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A very superior form of construction. It is not cheap and people do not use it because of initial cost.

The application depends on the type of structure. If you have interior walls or little need for insulation, the value decreases. Not really viable for basements where high insulation is not required and you must be able to waterproof it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks

I've been learning about a brand new product and have taken a job with a company manufacturing it but i need professional opinions from people like yourself on how to approach a builder about the product. also I cant sell a product unless I feel like it is well worth it.

I'm not trying to make a sale here or anything i just need an opinion about what I'm selling.

what are the ICF downfalls?
 

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Higher initial cost may be a downfall to some people. Higher value, insulation, comfort and security are the offsetting benefits. They can also be difficult to add on to.

If you are going to be selling ICFs, one downfall is that people think it is just a simple Lego job of stacking and dumping some concrete. The construction problems created by amateurs can give people a poor opinion of the product.

There is also a very wide range of technical knowledge, practical knowledge and technical support from one ICF suplier to another. Usually, the cheaper products attract more unknowing shoppers that can have big problems.

A builder will probably offer it as a type of construction and not specialize on it since builders always want to be able to deal with the more price-conscious buyers that may not be able to get into a better home even if it is worth more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
understood

when you say initial cost are you meang total construction cost?

this product seems to have all the kinks worked out. or so they say. the cost of the block is higher but the cost of labor is between 12 and 66 cent a sq ft. which is what is supposed to bring cost down below conventional building.

I've already had the lego response from a few people so i know exactly what you mean.

as far as techical knowledge goes they say they will train on how to build with it at no cost.

is there an average cost per sq ft that a house cost?
how does what I've told you compare?

p.s. I'm trying to be careful not to use the name of the product out of fear of being considered a spammer or advertiser.

thanks again
 

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We did a lot of research into ICF's here but it was barely affordable. Then oil and anything petrolium based started going up and it was quickly out of reach. For example Framing 3.00 per sq ft. SIP pannels 10.00 per sq. ft. ICF starting at 15.00 sq ft and going up. I quit following prices in Sept 07 when we fund a good SIP panel system. ICF's ans SIP's are very attractive to DIY's because of the time and labor savings. Contractors don't like change, good luck in your new career.
 

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I'm totally sold on ICF! I choose to look at the big picture and long term investment, but unfortunately most of the end users only want to consider initial cost. I do decorative concrete and have a construction background. I got certified to build ICF and still want to, but I just didn't have the time to get out there and sell it. I really expected folks to see it as I did and when that was not the case I had to put it to the back burner.:rolleyes:
 

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I was a custom home builder and started using ICF's back in '99, by the end of 2000 I was no longer a custom home builder and strictly an ICF guy full time since there was such a demand and very little people actually doing the installs regularly.

The manufacturer and my distributors knew I would just do the ICF portion of a project and continually to this day recommend me for all job leads they get within 300 miles of my location. ICF's inital costs are higher then most in alot of areas...except mine for some reason (assume insurance costs and workers comp costs, thats another topic, but if you are doing research let me know I can elaborate)

One issue that makes ICF cost more is other trades, i.e. subs get scared of a new product, hear rumors and charge more. Framers lose work to me, I do the exterior and some interior bearing walls, reducing the amount of work they get on the project and charge a premium to do roof only and interior non load bearing walls.

Most of my projects are referals, I don't have to sell the concept, I have to sell my services. When selling the concept however I let people know I have a great wall system but it is redundant if you don't insulate the roof properly or use cheap windows, etc. Kinda like putting Ketchup on Prime Rib. So, does it cost more, yes, if you do it right.

Educating engineers is another story, ICF's have horizontal bars at 18 or 16" o.c. I can't tell you how many plans I get that show ICF with bars on 12" o.c. Do an RFI and somedays it's like pulling teeth.

By the way, I am in California and believe it or not with the amount of shear required on conventional frame out here I am usually faster then a framing crew. I bid with a schedule and people are impressed that we come in on a shorter time frame then the framing crews...plus with less people on the crew. Nailing plywood @ 2 1/2 and 12 and up takes a lot of time.
 

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but the cost of labor is between 12 and 66 cent a sq ft. which is what is supposed to bring cost down below conventional building.
This is a problem in our areas....home show contacts with ICF suppliers result with potential clients thinking they will pay the numbers quoted above, and that is a sure fire way to loose money or end up with a poor quality job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
labor

the reason the labor is qouted so low is the panels are 16 sqft and already come attatched they pretty much just need to be stacked, braced and poured. 12 cent is also having a building like wal-mart in mind where its mainly straight runs and very little cuts. is that where the issue comes in?

and i apoligize for the ignorance here but what is o.c.?
 

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Adam -

The term o.c. refers to the on center distance for the spacing of rebars.

