Canadian Contractor


BC contractor explains why you should build with ICFs

Frequent Canadian Contractor contributor Bill McCance, a general contractor on Mayne Island, BC, urges other contractors to switch to ICFs over wood-frame construction

Here is another vote in favour of Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction, as opposed to traditional wood frame construction….

Re: Your Article on the Fort McMurray rebuild…

“PACIFIC ICF contributed AMVIC ICF forms and brochures to a trade show in Fort McMurray on August 20th, prior to buildings being rebuilt, so as to inform builders and owners of the suitability and practicality of Insulated Concrete Forms.

The cost savings are many. Less time to construct a foundation by 60 per cent over traditional forming. No interior framing inside a basement required. R22 or R 30 forms. Overall costs are several dollars per sq. ft. less expensive. Biggest bonus is the 50 per cent energy savings of ICF compared to wood framing and R22 batt insulated walls and the wind doesn’t blow through it!! Air and vapour barrier, structure, studding, sound barrier all in one step with ICF.

In fact, with the newest building code and insulation on the exterior of envelope right down to the floor in the basement, Insulated Concrete Forms present the fastest construction and the wind does not blow through the wall. The heat stays inside and cold stays outside, thus reducing the heating costs. No need to use lumber, take the ICF right to the roof for the best performance.

AMPEX also makes insulation of R10-R16 for under slabs and a super fast method for installing radiant in floor heating tubes in the concrete slab.

If you do waste your time and build a wood framed house, there is an exterior wall insulation of many values to add outside the wood frame to make your building meet the newest R value ratings in the building code. No thermal bridging with Silverboard insulation.

Builders and owners win and save time and $$$.”

Bill McCance, Bill McCance & Son Building Service, Mayne Island, BC


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2 Comments » for BC contractor explains why you should build with ICFs
  1. Jeff Rempel says:

    Excellent Points. I hope builders in Ft Mac heed this wisdom.

    As a builder in High River, Alberta, where floods devastated several thousand homes in 2013, I can say with absolute certainty that ICF is a standout product. We have built with ICF foundations exclusively for over a decade. Every one of the over 50 flooded ICF foundations passed engineering after the flood, and over half of those were under water for three weeks or more. We ‘gutted’ and remediated dozens of basements, both ICF and conventional concrete and frame. ICF were faster and more efficient to clean out and rebuild. Perhaps most importantly, they statistically outperformed conventional basements in terms of indoor air quality after being professionally remediated. Conventional homes often needed to be cleaned multiple times over months as the mold kept coming back if it wasn’t done thoroughly the first time.

    We’ve been cost neutral building with ICF for several years now, providing a significantly better product for the same price as our competitors. Good for builders, good for clients, good for communities.

    I definitely sleep better at night because of it. Though that may just be the rest that comes from such incredible comfort and low utility bills that and ICF basement provide. Thanks for spreading the word.

  2. Bill McCance says:

    True story re ICF from Alberta
    Here on west coast the temperature is warm but I find builders are too traditional in their outdated methods and materials and are reluctant to change to ICF. One forming contractor did switch to ICF after 25 years avoiding it and then complained about himself not attempting the switch 20 years earlier. He is a huge supporter of ICF since his first ICF build

    He performs more builds in less time and less bodily injury
    I think the energy savings to the client are a CC selling point too , 50% off
    Sell that builders !

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