How ICF Construction Lowers Capital and Yearly Expenses and Improves Resale Value
In 2020, insulated concrete form (ICF) construction can lower capital costs, substantially reduce annual expenses, and ultimately improve a building or home’s resale value. For too long, the building industry has avoided ICF because of the misconception that it costs more than high-performance wood-framed construction.
Please read more to learn how Fox Blocks ICF can help you save on your next building project.
Save on Capital Costs With ICF Above- and Below-Grade Wall Systems
Today, capital costs for energy-efficient, disaster-resistant, and healthy ICF above-grade wall systems compare closely with that of high-performance wood-framed construction. - unlike twenty years ago, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that the cost of ICF above grade construction was 5 -10 percent more than code minimum wood-frame construction, or $2 to $4 per square foot of floor space.
There are four reasons for the merging of capital costs between above-grade ICF and wood wall systems.
1. Today’s ICF contractors and laborers are more skilled and knowledgeable.
However, even in 2001, when HUD reported that ICF construction cost slightly more than wood construction, they also acknowledged that the cost of ICF construction depended on the familiarity of the contractors and tradespeople with the product.
Fortunately, today's market is full of skilled and trained ICF contractors keeping the price of ICF construction more reasonable, compared to 20 years ago, which ensures a cost-effective and high-quality installation.
2. Worker shortages are increasing labor costs.
The 2019 fourth-quarter commercial construction index found that a majority of contractors (89 percent) reported a moderate level of difficulty finding skilled employees, and 59 percent reported great difficulty in recruiting skilled workers. The primary reasons for the labor shortage include younger workers not entering the construction trades and new immigration policies. Regardless of the reason, labor shortages lead to increased capital costs, particularly with wood-frame and masonry construction.
How ICF Reduces Labor Costs
Fox Blocks ICF wall systems offer an easy learning curve for installation and lessen construction labor costs because it provides an all-in-one wall assembly that integrates five steps into one quick and easy installation. Builders can efficiently and safely construct an ICF building faster and with less labor than high-performance wood-framed construction. Most important, ICF construction dramatically accelerates project delivery (which further saves the contractor or developer money) by eliminating the need to coordinate multiple trades while achieving and exceeding all the objectives for high-performance.
3. Builders report a rise in capital costs.
The building industry struggles with maintaining capital costs as a result of the new government tariffs (taxes paid by Americans) on softwood lumber, steel, and other building materials and equipment. The consequences of the tariffs include price volatility and increasing capital costs. Fox Blocks manufacturers in multiple facilities in the USA and Canada.
How to avoid increasing material costs and volatility
Cost volatility and possible increasing prices of lumber should prompt the building industry to consider an alternative to wood-framed wall systems, like Fox Blocks ICFs. Fox Blocks provide stable and consistent pricing, which helps builders control and even reduce capital expenses.
4. High-Performing ICFs Reduce Mechanical Costs Over Wood Construction
Energy-efficient Fox Blocks ICF allows for a smaller HVAC and PV system over wood construction, which saves on capital expenses.
Below-grade ICF wall systems provide substantial capital savings over conventional poured concrete or concrete block wall systems because these systems require expensive (and time-consuming) insulation and sealing to meet advancing building codes. Depending on the location of the project, a Fox Blocks foundation wall costs 20 percent less to build than either a poured concrete or concrete block basement wall.
Annual Savings With ICF Construction
Builders and homeowners can achieve substantial annual savings by choosing Fox Blocks ICF instead of wood construction. Fox Blocks provide annual savings because they create energy-efficient, air tight, disaster-resistant, and low maintenance buildings and homes:
1. They save on annual expenses because they produce an airtight, energy -efficient structure with high thermal mass and an R-value of 23 (surpassing ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements).
An ICF home requires 32 percent less energy to cool and 44 percent less energy to heat than a wood-framed house.
2. They produce structures that stand up to severe wind events, which saves on the cost to repair and rebuild after storms. Fox Blocks resists winds of over 200 MPH, and projectile debris traveling at over 100 MPH.
While it is possible to build a disaster-resilient wood-framed structure, it can cost 25–30 percent more than standard wood-frame construction.
3. Moisture resistant Fox Blocks ICFs create homes and buildings that require less maintenance and repair because they resist rot and degradation, which adds further to the annual savings for the life cycle of the home.
Moisture can accumulate in the walls of wood-frame structures because effective methods that stop moisture from entering the wall cavity may also stop the moisture from leaving the wall cavity - resulting in costly maintenance and repairs due to mold and rot.
Long-Term Financial Advantages of ICF Construction
1. Fox Blocks ICFs contribute towards the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), which not only ensures a high degree of comfort and safety to the occupants of the structure, but also increases the resale value of the building or home.
2. Fox Blocks ICFs achieve a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating well below 55. The HERS rating provides an Energy Rating Index (ERI) that reflects a home’s energy efficiency. In 2015, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) incorporated the HERS ERI as an optional compliance path, with ERI target scores based on the climate zone. The ERI target scores for the 2018 IECC range from 57 to 62 - the lower the HERS score, the better. Importantly, because many mortgage companies, appraisers, MLS listings and realtors recognize a low HERS rating, it can improve the resale value of a home.
Fox Blocks ICF construction makes good business sense for contractors, can lower initial capital costs, substantially lessen annual operating expenses for the homeowner, plus ultimately improves long-term financial gains through higher resale value over a comparable wood-frame structure. Please contact the Fox Blocks professionals on more ways to lower expenses for both contractors and homeowners with ICF construction.