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The foundation of every house is essential in the transfer of the structural load of the building to the ground.  The foundation will ensure that it will load the bearing surface at a uniform rate so as to prevent unequal settlement, to prevent the lateral movement of the supporting material and to secure a level and firm bed for building operations. This will increase the stability of the structure as a whole.

When determining the best foundation system to use for your home, it is critical to take into consideration the type and bearing capacity of the soil it is to be built on, settling, water and frost. Simply put, the foundation is what supports everything. So getting the foundation right will go a long way toward having a sound and stable home for many years.

ICF Foundation: Concrete foundations were historically constructed by pouring concrete into temporary forms, which are removed when the concrete is cured. When built with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), foundation forms remain in place and provide insulation on each side of the concrete with integrated framing incorporated within the form itself. The combination of mass and thermal insulation also adds a vapour and air barrier into the wall. An effective ICF form provides 5 components of a typical wall; structure, insulation, framing, vapor and air barriers. ICFs are green building certified, help minimise waste and are environment friendly.

Why build an ICF foundation?

  • Your basement will feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • You will have the space available for expanding without the cost of adding more structure.
  • Your outside basement walls will be ready for drywall. No framing, insulation or vapor barrier needed
  • One trade does it all. No bricklayers, water proofers, farmers or insulation companies.
  • It can be done under adverse weather conditions.Concrete can be poured below freezing temperatures as it cures between two pieces of insulation and does not freeze.
  • Much faster time of construction. In most of the cases analyzed, ICF saved over 50% of the time needed to achieve the same result.

ICF Foundation for Homes on a sloped grade with a walkout design:

Some house sites are located on a sloped grade that lends themselves to walkout designs. ICF is a very effective forming material in this application.

Traditional Foundation for a sloped grade: In a traditional approach you would have to pour a foundation (stepped), then come back and stick frame all the way up to the sill height. You would have to insulate your knee walls, frame interior walls, you could have stud walls and concrete walls with different thicknesses that you would have to blend, you would very likely have wood framing that is close to finish grade and would have to “step” your finish grade up and down to avoid burying the wood.  And after all of this, you would still have to insulate the concrete portion to at least R-15 to meet the minimum energy code requirement, R-20 if you insulate entirely on the interior.  Now that’s a lot of work! If you take the time to put an honest value on all the tasks just referenced, what’s the scarcest commodity?  Labor and you would have used a bunch of it.

ICF Foundation/Basement for a sloped grade: Consider an Amvic Plus ICF form for your foundation, poured right up to the sill height. You would then be able to start your floor frame on top of the wall elevation. It’s so simple; Build your door and window bucks to accommodate the brand of your choice and build them into the wall as you come up from the footing. The Amvic Plus forms are so robust that you can pour 10′, 12’or 14′ walls with frost walls included. You can then proceed to screw drywall to your interior, place doors, windows, siding on your exterior. The ICF form ensures that your walls are one consistent thickness. You can then backfill with a consistent slope from front to back; no retaining walls or boulders required to accommodate stick framed knee walls.  There is no wood to close to grade and subject to decay and your entire foundation would be insulated and to an R-30 rating! Thus your customer gets a better value, and you as a contractor, if you put your estimator hat on and assess your costs, you would end up saving a lot on labor and material expenses and definitely would have sped up your construction schedule.  

In essense, using ICF for your home foundation and basement not only gives you the most superior structual strength and insulation but makes very good construction and business sense.


Sustainable Development requires a balance to be maintained between development and the environment. It promotes inter-generational equity, i.e. better quality of life for present and future generations. Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) do exactly just that!

ICF building structures are sustainable / green buildings that qualify for LEED certifications. They allow architects, engineers and designers to create buildings that uses fewer natural resources, are more efficient, sustainable and have a lasting value.

Recycles Raw Materials:

ICFs are hollow, lightweight forms manufactured using high density expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels which are connected by uniquely designed, 100 percent recycled polypropylene webs, making the blocks 60 percent recycled material by total weight.

During construction, the forms are stacked, braced then filled with concrete, which is manufactured with recycled material (slag) and the end product can also be recycled creating a cradle to grave type product. The steel reinforcement that is used in the ICF forms is also made from 99 percent recycled material making the overall use of insulated concrete forms a highly sustainable process.

Reduces Waste and Emissions:

ICFs reduce waste at the construction sites, any waste produced is 100 percent recyclable. They use fewer natural resources, such as gas, electricity and wood. Reducing waste is also an important factor for green building construction; Insulated Concrete Forms can generate as little as 1 percent construction waste. This greatly reduces land filling which produces methane emissions. Furthermore, ICF is manufactured without the use of any CFCs, HCFCs or chemicals. ICF construction is environment and eco-friendly and helps conserve trees too.

Energy Efficient:

ICFs offer a “5 in 1” solution that provides structural strength, insulation, vapor barrier, sound barrier and attachments for sheet rock and exterior finishes in one easy step. ICFs produce high performance buildings that are designed and constructed to minimize maintenance and repair, offer low energy consumption reducing operating costs and has the ability to continue functioning in adverse situations.

Safe and Resilient Structures:

ICFs are durable, resilient and innovative. They offer protection from fires, earthquakes, severe storms, tornados and flooding. Government led public / private programs and National Building Codes are supporting and recognizing disaster resilient building design and continuous thermal insulation which have changed from traditional construction methodologies to providing green buildings with measurable results.

