Combat Rising Construction Labor Costs with ICF

Combat Rising Construction Labor Costs with ICF 4

Fox Blocks insulated concrete form (ICF) construction reduces labor costs because Fox Blocks ICF is an all in one wall system that integrates five steps into one quick and easy installation. Therefore, builders can construct an ICF Mixed use, Multi-family commercial building faster and with less labor than either wood-frame or concrete masonry (CMU) construction. ICF walls also create moisture-resistant, disaster-resistant, durable, energy-efficient and quiet building-homes.

Construction Worker Shortage are Driving Labor Costs Up and Slowing Housing Starts


Since the housing bust of 2008, home construction recovery in the United States (U.S.) has been slow with fewer homes starts the past ten years than the historical norm. Blamed for the sluggish recovery are several factors: scarcity of home sites in high-demand areas, the rising cost of building materials, and a lack of construction labor.

The construction labor shortage is escalating labor costs and slowing the building market. In fact, in October 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 292,000 construction job openings, the most since the housing boom. Furthermore the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis of government data reported in August 2018 there were 298,000 unfilled construction sector jobs. Of concern, a recent NAHB survey found that 90 percent of single-family builders struggle to find rough carpenters.

The reasons the construction industry is finding it difficult to rebuild the construction labor force since the recession are attributed mainly to the industry not attracting millennials and also the immigration policies under the current administration. The latter is most significant since 25 percent of construction workers are immigrants; even higher in some regions of the U.S. like California (42 percent) and Texas (41 percent).

Concernedly, labor shortages are profoundly affecting regions in the U.S. recently impacted by devastating natural disasters and now requiring massive rebuilding efforts, like Texas and the Carolinas. The worker shortages in these areas are intensely lowering production volume and increasing the cost of labor to rebuild.

ICF Construction Reduces Labor Costs


ICF construction is gaining momentum because ICF offers reduced labor costs, improved comfort, and greater energy efficiency and safety ratings over traditional building methods. Notably, the global ICF market is predicted to attain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.5% between 2017 and 2022.

Currently, North America dominates the market for insulated concrete forms, followed by Europe. However, regions of South America and the Asia-Pacific are also expected to increase their ICF market share in the future.

How Fox Blocks ICF Construction Reduces Labor Costs

Fox Blocks ICF construction is an excellent solution to rising labor costs because Fox Blocks ICF requires less labor and takes less time to build than either CMU and wood-frame construction.

Fox Blocks ICF wall system is easy and fast to install because it is an all in one wall system that integrates five steps into one, including structure/concrete form, air barrier, insulation, vapor retarder, and furring for finish attachment. The all in one feature quicken project delivery by removing the need to coordinates multiple trades, while achieving all of the wall system’s goals.


Fox Blocks ICFs takes half the time and requires less labor to construct than concrete masonry unit walls.

  • A CMU wall requires an application of insulation. Applying insulation over the CMU wall adds another trade to the job site. The additional trade adds one more day of expensive labor to the project.
  • A CMU wall often requires the installation of an air and moisture barrier; further adding another trade and more labor to the project.
  • ICFs are lightweight which speeds construction time over CMU.

Fox Blocks ICF walls take less time and require less labor to construct than wood-frame walls. ICF reduces labor costs, over wood frame labor costs, by eliminating the need for:

  • the framing laborers for exterior walls
  • the insulation installation labor on the interior of the envelope
  • the labor for removal of concrete forms after pouring the foundation
  • the framing labor for finishing the interior of the foundation wall
  • the labor for insulation installation for the foundation wall
  • the labor for applying the poly vapor barrier

The lack of the younger workers entering the construction trades and recent immigration policies are contributing to the current construction labor shortage. The shortage is escalating labor costs and slowing the pace of construction, which is affecting the builder’s profits and driving up the cost of new home construction.


A solution to reducing labor costs and combating the ever-increasing labor shortages in the construction trades is the Fox Blocks ICF. Fox Blocks ICFs integrate five steps into one quick and easy installation; therefore, Fox Blocks ICFs multi-family buildings or homes are built faster and with less labor than either wood-frame or CMU construction.