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Insulating concrete formwork

Could this construction method be the right choice for your dream self build home?
The Red House is an architect-designed home built with Nudura ICF. The street-facing elevation features a mix of timber cladding and render, with rounded corners echoing those of a listed building opposite. The house is so well insulated that the occupants enjoyed zero energy costs in the first year

Intuitive, quick and weather-resistant, with impressive thermal performance and excellent durability, insulating concrete formwork (ICF) offers a host of benefits. Small wonder, then, that it continues to gain traction for one-off home building projects. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering ICF for your scheme.

How does ICF work?

This structural system is sometimes referred to as LEGO for adults. There are slight variations on the theme depending on the supplier you choose, but fundamentally building with ICF involves stacking a series of lightweight hollow blocks (usually of expanded polystyrene; EPS) with interlocking profiles to form your external walls. Steel reinforcement is inserted into the cavities, to the structural engineer’s design, and the formwork is then braced and aligned – ready to accept a pour of suitably-specified concrete.

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July 2019
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About Build It

Plan, design and build your dream home with practical advice and inspiration from Build It magazine. Highlights in this month's issue include: - Design Secrets to Win Over the Planners - Home Extension Costs - How to Find a Project with Renovation Potential - Building Contracts: Why You Need One - Buyer's Guide to Sliding Doors - Outdoor Living Ideas - Build It magazine's own Real Life Self Build ... and more!