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Issue 15

August 2008  

Off the Grid - Whole Building Design

Off the Grid ICF HomeWhen Colin Dumais thought about building his new home he wanted to feel a connection to it, rather than it being a 'disposable asset' for his family. "There's no one that passes their home from grandfather to father to son anymore, there's no emotional investment in the structure that houses and keeps our families safe and sheltered."

Three years ago when the Dumais family were eagerly awaiting their first child, Colin thought about building a legacy home. Colin's new home started with a vision to build a self-sufficient home. He wanted it to be connected to the area so he modeled it after an early 20th century CPR train station. Finally, he didn't want to live any different and he didn't want his home to cost any more to build.

Colin works as a technology specialist with an electric utility in Calgary, Alberta. His position gives him better vision than most of us on predicting the future of energy consumption and our fate as a planet of over-consumers. With little money, experience and time, he did what most of us do these days - he turned to the internet.

Read the rest of this profile.

  What's Your IAQ IQ?

Indoor Air Quality

We all know that building with ICF provides a superior, high performance building envelope. In today's market energy efficiencies are the main criteria; not only for sustainability, but from an ongoing building operating cost perspective.

What may get lost in all the energy talk is how ICF and concrete provide a perfect structure to control indoor air quality.

Read the Environmental Council of Concrete Organizations bulletin on indoor air quality.

Net Zero Energy Home

Barry Oberpriller had a dream to build a prototype home. He wanted it to be unique - like an Earthship. Read about his discovery of ICF and the realization of his dream.

 Occupational Safety

As ICF becomes a more prevalent building system, North American dealers and installers of Quad-Lock ICF need to extend their knowledge of building techniques to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In order to prepare for the upcoming inspection and enforcement by OSHA, this and future articles will discuss various compliance issues facing the ICF industry.

The initial inspection by a Safety Agency is the first experience many ICF installers have with the various forms of OSHA (or other governing safety bodies). Normally, the inspection starts with a simple question: "Can we see your safety plan?" Throughout the construction industry, small contractor 'safety plans' have typically not been developed. This is especially true in the ICF industry. Rules are vague in many areas. When creating a safety plan, there are many easy points of compliance. The first part of the plan should provide direction and a process for worker injury.

Worker's compensation insurance programs that reduce costs should be part of the installing company's policies and procedures. If you as a contractor, are enrolled in a premium reduction plan you already have an action plan for the initial and extended treatment of an injured employee. However, do you have a complete first aid kit? A first aid responder trained in CPR? If your crew is working out of town, has the contact sheet been updated for that work site? These are essential plan elements. Calling 911 is only the start for an injury serious enough to contact a hospital. What you do immediately following a serious injury can save a finger, a hand or maybe someone's life. A comprehensive injury plan is the first essential piece in the Safety Plan Kit.

Future ideas on electrical safety, tool safety, ladders and scaffold placement, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and concrete placement will follow in the upcoming months. If you have any topics that you would like to see covered, please email us.

 Another Interesting Project


This shrine is the only one of its kind in the United States and is an exact replica of a temple in Bangkok, Thailand. The Mongkotlepmunee Buddhist Temple located in Bensalem, PA was constructed by Ken's Konstruction, Ken Branyan Sr. and Jr.

Quad-Lock FS Panels and Quad-Deck pan forms were used to form the 1,200 sqft temple resting upon a 4,600 sqft concourse of ornate white columns and curving staircases.

To see the outstanding chronology of this interesting building project visit the Photo Gallery on our website.

  2009 ICFA Annual Conference & EXPO Forming Our Future

Portland Oregon will host this year's ICFA Conference. This 3-day event has premiere speakers and educational content. To register or find more information, go to the ICFA Website.

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Word of Mouth...

In a recent meeting being attended by about 40 people, I asked "how many of you are in sales?" By a show of hands, eight indicated they were indeed, in sales. Actually, everyone in the room should have put their hand up. The real answer to this question is, we are all in sales. We may not all be selling products or services, but everyone is in sales. To prove it to you, here are a few examples:

  • A politician has to campaign to sell his or her ideals
  • A husband convinces a spouse about a big purchase
  • An office worker sells his ideas for change
  • A neighbor talks to you about a recent, positive buying experience

In our personal lives and our jobs, we influence decisions and the buying behavior of others. We can be passionate, like when you've found the best new computer and you speak about it as if it were the only choice. In discussing ICF construction, we may change someone's opinion on stick building. "Why would I build with ICF? Well, let me tell you why..." The point I want to make is, how YOU can impact what other people purchase.

