How Architects Can Sell Clients on ICF Construction


During the design phase of your next project, commercial or residential, your client will have a lot of questions, including what materials are best to use on their building. While ICF is gaining popularity, they’ll likely still have some questions, such as:

  • What are the benefits of ICF?
  • What does ICF construction cost?
  • What is ICF’s construction ROI?

Utilizing ICF for residential projects is an amazing way to create strong and safe homes while utilizing ICF for commercial projects is an easy way to hit deadlines earlier with lower costs. Want to know how to sell your clients on ICF construction? Keep reading to receive expert knowledge on all the benefits and the best way to communicate them.


Benefits of ICF

Lower Labor and Material Costs

ICF construction offers an ideal solution to rising home and commercial construction labor costs. ICF is fast and easy to install since it combines five steps into one: insulation, structure, air barrier, vapor retarder and attachment.

ICF completely eliminates the need for specialized labor to install insulation for the foundation wall, insulation on the interior of the envelope, frame exterior walls, finish framing the interior of the foundation wall, remove the concrete forms after pouring the foundation, and apply the poly vapor barrier. That’s a lot of labor costs you can save on with just one material switch.

Material costs are also stable compared to other building materials. You can estimate a building project’s budget and costs more accurately and protect your net profits.

Disaster Resistant

Buildings made with Fox Blocks ICFs can protect the structure and its occupants from any of nature’s destructive forces: wind, fire and earthquakes. With steel-reinforced concrete, ICF walls create a continuous load path that holds the roof, walls, floors and foundation together during any unsettling event.

ICF-utilized buildings can:

Low Maintenance

ICF blocks are moisture- and pest-resistant, creating incredibly durable homes that require less maintenance and reduce long-term repair costs.

ICF buildings have a perm rating less than 1.0, controlling moisture accumulation in the wall’s interior, which stops the creation of mold and mildew that would normally degrade a building’s integrity and lead to expensive repairs. ICF blocks also lack organic materials, a termite’s favorite bite to eat, making them resilient against pest destruction.

Design Flexibility

Many homeowners and commercial clients want a building material that doesn’t limit them in creating buildings with unique styles, custom angles, curved walls, cathedral ceilings and long ceiling spans. That’s no problem with ICF. ICF offers strength, flexibility and a less complicated solution to custom building construction.

Just check out this custom home in the Chesapeake Bay, built for owners looking for an affordable, aesthetically pleasing custom home that was energy efficient.

Energy Efficient and Sustainable

ICF walls for commercial developments are energy-efficient with continuous insulation R-values of 23+, which saves money on monthly utility bills for the entire life of the building. The high thermal mass of Fox Blocks produces a high-performing, energy-efficient building. High thermal mass walls absorb and store heat energy, stabilizing temperature shifts within a hotel by slowing the heat transfer rate.

Fox Blocks are environmentally friendly because they contain a minimum of 40 percent recycled content by weight. Fox Blocks reduces any need for additional materials required to create a high-performance conventional wall assembly.

Check out how Fox Blocks ICF was able to help this elementary school be one of four schools to receive a zero energy certification nationwide.

Third-Party Industry Advocate Approved

It is incredibly important to have approval and collaboration with third party industry advocates like ASHRAE, NRMCA BWS and ICFMA. Because many of their standards are exclusive and distinctive, it is imperative that clients keep up to date on regulations surrounding different manufacturers and suppliers.

Understanding the consequences and dynamics behind industry standards will help your clients better target their customers and promote safety and security. Third-party industry standards are created in order to establish a benchmark for performance criteria to guide the industry and for methods of testing.

And then there are the innovations that blow right past incremental improvements and code compliance, setting a new standard for safe, energy-efficient construction. Fox Block’s ICFs are a great example of that type of giant leap-forward innovation. ICFs not only meet the standards for IBC compliance, but they blow them out of the water.

A list of Fox Blocks compliance can be found here.


How to Communicate the Benefits of ICF to Your Clients

Residential Construction

When working directly with homeowners, you can communicate straight to them, but if you are working with a builder, it’s crucial to help the builder understand the benefits, so they can communicate effectively to potential homeowners when discussing ICF as a building material option. Make sure that builders understand that ICF homes help them maintain their profits because of ICF’s stable pricing and quick construction compared to above and below grade conventional construction.

ICF houses benefit homeowners immensely in the long run and help them protect what is one of the largest investments they will make. It creates an energy-efficient, disaster-resistant home with no VOC concerns. Fox Blocks ICF Blocks are a win-win for everyone involved.

Commercial Construction

Building commercial developments with ICF construction, like Fox Blocks, creates structures that are disaster-resistant, energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly, quiet and durable. ICF is quick and easy to install, which saves developers and contractors time and money, expediting overall completion timeframes by weeks or months over conventional construction.

Fox Blocks ICFs provide architects the design flexibility to create code-compliant, energy-efficient and disaster-resistant buildings with excellent IEQ. Fox Blocks ICFs meet the demands and concerns of many of today's contractors and developers, including a solution to labor shortages.

Whether your client is looking to build residential homes, multi-family complexes, theatres, retail stores, schools, townhomes, fire stations, warehouses, parking garages, hotels, studios, banks, military bases, care facilities, hospitals, churches or more, ICF construction is the way to go.

Want to sell them on successful projects? Check out some of Fox Block’s work here.

Clearly communicating the benefits above in utilizing ICF to your client is a fail-safe way to sell them on the fastest growing construction technique on the market. Want to learn more about ICF? Coming soon, there will be a virtual tradeshow for various commercial sectors. In the meantime, learn more about Fox Block’s ICF product offerings or contact us today.