Stay Up-to-Date on Insulated Concrete Forms with Fox Blocks

Fox Blocks at Federal Asset Management Policy Forum and Expo

| Benefits of ICFs | Building Tips Using ICFs | Fox Blocks ICF Events | Insulated Concrete Forms | October 25, 2016

IMG_6759Fox Blocks Vice President Mike Kennaw and East Coast Sales Manager Brian Medford participated in the 3rd Annual Federal Asset Management Policy Forum and Expo in the Washington, D.C. area the week of October 17, 2016.

The first keynote speaker was Norman Dong, Commissioner of the General Services Administration Public Building Services. Another speaker was Leantha Sumpter Department of Defense Deputy Director, Program Development and Implementation Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy. Also presenting was Mary Ruwwe, Facilities and Construction Federal Category Manager.

More than 30 other distinguished executives from public and private entities spoke on the subject of improved asset management for the U.S. Federal Government. Kennaw and Medford participated in the Risk and Review Work Group Panel that focused on the ways to reduce risks for the Federal Government. Also on the Panel was Keith Cunningham, Government Accountability Office, Assistant Director of Physical Infrastructure Team.

After a “big picture” overview of Risk and Review policy and recommended improvements to Risk Management, Kennaw and Medford offered specific ways to reduce risk with facility assets by increasing resiliency to blasts and natural disasters using Insulated Concrete Forms and advanced reinforcement methods.

Kennaw started by noting Fox Blocks’ recent investment in a Building Information Model initiative that makes construction information about resilient buildings available earlier in the planning process, making it available in design, construction and  throughout the project lifecycle.

Kennaw highlighted Fox Blocks’ involvement in BIMStorm, an online brainstorm using Building Information Models, as an indication of dedication to reduction of risk by making information securely available in all phases of a project.

Medford showed Fox Blocks’ long-history of involvement in Federal projects, showed blast testing that validates avoidance of bomb threats and listed many instances of ICF buildings surviving hurricanes, tornados, fire and storm surges.

Medford noted that the ability of ICF buildings to secure real property assets also helps protect personal property, IT and people from risks.

Fox Blocks “mini blocks” samples and product literature were also on display at the National Academies of Sciences historic facility where the Federal Facilities Council continued the activities of the Federal Asset Management Week, co-hosted by the Asset Leadership Network. A keynote speech was given at the historic facility by Admiral Thad Allen, USCG (ret.).

Fox Blocks involvement in BIMStorm was also noted at the National Academies of Science when Kimon Onuma, FAIA called for more availability of web-based information for owners from building product manufacturers and others.

At the National Academies of Sciences, Katherine Hammack, Department of Defense, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, noted that a Colorado base has built a Net Zero building that cost less and took less time to build than the same building previously built with traditional methods. Fox Blocks was not involved in that project, but has contributed to other, super insulated buildings at the same base in Colorado.

Finally, Kennaw was involved in a Legislative Outreach on Capitol Hill that started with a briefing in the Capitol Hill Club and including Kennaw meeting with the Legislative Director for U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford, from Omaha, Nebraska, the home town of Fox Blocks parent Company, Airlite, Plastics. Kennaw informed the Legislative Director, Chris Kelley, about the week-long series of asset management events calling for increased focus on use of the ISO 55000 series of asset management standards to help save Federal tax dollars.

Kennaw said, “It is a pleasure and an honor to be involved with raising the awareness of improved asset management for our Federal government. We look forward to an ongoing relationship with the many organizations working to bring improved effectiveness and efficiency to U.S. tax payers.”

Kennaw also spent time with the Asset Leadership Network in Legislative Outreach activities on Capitol Hill where findings of the week’s events were presented to Senior Legislative Staff of Senators and Representatives.

Do you have a High Performance Window Buck that will stand up to these tests?

| Benefits of ICFs | Fox Blocks in the Field | Insulated Concrete Forms | February 4, 2015

Building Envelope Protection = Property & Life Protection:

During a severe weather event, the most critical factor for increasing the chances of a building’s survival is protection of all the openings to the outside. Once the wind enters the structure, the pressure changes lead to disastrous results.

Impact testing simulates windborne debris striking a window during a hurricane. Within the laboratory setting, this is done by firing a 2×4 projectile at predetermined locations on the window and seeing if there is any penetration.

The cycling portion of the testing ensures that a window having withstood impact by the 2×4 can then stand up to the rapid increases and decreases in pressure within the building during a hurricane.

Fox Blocks ICF Featured on News Segment on Fire Resistant Homes

| Benefits of ICFs | June 23, 2014

ICF Construction for Fire Resistant Homes

Fox Blocks was recently contacted to supply some info for a quick story airing on Fox News, on fire resistant homes and ICFs. The Southwest has been increasingly ravaged by wildfires in recent years, so building a home or business to resist fire is becoming more common place. Fox Blocks have fire ratings of 4 hours and ICFs have been shown to resist fire to allow for crucial minutes for the fire department to arrive, or to allow more time to evacuate the premises. See the Fox News TV segment on ICF Construction featuring two Fox Block ICF Builders! Plus check out the videos below that for more ICF Vs. Fire stories.


