Quick Build Construction: ICF Construction for Tract Home Builders


In 2021, construction labor and lumber shortages continue to challenge tract home builders to stay on schedule and budget. Fortunately, fast and easy to install, durable, and energy-efficient insulated concrete form (ICF) foundations are a readily available building product that can contribute towards quick build construction.

Quick Build Construction

New Home Building on the Rise

The surging demand for housing and limited inventory of existing-affordable homes provides unprecedented opportunities for tract home builders. New single-family home sales rose over 12 percent between December and November 2020 ﹘ a 5.2 percent increase since December 2019. Furthermore, the end of July 2020 found the lowest count of single-family existing homes for sale since 1982, prompting a prediction that home prices will increase by five to seven percent in 2021. Not since the end of World War II has there been a greater need for tract homes.

Soaring Home Prices Outprices Many First-Time Buyers

In 2020, the residential real estate market provided a bright spot in a struggling economy. In November 2020, the median home sale price was $334,287, a 13.1 percent increase from November 2019. However, while soaring home prices due to a lack of inventory serve to enhance homeowners' equity, it significantly challenges those looking to buy.

Young adults made up the largest share of home buyers (38 percent) in 2020, many pushed along by the pandemic to obtain space to work, study, and peacefully coexist. Unfortunately, the housing market outpriced many first-time buyers who either didn’t have enough earnings, or the potential to save a down payment.

A new home's median price in 2020 was $345,908, requiring the home buyer to have an income of $85,553. This is a problem since the median household income in the United States was $78,500 — which is more than 8 percent less than $85,553. Some anticipate a rise in median home prices of 3 percent in 2021 — over $10,000. Unfortunately, even an increase of $1000 will outprice those with a median income of $85,553.

How Custom Homes Increase Building Costs

Quick Build Construction

Custom home builders continue to face challenges that impact their bottom line and slow delivery time. In 2020, 85 percent of contractors expressed concerns in budgeting and scheduling due to labor cost and availability. The U.S. Labor Bureau reported 236,000 vacant construction jobs as of November 2020. Similarly, 66 percent of contractors expect challenges due to the rising cost of materials, especially lumber.

Why Tract Homes Reduce Building Costs

Tract homes allow builders to quickly and cost-effectively construct affordable homes, compared to custom houses. Developers of tract homes purchase land then divide it into large house lots (tracts). Tract builders typically buy factory-made building components rather than built on-site components, reducing delivery time and material and labor costs, and lowering the purchase price for the new homeowner.

ICF Quickens Delivery Time for Tract Home Builders

Quick Build Construction

ICF foundations are a superior building product for tract home builders, allowing for faster foundation construction and less labor than poured concrete foundations. Ultimately, ICF foundations lessen new home costs, efficiently adding to the inventory of affordable and available homes.

Builders need to recognize the overall advantages of an ICF foundation over a bare-formed concrete wall.

Fox ICF Foundation

Fox Blocks ICF foundations offer tract home builders a fast and straightforward method of building below-grade walls.

Fox Blocks foundations combine six building steps into one: air barrier, structure, insulation, vapor retarder, continuous insulation and attachment surfaces for finishes. The all-in-one wall assembly eliminates the need to coordinate multiple trades, significantly quicking delivery time while achieving the foundation's goals.

Fox Blocks provide many other benefits to tract home builders other than quick construction:

  • The ICF forms protect the foundation against shifts in the ground and water pressure (both a problem with poured concrete), which can lead to cracks, leaks, and the growth of damaging and unhealthy mold.

  • ICFs provide a great curing environment for concrete walls, resulting in a concrete foundation with about twice the compressive strength of a poured concrete foundation, limiting the opportunity for moisture intrusion.

  • Unlike poured concrete foundations, temperature-resistant ICF foundations allow for construction in cold temperatures (as low as 5° F).

  • ICF construction also eliminates the need to seal or caulk the exterior and interior barriers.

  • ICF subcontractors can quickly install electrical, plumbing, and HVAC because of the ease in cutting the foam.

  • ICF walls eliminate the possibility of mold and mildew.

Fox Blocks ICF foundations also offer future homeowners long-term financial benefits.

  • Energy-efficient Fox Blocks foundations reduce energy bills and create comfortable, cozy, and healthy below-grade spaces. ICF foundations incorporate continuous insulation (R-value of 23) with few to no thermal bridges, exceeding ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements.

  • Disaster-resistant Fox Blocks foundations save on repair and replacement costs after a natural disaster. ICF foundations can withstand tornado and hurricane winds exceeding 200 mph and projectile debris traveling over 100 mph. Fox Blocks also have a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of 4 hours for the 6-inch blocks and 2 hours for the 4-inch blocks.

  • ICF’s solid continuous monolithic concrete foundation with a perm rating below 1.0, along with a waterproofing membrane and a reliable drainage system, controls moisture infiltration from both soil and the home’s occupants, saving homeowners on expensive repairs due to damaging and unhealthy mold.

  • ICFs are compatible for specific waterproofing and dampproofing membranes.

Quicken Home Construction with ICF Foundations

Quick Build Construction

Tract home builders can quickly and easily build a new community of homes by incorporating ICF foundations into their home designs. ICF foundations also provide more energy-efficiency and resistance to cracking and moisture intrusion than poured concrete foundations.

Tract builders aiming for quick build construction should consider Fox Blocks ICF foundations for their next tract home project. Contact us today for more information on ways to expedite the construction of tract home developments.