ICFs Featured in Multifamily Housing Project
A 220-unit apartment complex under construction in Charleston, South Carolina utilizes insulated concrete form (ICF) construction
Known as 17 South, the multifamily project makes use of cutting-edge technology, demonstrating the value in utilizing what is quickly becoming the building material of choice for multi-family residential, academic and commercial buildings due to its strength, energy-efficiency, lower lifecycle costs and ease of use.
Built with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) and concrete, ICF "is a type of permanent concrete formwork that creates the external wall envelope of a building." Typically, it is standard reinforced concrete sandwiched between two faces of low absorptive, foam plastic insulating material. Its unique, lightweight structure allows crews to construct buildings more quickly and easily than conventional methods, without compromising the integrity of the structure.
"ICF is faster than building with wood, [and] concrete doesn't combust as wood does, that's the truth," said Eric Coleman, a developer with EYC Companies. "When you stack foam against concrete, it's the most insulated envelope… it's a far better product for an exterior envelope of a building than any wood wall."
Last week representatives from EYC Companies, Amvic Building System, and Build With Strength, a coalition of engineers, architects, fire service professionals, and industry experts, met for a roundtable and tour organized in part to serve as an information opportunity for developers interested in learning about the benefits of building multi-family residential buildings with ICFs. The conversation went on to include a discussion of emerging trends in housing and development, innovations in concrete construction, and a white paper and case study examples that showcase the benefits of concrete to design structures.
The benefits of ICF are obvious. In addition to being easy to work with due to its simple design, ICF can be constructed in the winter at lower temperatures without the need for insulating blankets or a heating source. It is also highly energy-efficient thanks to insulating properties within the wall structure, and it is inherently resistant to tornados, hurricanes, fire, rot and rusting. It also has noise-cancelling properties, it costs the same as other materials, and it has a proven history around the world.
"Concrete has proven itself time and again as a vastly superior building material when it comes to strength and durability," said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build With Strength. "When you factor in the speed and ease of use of Insulated Concrete Forms, the advantages are more clear."
Read more about insulated concrete form construction.