For more than two decades, concrete industry promoters have been predicting the market potential of insulating concrete forms (ICF) for residential and commercial structures. For several years, the ICF share of the residential market grew very rapidly, perhaps too rapidly, as form manufacturing capacity quickly exceeded market demand.
Many form manufacturers entered the industry unaware of the concrete construction market’s cyclical nature. So when the housing market shrank, their commitment to North American marketing efforts all but stopped. With the dissolution of the Insulating Concrete Form Association several years ago, there has been little unified ICF marketing effort.
Today there is a renewed interest in ICFs by owners of facilities and homes. Potential buyers recognize the benefits of resiliency ICF systems bring to their structures. Spurred by architects’ interest in resiliency, ICF systems are being rediscovered.
To help transform this interest into market share, four leading ICF manufacturers have formed a new industry association to reinvigorate ICF construction marketing. The mission of the Council of ICF Industries (CICFI) is to promote and enhance the social, environmental, and economic value of ICFs in North America.
CICFI organized in summer 2014. CICFI Chairman Andy Lennox believes the association was long overdue. “Our industry has a great story to tell and we look forward to representing and growing the ICF industry in an energetic and professional manner,” he says. In the last six months, CICFI members have identified key industry priorities, developed action plans, and implemented programs.
Their first action plan was completed with the launch of their website: www.cicfi.org went live in December. This new website will serve as the primary interface for the North American ICF industry. It is a robust source of industry knowledge. Visitors will find information on the benefits of ICF construction, how to design, and how to build.
The second CICFI action plan was outreach. CICFI has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Portland Cement Association to promote ICF construction for high-wind safe rooms. FEMA is publishing new technical guidelines for residential safe room construction that include ICFs. Members will participate in the Tornado Safe Room Wind Showcase and Expand Your Business with Safe Room Construction Luncheon & Forum at the World of Concrete.
Net-Zero in Canada
And if this isn’t enough for a new organization, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has selected the CICFI to be a founding member of its Net Zero Energy Housing Council. “ICFs will be represented at the table as the CHBA develops its recommendations for Best Practices for constructing net-zero homes in Canada,” says Lennox.
CICFI also plans to become more involved in training. “In the near future, we’ll be announcing additional programs we’ll be undertaking to promote the ICF industry,” Lennox adds.
CICFI founding members include Nudura Corp., Logix Insulated Concrete Forms Ltd., Quad-Lock Building Systems Ltd., and Superform Products Ltd. The current CICFI board members are Andy Lennox, vice president, marketing, of Logix, Chairman; Murray Snider, president and CEO of Nudura, vice chairman; Josh Plamondon, general manager of Quad-Lock Building Systems; and Max Issac, director of sales and technical support for Superform. Support for the new association has been provided by the staff of the Ready Mixed Concrete Association of Ontario.
While these manufacturers cumulatively represent most ICF products manufactured in North America, CICFI invites other ICF manufacturers to join. For more information visit, www.cicfi.org.