More Stories on ICFs and Fire

1. Link to video of Colorado Wildfires and ICF Homeowner-  
2. ICF Home Saved Owners Life:

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White Paper: Effects of the Thermal Envelope on Home Energy Efficiency

| Benefits of ICFs | September 16, 2013

COLV-Fire-StationFox Blocks recently sponsored a white paper on for the effects of the thermal envelope on home energy efficiency. The thermal envelope is everything about a house that serves to shield the living space from the outdoors. In this white paper Fox Blocks explore the science behind creating a good thermal envelope with insulated concrete forms.

Get the white paper

Senate Proposes to Incorporate Energy Performance into the Mortgage Loan

| Benefits of ICFs | June 13, 2013

Democrats and Republicans came together recently to introduce the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings Act (HOMES Act) in Congress that would provide rebates up to $8000 to homeowners who invest in energy saving performance improvements to their homes. Rebates would be based on projected savings, which would be determined by an energy audit and paid directly to homeowners after quality assurance checks have been made.

Read the full article on RESNET.

Back to Basics: Advantages of Fox Blocks ICF Forms

| Benefits of ICFs | February 28, 2013

The advantages of Fox Blocks ICFs are several. Fox Blocks provide a clever design that has the good features of the tried and true early brands of ICFs, and then has incorporated significant improvements, which enhance the ease of use to the installer. This combined with our direct shipment method of distribution will deliver what could be the best ICF on the market at very competitive prices.

Significant Features Are:

  • Strength of forms:
    • Webs engineered to provide superior strength
    • Foam panels 2 5/8″ minimum thickness of EPS resulting in minimal deflection of EPS panels during concrete pouring
  • Robust corner forms:
    • Reinforced corner forms with significant areas provided for cladding exterior surface finishes
    • A hold in the 90-degree corner forms is designed for the insertion of a length of rebar or pipe to tie the corner together
    • The internal corner bracket (patent pending) connects the inside and outside EPS panels and thus improves both the strength of the corner form and safety during construction and placing of concrete in the Fox Blocks walls
  • Reversible interlock:
    • There is only one corner form as there is no need for left and right hand corner forms. This makes ordering and stocking easier and provides greater flexibility on the job site
    • Less job site waste as cut-offs can more readily be used elsewhere in the walls
  • Continuous web design to control settling:
    • The webs are engineered to rest one on top of the other (hard plastic to hard plastic) as the courses are placed one on top of the other. This makes achieving final elevations much easier than with other ICF systems, which do not have the webs in contact and where the forms compresses while the concrete is being placed.

The Fox Block Interlock

| Benefits of ICFs | December 17, 2012

2" Interlock

Shows the large 2” long projections and recesses and the full height 1 1/2” wide tie

The Old

For the past twenty+ years the interlock of  most ICF’s in the industry have been designed to be within 1/2” to 1” of the desired building dimension. Most contractors have been trained that it is acceptable to be this far off the desired dimension.

Perfectly linked up Interlock Seems

Here is a job, post concrete, that has been constructed exactly to the building dimension by properly stacking seams.

The New

When the Fox Blocks interlock was designed our Engineering staff made the choice not to focus on being within 1/2” to 1” from the building dimension but to give the strongest interlock possible. To do this they turned the projections and recesses of the interlock parallel to the block itself and for simplicity/strength they made them 1” wide and 2” long. We feel you should be square and exactly on the building dimension with all walls and for this reason recommend stacking seams when needed.

Benefits of the Large Interlock:

  • Minimized movement during concrete placement
  • No adhesive required due to tightness of interlock
  • Eliminates the need for truss wire within the wall
  • The full height ties are always on top or 4” apart of each other

Bottom Line: Stop letting 20 year old thinking slow you down!

Contractors Can Use Traditional Building Measurements with ICF Studs when They Choose Fox Blocks

| Benefits of ICFs | October 1, 2012

You are a sheetrock, residential wood frame, commercial steel stud or siding contractor that has been trained, and are efficient with, a continuous 1 1/2” wide attachment surface @ 16” on center. Our team at Fox Blocks agrees with this tradition and have created our ICF with the same continuous 1 1/2” wide attachment surface but increased it to 8” on center. Just think, when attaching sheet rock or siding to Fox Blocks Insulated Concrete Forms, you can use the same training you understand and have used in the past.

Fox Blocks Stud Compared to Standard Wood Stud

Fox Blocks Stud Compared to Standard Wood Stud

Fox Blocks Studs

  • Recycled polypropelyne
  • LEED credits*
  • 120 lbs+ pullout/shear strength with screws**
  • Use screws that are the thickness of material plus 1 1/8” + in length.
  • If the screws that you are using do not hold try the next size longer. The tip of the screw must pass completly through the tie to achieve full strength.


