2022 Small Residential
The two homeowners in Warwick, Rhode Island, William White and Jane Levesque, were also the builders on this project. This couple designed, drew, and constructed the home over nights, holidays, weekends, and vacations, including all mechanicals. The home is three stories, with 6-inch ICF construction provided by Amvic. There is 1,000 square feet per floor with a deck design that maximizes views of the Narragansett Bay — 31 of the 34 windows have water views — including two suspension decks, one floating, and one traditional deck. Because it was so close to the bay, it was designed to be flood compliant and highly sustainable. The building was constructed with three free-standing concrete floors (AmDeck) spanning 28×43 feet. There are no interior load bearing walls.
No Prior ICF Experience
The homeowners wrote that they had no prior experience with ICF although they had planned to use ICF for the foundation and stem wall. The owners were walking through a home show, where they spotted a small display of ICF blocks that looked bigger and heavier from a distance than some others that were at the show. They later met with the distributor who asked why they weren’t rebuilding the whole house out of ICF.
The original house on the lot was demolished, but the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) required them to maintain the original corners and connect the new structure to the second building on the property, which they were already planning to do. The connection required some tricky designs, including a double helix staircase, and a complicated assembly for the two decks planned on the third floor supporting the external spiral stair for access to the roof deck, and a Mansard roof.
Construction and Site Considerations
There were 14 months of material delays throughout the build along with four months of weather delays during winter months. All site work beyond the original excavation and the foundation backfill was done by hand, by the homeowners. Materials were carried from ground level to installation floor using the exterior construction stairs. The homeowners had to lift custom 600-pound unfinished stairs for the second to third floor through the first floor to the second floor to install. Then they had to install the first floor to the second floor stair. To accomplish this, a derrick was built on the third floor to use as a lift point. “The stair was strapped and hauled up with a come-along in several picks,” they said. “This was accomplished with the help and patience of good friends and neighbors.”
Sustainability and Significance
This is a generational home. The temperature never varies more than two degrees, even though the heating system shuts off 9 hours each night. This is a highly visible project which garnered a great deal of attention from the first day of construction. “Over a thousand cars drive by this property daily,” the homeowners say. “People stop regularly to ask questions and comment on the house and our progress. Twice during the build, students from the local tech school visited the site. We provided some block to the school for reference and hands-on demonstration purposes.”
Two other neighborhood projects were stick-built using the same model, but both of these owners took down existing structures to build their new houses. Both toured this ICF project and asked how to go about the process and decided on a takedown and rebuild. A neighbor wants to tear down and rebuild their home using ICF through the second floor deck for flood protection with a prefab on top of the elevated concrete deck. The owners say they made a point of bringing the building department out before every pour for an inspection and an explanation of the process.
“We worked long and hard on this project,” the owners say. “The day we woke up in our third-floor master, walked downstairs to the kitchen, made coffee, and sat down to enjoy the view, the hard work began washing away.”
Location: Warwick, Rhode Island
Size: 3,000 sq. ft.
ICF Use: 10,158 sq. ft.
Total Construction: 44 weeks
ICF Installation Time: 220 days
Owner/Developer: William White & Jane Levesque, homeowners
General Contractor: Homeowners
ICF Installer: Homeowners
Form Distributor: ECOS International, LLC
Structural Engineer: St. Jean Engineering
ICF System: Amvic and AmDeck
Designed, drawn, and constructed by homeowners
Three-story 6-inch ICF construction, 1,000 sq. ft. per floor
Three free-standing concrete floors spanning 28×43 feet, with no interior load-bearing walls
Built on a cove on Narragansett Bay
To maximize the view, the design/build incorporated four elevated decks
Unique 780-sq. ft. deck within a mansard roof system offering a 360-degree view
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