized in South Korea and China and is being exported to markets as far away as Turkey and the Middle East. 

Pat Boeshart, president of LiteForm Technologies, reports, “I have personally visited about eight different factories in South Korea and China where they are making NF-EPS.  It is clearly another emerging industry, and will eventually make its way here.”

He says the cost is less than 20 cents per board foot delivered to the LiteForm facility. Wholesale cost for a 4×8 sheet two inches thick is less than $12.

Unfortunately, EPS bead suppliers in the North American markets have not displayed much interest in this new technology. 

Boeshart states that he used NF-EPS to mold several ICF test blocks at his U.S. facility several years ago. “This block cannot burn,” he says. “We have taken a torch to it many times and it will not burn at all, even right on the tie location with regular polypropylene ties, although NF-Poly could be made quite easily with additive.” 

Wooden High Rises Approved as Part of Farm Bill

In late December, the U.S. Congress passed the Farm Bill with bipartisan support. The $867 billion law sets agricultural policy for the next five years, and included funding for wooden high-rise construction. This addition, dubbed the “Timber Innovation Act,” accelerates the research and development of cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction. CLT consists of giant wooden panels, often a foot thick or more, comprised of softwood “two-by” lumber laid in alternating directions.

The Timber Innovation Act establishes a research and development program for advancing tall wood building construction in the United States, including federal grants for state universities and private sector efforts for education and assistance for architects and builders to accelerate construction of wooden high rises. It also creates and funds the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition annually for the next five years.

Proponents say CLT buildings are faster to construct, and more eco-friendly. The bill was strongly supported by lobbyists representing D.R. Johnson, who pioneered CLT, and by politicians in western states that are struggling with a surplus of beetle-killed timber. These states have amended local building codes to allow for CLT as well. For instance, In early 2019, the Washington State Building Code Council revised the state’s building codes to allow for wooden buildings up to 18 stories tall.

Efforts by the concrete and cement industry to raise awareness of the strength, fire danger, and other shortcomings of CLT have so far fallen short. 

IntegraSpec Offers Updated Product Catalog

IntegraSpec ICF, the Kingston, Ontario-based maker of insulated concrete forms, has released an updated edition of their product catalog.

Featuring their new logo and color scheme, the booklet includes completed technical information on their straight and corner blocks, ties, bucks, headers, and webs. It also includes information on their rigid sheet foam lines and self-adhered waterproofing membrane.

The catalog is also now available in digital format for immediate download from the company website.

Florida Insurers Required to Disclose Flood Status

In January, the Florida Senate passed a law mandating all new homeowner insurance polices make clear if they do not cover flood insurance. 

Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle in 2018 as the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in recorded U.S. history. It devastated thousands of homes, and many of the residents were shocked to discover their insurance covered only wind damage, but not damage caused by flooding. 

Randy Young, CEO of ArcDesign, a residential design firm, says, “The insurance policy clarification is good news for new home buyers, however, it does nothing for existing homeowners who have not read the fine print of their extant insurance policies. If not sure, homeowners might want to contact their insurance companies before hurricane season to see if they’re covered.” 

Low-lying Florida is prone to hurricane-driving flooding. When Hurricane Irma struck Florida in 2017, 3.3 million homes were damaged.

FEMA is reportedly looking into switching to “risk-based pricing” in 2020, which would end the subsidies most coastal communities presently enjoy on their flood insurance premiums and show the true dollar cost of living in areas pounded by hurricanes and drenched with floods.