Wood Stud Today

Standard Wood Stud Today

Wood Studs today

  • Much larger grain than 15 years ago
  • More knots and checks than 15 years ago
  • Reject screws more than 15 years ago
  • Prone to movement through seasons
  • Prone to rot when sealed with moisture
  • Prone to sheetrock / drywall repairs
  • Food for insects


Actual Fox Block Wall

Actual Fox Block Wall Showing Studs Clearly Defined

Actual Fox Blocks Wall

  • Studs clearly marked @ 8” o/c
  • Studs are in contact with each other verticaly
  • Studs burried into foam 5/8” for stucco application and thermal performance

Fox Blocks ICF’s

  • A full 1 1/2” wide
  • 8” o/c to achieve industry standard 16” o/c’s
  • No gap every 16” vertically due to ties touching
  • Minimal settling due to ties touching
  • Not effected by moisture, will not rot
  • Will not move through seasons
  • Eliminates most sheetrock / drywall repairs
  • No nutrients for insects
Other ICF Blocks Can Be Clunky

Other ICF Blocks are Not as User-Friendly as Fox Blocks

Other ICF’s

  • As narrow as 1” wide
  • As much as 1 3/4” gap every 16” vertically due to ties not touching
  • Settling due to ties not touching

Build to Resist Tornadoes: Storm Safe ICF Structures

| Benefits of ICFs | May 19, 2011

Fox Blocks ICF wishes to extend condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones from the storms over the past few days. We have all seen the reports and it is just tragic.

More than 300 lives have been lost and many more injured. Property damage was extensive where ever the 148 tornadoes touched down. This year’s storm season is anticipated to be severe, worse than usual, and it has only started.

But this loss of life, injury and property damage does not have to be a normal experience America must just accept. Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) wall technology is a well known cost effective building system which due to its inherent features of the strength of its reinforced concrete core, and weight / high mass, resists the forces of nature much better that typical frame walls when in the path of a tornado.

Research by Texas Tech Wind Science and Engineering Research Center has demonstrated that ICF walls better protect occupants of houses from windblown debris, than frame walls. Being hit by windblown debris is the most common cause of injury during tornadoes.

FEMA has published documentation on how to build storm shelters using ICF walls. Take that a step further and make your next house a whole house storm shelter!

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has reports documenting the abilities of concrete walls to resist the forces of calamitous storms. So, this loss of life, injury and property damage is something we can protect against. So why not just do it? It requires change and many people are reluctant to change. But we have made similar changes in the past.

Historically, mankind has had to deal with the risk of fire in towns and cities. At first it was just accepted as a risk of urban living. But we learned to control the risk by having fire departments and a system of fire hydrants throughout cities.

America has a similar opportunity to build to resist tornados. Build with Fox Blocks ICF walls. It may cost a little more up front but you will sleep at night knowing you have a solid defense for you and your family. As well you will enjoy the other well known benefits of Fox Blocks ICF walls which include: reduced energy costs, a quiet home, fire resistant construction, and a more durable structure. How could you accept anything less for your family?

Consider the alternatives and build, or re-build, with Fox Blocks ICF walls.

Industry Standard ICF’s: Feedback from Contractors

| Benefits of ICFs | May 19, 2011

January through April is when we plant our seeds for the year by displaying our product for the market in trade shows. I’ve participated in these trade shows for 17 years now in the ICF industry and it has always been the same old thing, but this year was notably different. Coast to coast we witnessed an interesting shift. Each show we were in, we listened to the contractors to understand what they needed. These same contractors have all used multiple brands of ICF’s and settled on the one they felt was the best. It is very evident that the three brands most commonly named are considered the best in the industry. Not surprising is the fact that all of these were 4’ long and had ties at 8” on center, which has become the industry standard.

This team I have joined has been in the industry long enough (add us up and we have over 200 years experience!) that a lot of the contractors know us. Out of courtesy, these contractors have been stopping at our booths to say hi and end up asking why we think we are better. We would just smile and without really comparing, just list the facts: all of our corners have two ties on the short end to eliminate rotation during concrete placement, our blocks are reversible which allows for one corner does all, our ties are a full 1 ½” wide, same as wood or metal studs (industry standard), and they touch each other vertically allowing attachment at any point in the wall, etc.

In other words we just plain had fun as the contractors would finish our sentences and then call other contractors into our booth to explain the benefits. I have never had a year as fun as I’m having right now and to be honest we are just getting going. It is exciting for a company that listens to the contractor again. Our R & D list is getting as long as it was in the old Blue Maxx era and I can’t wait to share what’s on it. I have also been on many installs this year and have seen the maturity in this growing ICF industry.

The top three ICF’s have created a strong industry that has withstood several recessions and yet continues to grow. Whatever brand of ICF you are using; believe in it, install it with excellence and the jobs will continue to come to you.