Let me share a recent buying experience with you that proves my theory. I live in a neighborhood where the homes are approximately 20 years old. To my disappointment, the original builder used cheap shingles. I, along with most of my neighbors, needed to replace our existing roofs. I called three roofers from the local Yellow Pages and was dismayed by their lack of response. How many of you have called a contractor and never got a call back? How frustrating. Are contractors really that busy and profitable that they don't need to call prospects back? Several days later, I noticed that some of my neighbors had a small family-owned roofer replace their existing roofs. The job was completed quickly and looked good so I inquired about their experience. These are some of their responses: "He is detail-oriented and does not cut corners"; "His bid was the exact same as my invoice with no add-on charges"; "He completed on time and picked up everything before he left"; "You are not going to find a better contractor to do business with".

WOW. Sounds like I found the guy that needs to replace my roof. So, I asked James while he was working in the neighborhood about my roof and he said he would come down that evening do an evaluation and send me a quote within two days. He sent the quote within two days and within a week had dropped off literature on the brand of shingles as well as color swatches of roofing material. The quote price was fair, not the lowest. I signed a contract with him that week and I am happy to say he did an excellent job just as my neighbors indicated. James and his company have done approximately 90% of the new roofs in my neighborhood and one of his employees told me jokingly, they had a monopoly on the neighborhood. Wait, there is more to the story...

While I was waiting for James to come and get started replacing my roof, I noticed a large roofing contractor completing several roofs. Seeing that my roof needed some attention, I was approached by the salesman and asked if he could give me a quote. You see, this was one of the roofing contractors I had called with no response. I asked, "Is your company that busy that you do not call prospective customers back?" "Of course not", he said. He went on and on about exemplary customer service and the best prices and the speed of his guys and BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. I told him I signed a contract with James and he would be showing up within a week. The salesman being persistent, asked "Why did you go with him?" I replied, "BECAUSE YOU AND YOUR COMPANY DID NOT RETURN MY CALL. And by the way, James has built a great reputation in the neighborhood." I wished him well on his sales efforts. Needless to say, the salesman stormed off in a huff.

I have two points in recap. Make sure you call your prospects back, regardless of some of their questions. Their positive buying experience could turn into a situation like James faced in my neighborhood; lots and lots of sales with minimal effort. And, I am sure many of you share similar experiences as to how far word-of-mouth advertising can take you. It is the oldest and continues to be the most effective way to make and increase your sales.

Happy Selling,

DJ Ketelhut Director of Sales, Eastern North America

Finding the Silver Lining

In a challenging environment, sometimes finding the 'silver lining' just takes a bit of thought. For example: How many builders have considered that the very forces that make new home construction unattractive to buyers makes the upgrade of their existing home that much more attractive? This has been true in every housing down-turn in history. Consequently, there are additions to build, jack-ups with new basements to install and with the high cost of energy, lots of insulation upgrades to sell. In fact, the NAHB reports that 65% of remodelers are currently selling insulation upgrades to their customers. Quad-Lock can open doors for you in the remodeling/renovation market. Let's look at some of the ways we can help you capture this business.

R-ETRO System
The new R-ETRO System is designed to add an R-18 insulation layer to the interior or exterior of an existing building, as part of a planned upgrade of the finishes. This easy-to-use system features special ties that attach to an existing building and hold Plus Panels in place. It provides a high R-value insulation along with a substrate for finishes, like drywall, siding, or stucco. When your customers receive their first utility bill and see that their heating or cooling costs have plummeted, the payback is immediate.

Quad-Lock ICF for Foundations and Basements
One of the trickiest parts of remodel work is getting a new foundation connected to an existing foundation, or built under an existing, moved or raised building. Training and Technical Services can offer detailed drawings as to how this connection is made.

One of the least expensive ways to add square footage to a building is to add a basement. The lightweight nature of Quad-Lock ICF makes it the only way to add a story below a raised building. Ask us about the house-moving firm that rehabilitates older homes and moves them to new sites, with a new Quad-Lock ICF basement or foundation under every one.

A new insulated roof structure can add safety, efficiency and durability to a building that is subject to temperature extremes and high winds. Quad-Deck has been used in many instances where trussed roofs have been replaced by insulated concrete roofs. New decks and garages over living space are commonly done with Quad-Deck pan forms.

When you do business with Quad-Lock, you have tapped into many years of problem-solving experience by building professionals who have survived many building cycles. We have built 'em from scratch, moved 'em, raised 'em, fixed 'em and added-on to 'em. Don't be afraid to ask us how Quad-Lock products can help with your remodel business.

Douglas Bennion
Manager, Training and Technical Services

We Need Your Help...

 Proven Energy Efficiencies

As part of our on-going development of materials to assist in the sale of Quad-Lock, we want to create a library of statistics about structures built with Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms. You can help us by submitting your energy bills, along with the bills from a comparable house in your neighborhood for us to add to our library. When you do this Quad-Lock will pay your highest month's energy bill for your troubles.

Contact us for more information.

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Best regards,
Quad-Lock Building Systems

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