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History of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) work is a method of building construction that involves the use of foam insulation blocks that are stacked and held in place with steel or plastic ties to create a mold for poured concrete.


The history of ICF can be traced back to the 1940s when the first patent for foam concrete forms was granted in Switzerland.  ICF took off in Germany in the early 1950s and became a popular construction method in North America in the 1980s as a response to the energy crisis and increasing interest in energy-efficient building practices. In North America ICF now accounts for approximately 10% of the residential construction sector. 


ICF has been used in the UK Self / Custom build sector for a number of years due to its performance being far in excess of the required Building Regulations. The UK government has also supported the use of ICF through various initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable construction practices.


However, with the recent increases in building thermal efficiency performance now being required by Building Regulations and the Code for Sustainable Homes, ICF is now being recognised as a mainstream building system for both residential and commercial buildings.

The history of ICF in the UK can be traced back to the mid-20th century - check our blog for more information.

Here are a few notable examples of ICF construction projects in the UK

  1. The Building Research Establishment (BRE) Innovation Park in Watford, a research and demonstration center for sustainable construction technologies, including ICF.

  2. The Kings Cross Redevelopment, London, where a number of residential and commercial buildings were built using ICF.

  3. The Stroud Eco Village, a sustainable community in Gloucestershire built using a variety of sustainable construction methods, including ICF.

  4. The BREEAM-rated office building, Alpha Tower in Birmingham, which used ICF for its walls.

  5. The Wallich Residence in Cardiff, the tallest residential building in Wales, was built using ICF and has received recognition for its energy efficiency.

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