Controlling Commercial Construction Labor Costs with ICF
Fox Block insulated concrete form (ICF) is an all in one wall assembly that combines five steps into one quick, easy, and safe installation, which lessen commercial construction labor costs. Impressively, commercial building contractors that choose Fox blocks can safely construct a commercial building faster and with less labor than either concrete masonry (CMU) or wood-frame construction. Fox Block ICF walls also create energy-efficient, moisture-resistant, disaster-resistant, durable, and soundproof commercial buildings.
Commercial Construction Worker Shortages are Increasing Labor Costs
The 2018 fourth quarter commercial construction index (a survey of commercial contractors), published by the U.S. Gypsum (USG) Corporation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, found ongoing optimism in demand for new commercial construction.
However, rising labor costs due to a lack of qualified workers and increasing material costs continue to challenge commercial contractors. In fact, the Q4 2018 report marked seven straight quarters of labor shortages, with the greatest scarcities in skilled labor. Over half (58 percent) of the commercial builders surveyed reported a high level of difficulty finding skilled labor, particularly in the concrete, electrical, and masonry fields. Worker shortages are threatening to escalate labor costs and hinder commercial constructions in 2019.
Why are There Worker Shortages in the Construction Industry?
The reasons the commercial construction industry is finding it difficult to fill its labor force are attributed mostly to the industry not attracting millennials and more significantly, Trump’s immigration policies on undocumented immigrants. The Pew Research Center found that in 2016, unauthorized immigrants made up 13 percent of the construction workforce. Furthermore, in 2014, 31 percent of all drywallers, 29 percent of roofers, 26 percent of painters, and 25 percent of masons were working in the U.S. without legal authorization.
The 2018 fourth quarter commercial construction index further found that contractors believe that the skilled worker shortage is increasing labor costs, affecting productivity, schedule performance, and safety on the job site. Consequently, these builders and are searching for innovative solutions to commercial construction labor shortages.
How ICF Commercial Construction Reduces Labor Costs
Insulated concrete form (ICF) is gaining momentum in commercial construction because ICF lessens labor costs, improves comfort, and provides excellent energy efficiency. ICF construction also boosts safety ratings and sound acoustics over traditional building methods. Consequently, the global ICF market is forecasted to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.5% between 2017 and 2022.
Fox Blocks Construction Reduces Labor Costs over Wood-Frame and CMU Construction
Fox Block ICF construction is an ideal solution to rising commercial construction labor costs because Fox Block ICF needs less labor and takes less time to construct than either wood-frame construction or concrete masonry units (CMU) walls.
ICF lessens labor expenses, over wood frame labor expenses, by eliminating the need for:
- labor to install insulation for the foundation wall
- labor to install insulation on the interior of the envelope
- labor to frame exterior walls
- labor to finish framing the interior of the foundation wall
- labor to remove the concrete forms after pouring the foundation
- labor to apply the poly vapor barrier
There are several reasons ICF reduces labor expenses over CMU labor expenses:
- A CMU wall needs an application of insulation, which adds another trade to the job site and another day of expensive labor to the project.
- A CMU wall often needs the application of an air and moisture barrier, which adds another trade and more labor to the project.
- ICFs are lighter than CMUs, which quickens ICF building time over CMU.
Besides reducing construction labor costs, Fox Blocks provide many other benefits required for today’s modern commercial buildings.
- Fox Blocks, with steel reinforced concrete, are sever-wind-resistant and can withstand winds of over 200 MPH, and projectile debris traveling over 100 MPH.
- Fox Blocks achieve a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of four hours for the six-inch blocks, eight-inch forms and two hours for the four-inch forms.
- Fox Blocks create energy-efficient commercial buildings. Fox Blocks have an R-value of 23+ and exceed ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements
- The high thermal mass of Fox Blocks produces a high-performing, energy-efficient hotel. High thermal mass walls absorb and store heat energy, which stabilizes temperature shifts within a hotel by slowing the heat transfer rate
- Fox Blocks are durable control moisture intrusion because the blocks provide a perm rating of below 1.0.
Fox Blocks create good IEQ because they control moisture intrusion which stops the growth of unhealthy mold. In addition, Fox Blocks contain little to no VOC.
The Fox Block wall system is quick, safe, and fast to install because it is an all in one wall assembly that integrates five steps into one, including structure, air barrier, insulation, vapor retarder, and attachment. The all in one feature hastens project delivery time by eliminating the need to coordinate multiple trades while achieving all of the wall assembly's goals. Fox Blocks ICFs requires half the time and needs less labor to build than concrete masonry unit walls.