ICF construction results in durable, resilient structures that are environmentally friendly and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle; from the planning, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition phase. Green building ICFs construction contributes strongly to building safer communities through sustainable construction and providing a healthier way of life for years to come.

17 South Apt Building

Building Constructed with Energy-Efficient, Cost-Saving Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)

Charleston, SC, USA – Earlier today, representatives from EYC Companies, Amvic Building System, and Build With Strength, a coalition of engineers, architects, fire service professionals and industry experts gathered for a multi-family executive roundtable and site tour event of 17 South, a 220-unit apartment complex under construction in Charleston, South Carolina that utilizes the latest innovations in concrete construction.

Built with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) and concrete, 17 South 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.

17 South Apt Complex

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 in a video released in August. “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”.

17 South Apt building 2

Wednesday’s roundtable and tour was 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”.


Innovative Custom Homes

“The Toronto” photo courtesy of Innovative Custom Homes – Sky Mesa Division, Meridian Idaho

May 1st 2017, Meridian Idaho

Local Homebuilder – Innovative Custom Homes has taken innovation to the next level. With 38 unique home builders featured in the 2017 Boise Parade of Homes, Innovative Custom Homes has changed the way of building better homes. Female owner Heather Echevarria chose to build this particular masterpiece using Amvic’s Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). This construction method will give the homeowner a healthier, improved way of living. ICFs are sustainable, durable, resilient and innovative. They provide improved energy efficiency, lower maintenance and operating costs and better indoor air quality. This ICF parade home is able to withstand severe weather events which is an additional benefit to the homeowner since ICFs are fire, wind, impact and seismic resistant, providing a safer home that lasts. The home has achieved a HERS Rating of 42, the lowest that this certified energy rater has done and the lowest ever achieved in the Parade of Homes. The homeowner of this particular home can also enjoy peace and quiet since ICFs offer sound attenuation. They also provide a stable temperature through all levels of the home due to the tight building envelope which eliminate air leakage and temperature fluctuations.

Another unique feature of this home with regards to ICFs is that Amvic’s Insulated concrete forms are proudly Greenguard Gold certified which means that they have met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) offering a sustainable lifestyle.
The Parade Home is also designed to please. There is approximately 2900 sq.ft of living space, 3 bedrooms with an optional space that can be used as a 4th bedroom/office/in-law suite with its own entrance. It includes 3.5 bathrooms, and a large kitchen that is open to the great room and dining area. Nestled in Meridian, Idaho, the Parade of Homes is currently open for viewing Monday to Thursday from 5pm to 8pm and Friday to Sunday 12pm to 8pm; ending May 14th.

For more information visit: http://paradeofhomes.visualwebb0.com/
Innovative Custom Homes: http://innovativehomesboise.com/




The National Association of Home Builders reported that complete home panelization is the fastest growing segment of residential new construction.

Panelized construction is the improvement of traditional construction by combining the knowledge of “stick frame” construction and bringing it into a controlled, efficient manufacturing environment using advanced technology and quality materials. With panelization, the wall assembly is built in a climate controlled, energy efficient location with the use of framing tables and machinery. The panels are designed with computer software to ensure accuracy and efficiency.

The major benefits of panelized construction for the builder is that it reduces on site labour, reduces waste, reduces WSIB costs and the home is built accurately every time. Moreover, the panels are built in a controlled environment which reduces weather related delays, it is 37% + faster than traditional stick frame construction and overall produces a superior quality finished product. Because it is a faster process of construction, the builder can offer a more reliable completion and move in date. This is also a great benefit for the homeowner.

Homeowners also incur additional benefits from having a home that is built using panelization. Panelized construction reduces warping, shrinkage and squeakiness in floors, provides a better fit and finish, and provides confidence to the homeowner that the home was built with accuracy. Another advantage of paneling is the ability to install continuous exterior insulation during the process by using the SilveRboard Graphite by Amvic; a higher performing insulation for exterior wall assemblies. When combined with paneling, the SilveRboard Graphite offers additional benefits to homeowners by providing better temperature stability throughout multiple levels of the home, increases comfort, reduces energy costs, reduces external costs, and overall provides a better insulated home.

More and more homebuilders have turned to paneling as a solution to preserve accuracy and deliver quality. The addition of SilveRboard Graphite insulation panels means that the carbon embedded beads offer exceptional long term R value retention and performance. The film on the SilveRboard Graphite also provides engineered water vapour permeance and air barrier properties that eliminate the need for additional weather rated barriers such as house wraps. Another great benefit is that due to its flexural strength, the SilveRboard Graphite panel is suitable for any house design including radius walls.

SilveRboard Graphite insulation along with panelized construction methods have changed the way construction is performed. This highly effective combination provides the most energy efficient, sustainable, and cost effective solution for home builders and homeowners today.

The ICF expo is the first exposition and conference focusing exclusively on Insulated Concrete Forms. Taken place at the Metro Research Centre in Delta, British Columbia on March 9th, the ICF expo emphasized the importance of thermal performance in all construction assemblies. The exposition consisted of two parts, ICF wall and floor form manufacturers and accessory products, and a conference with exceptional speakers from across Canada. Some topics included National Building Codes, Building envelope design, Architect acceptance and Green Construction. The ICF Expo is not only the world’s first expo focused on ICF, but also consists of an educational program that aligns with the growing ICF industry. The ICF Expo is one of many tradeshows that Amvic attends to showcase their ICF and ICF 3.30 plus block. Along with other insulation products, Amvic is always looking for ways to align with the growing industry proving energy efficient and sustainable construction methods.

For more information, visit amvicsystem.com.