Many engineers have the habit of using 12" and then sizing the bar for that spacing.

In an ICF system, the most practical spacing may be something different and will depend on the spacing of the plastic ties that provide horizontal rebar support. If does not affect the total weight of steel, but the size and spacing for good construction.

Vertical should not be a problem.

If you are selling a one piece a form with foam connecting ties, you have other problems.
 

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I am a dealer/installer for one of the better brands. Everything said above is accurate. Chris Johnson hits all the big issues. In my region, only the very high end market will consider the ICF system. Middle of the road customers just will not overlook the initial expense. In areas where green building is more prevalent, I suspect you might find more success with the product. Also to consider is that it is a harder sell in moderate climates or non coastal areas. The big advantages of strength and R-value are not a big deal to people inland or without temperature extremes.

In my case, it is the system I want in my personal home, but not the one I can afford to use in my resale homes.

Tom
 

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the reason the labor is qouted so low is the panels are 16 sqft and already come attatched they pretty much just need to be stacked, braced and poured. 12 cent is also having a building like wal-mart in mind where its mainly straight runs and very little cuts. is that where the issue comes in?
The blocks I use are 5 sq/ft, and require handling, setting steel, bracing, blocking, bucks,...and so on. Think about what that price represents. Lets say for the sake of argument, I build a 2000 sq/ft home, 8 foot walls, and do the math, disregarding openings. There may be 1500 sq/ft of walls @ .12 cents? If someone actually asked me to do a job for that, I would not even bother to laugh. :w00t:
 

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No kidding....my labor is way higher then .12 a sq/ft by the block. That is so insane....not to mention the investment we have in bracing, scaffolding...plus the experience to do this work. I am not in this for the practice.

FWIW, I quote my labor on ICF's by the sq/ft of the home, total footprint, not just living spaces. To be specific, it can be done profitably here for a little more then the rate for stick framing.
 

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No kidding....my labor is way higher then .12 a sq/ft by the block. That is so insane....not to mention the investment we have in bracing, scaffolding...plus the experience to do this work. I am not in this for the practice.

FWIW, I quote my labor on ICF's by the sq/ft of the home, total footprint, not just living spaces. To be specific, it can be done profitably here for a little more then the rate for stick framing.

I charge what the market will bear, I charge by the sq.ft. of wall space. I do not allow for any openings in my takeoffs, this makes up for the buck material, stirups, additional bracing, etc.

Round walls and gables are 2x the regular wall space

And at the end of the day I make a few shackles....

@ $ .12 a ft. I couldn't afford macaroni and cheese :blink:
 

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Sorry fellas, but I wouldn't use ICF's if they were given to me. I had the unfortunate luck of "landing" two ICF homes at once. While under construction we had numerous calls from every type of weird or goofy person looking to have one built and they happened to see ours going up. We took deposits from two more people right away. Before digging I gave both back their deposits. One guy threatened to sue for breach of contract so I gave him an extra 5K just so I could walk. You have to listen to that fricken air exchanger running all time. The plywood on the walls for the cabinets, you can't hang hardi off of the plastic or steel tabs. Reframing a window or door opening is a whole new experience. Before you ask, it was Poly Steel. The floor joist hanger system, wavy walls, etc. It makes me sick just to think about it. 2x6 walls, good insulation and the best windows money can buy will do just as good.
 

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Custom Builder...

You had the wrong crew building your ICF homes...or bad support from the manufacturer...or a combination of both

First off it is a learning curve and you can't learn everything on just two homes, it takes several to get the kinks out of the system, your system and once you get used to it, it works and it works well.

Air exchanger does not need to run all the time, program it or use a humidistat, etc.

Siding can be applied to the plastic webs with the proper fasteners, again a learning curve

Window and door openings have many options on the market for ICF's, again a learning curve, find the one you are comfortable with that works for you and requires the least amount of work/waste in your own opinion.

There are 4 or 5 different ways to hang floor systems, again learning curve, most times I use the old anchor bolts and hang the rim board prior to pouring concrete

Wavy walls, see rim board above...that's one method to keep the walls straight, use electricians unistrut on the outside prior to pour or drywall channel on the top.

2x6 walls cannot match the strength and STC ratings of concrete, define good insulation, I have spray foam guys tell me they can't touch my thermal mass quality with spraying a 2x6 or the cost factor of 6" of foam along with framing costs.

Sounds like the Polysteel rep wasn't there to help or support you.
 

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Sorry fellas, but I wouldn't use ICF's if they were given to me. It makes me sick just to think about it. 2x6 walls, good insulation and the best windows money can buy will do just as good.
You show me where this is possible....if you don't understand what you are working with, it could cause problems. Wavy walls?

This is why construction technology has problems advancing. And when the public hears these comments, it doesn't do anyone any good.
 
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