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
Electrical Cords & Tools...
The US Safety Standards impose some
fairly strict requirements on the long-term use of electrical
cords and power tools. Within weeks of a new purchase, many of
us take the equipment we have for granted and spend little, if
any time considering whether we are in violation of safety
standards. If your jobsite is audited, you could be in for some
hefty fines for violations. Here are some points contractors may
forget or ignore.
- Electrical tools must have a ground
fault interrupter, preferably at the point of attachment to the
electrical supply. For example, to protect the users on a
scaffold system, a common safety interpretation on electrical
concrete vibrators requires the breaker between the vibrator
unit and the power cord. The same applies to hammers, screw guns
and other tools used on a scaffold system.
- All temporary power
sources must have a ground fault interrupter to protect the
user. This includes generators used at the site and generators
must also have a ground fault disconnect in their control panel.
Further, they need to be sized for the connected load during the
start up of all electrical tools connected to the source.
- If the
electrical power cords you use are missing the grounding prong
on the plug you are in violation of US Safety Standards. In
addition, the cord needs to have the proper size wire for the
distance from the electrical source. So, if you have 3
electrical cords inter-connected to get from the power source to
the work area you are also in violation of US Safety Standards.
If you have a larger crew, a great
investment could be electrical bus connectors that use a large,
heavy-duty 220 volt feed to a central panel in the middle of the
worksite. Damaged power cords or cords that have been protected
with electrical tape are the most common violation. Acquiring a
new or a short extension cord with a ground fault breaker is
cheaper than the fine for each violation. Future ideas on tool
safety, ladders and scaffold placement, Material Safety Data
Sheets (MSDS) and concrete placement will follow in upcoming
months. If you have any topics that you would like to see
please email us!
Caddy® Box 350
Our latest tip from the field comes from
Kevin Spaulding in Vermont for attaching electrical boxes to
both Quad-Lock and the R-ETRO System walls. Kevin uses a
"screw-on box support clip" from
Erico (Caddy® part no. 350) to
screw to a tie flange and hold electrical boxes in place. This
meets code requirements for fastening boxes to structural
Mono-Brace Safety & Training Materials
OSHA-approved Safety & Training Materials,
including Inspection Tips are available for download from the
Mono-Brace website. Visit
www.mono-brace.com and click on the
OSHA Safety & Training button.
Sustainable Concrete Solutions for Homes
PCA has released a new
defining concrete uses for potential points contribution under
the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes
LEED-H, created by the US Green Building Council
establishes a construction program for housing built upon
criteria of previous LEED rating systems. The many sustainable
benefits of concrete technologies provide residential architects
and builders with solutions that can help a project more easily
qualify for certification.
Read the Technology Brief.
Life Cycle Assessment: ICF & Wood Frame
Comparison of the LCAs of an ICF House and a Wood Frame House
Originally completed in 2002, updated in 2006 and now newly
re-released in 2008, this report presents the results of an assessment
of the environmental attributes of concrete construction compared to
wood-framed construction. The LCA was conducted on a house modeled with
two types of exterior walls: a wood-framed wall and an ICF wall. The LCA
was carried out according to the guidelines in International Standard
ISO 14044, Environmental Management - Life Cycle Assessment -
Requirements and Guidelines. The house was modeled in five cities,
representing a range of US climates: Miami, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington
(DC), and Chicago. Each house is a two-story single-family building with
a contemporary design. The house system boundary includes inputs and
outputs of energy and material from construction, occupancy,
maintenance, demolition and disposal. The system boundary excludes
capital goods, human labor, impacts caused by people and waste treatment
after disposal. An LCA of buildings typically does not include measures
of disaster resistance, occupant comfort, or occupant productivity. The
life of each house is 100 years.
The data show that in all five methods for a given climate, the
impact indicators in each category are greater for the wood house than
that for the ICF house. Furthermore, in each of the five methods, the
ICF house has a lower single score than the wood-framed house in almost
all impact categories. The most significant environmental impacts are
not from construction materials but from the production of electricity
and natural gas and the use of electricity and natural gas in the houses
by the occupants.
Read the full report.
The Value of Basement Insulation...
Spaulding walks you through why adding basement insulation in colder
climates is one of the most cost effective improvements you can make to
Kevin has been successfully selling the R-ETRO System since its
release earlier this year and will tell you that even adding a modest
layer of insulation to basement walls will result in an incredible
reduction in heat lost through un-insulated concrete walls. With the
R-ETRO System adding R-18 to existing wall surfaces, the results are
felt immediately, both in less fuel used and in more heat within the
The Value of Basement Insulation in Cold Climates.
Green Building is Growing Despite Economy
You can't turn on the TV to watch the news or read the newspaper
without witnessing reports about the doom and gloom of our global
economy. First, it was all about the cost of a barrel of oil and the
rising fuel costs worldwide. More recently, financial, housing and
mortgage markets are the worst they have been in decades. There is talk
of depression and economic collapse around the world.
WOW. Where can I run and hide until this is over? Unfortunately, you
can't hide, but expect some major changes within the financial, mortgage
and housing markets that will be a good thing in the long-term. We are
already seeing significant mergers, acquisitions and historic changes
that should result in the general stability of the economy.
So, this sounds like a disaster for all of us in the building
industry, right? As we head towards 2009, I would suggest that you do
not need to be forced into accepting sluggish sales and eroding profit
margins. A recent report published by McGraw-Hill Construction in
conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green
Building Program, says quite the opposite. The report studied green
building practices from 2001 to 2007, including building in a down
market and included these major findings:
- 40% of builders find "building green" makes it easier to market in a
down economy, 16% find it makes it much easier.
- In 2009, 21% of builders
expect to be building 90% of their projects to green standards.
- 60% of
builders claim home buyers are willing to pay more for green homes.
of builders think energy efficient features are the ones making homes
more environmentally friendly.
- Builders use products that lead to energy
efficiency far more than other elements. They focus on air sealing /
tight construction, increased insulation and Energy Star products.
building has been at the forefront of the media over the past several
years. The reality is green building is not a fad and will continue to
revolutionize the building industry. Builders, contractors and
architects can no longer ignore the benefits and advantages of green
building as the buying public becomes more informed about green
technologies. While this report is focused on the residential market,
these statistics and the building practices can just as easily be
applied to the commercial market.
It is true, there will be fewer residential and commercial
opportunities in 2009, but construction will not stop. Builders will
have to differentiate themselves from their competitors to maintain or
grow in the current economy. Green building is clearly the answer. This
report is a good indicator that if you focus your efforts on
green-friendly architects, builders, developers and contractors, you are
more likely to have a prosperous 2009. Quad-Lock has been in the green
building business since 1994 and there is no single product on the
market that can make a bigger impact on energy efficiencies for the
Director of Sales, Eastern North America
the approach of the winter season and cold temperatures in the northern
regions, many builders face the challenge of pouring concrete in
temperatures at or near the freezing level. Most of us were taught that
concrete can't be placed in freezing temperatures, but that isn't always
so (even though concrete requires a certain minimum temperature to begin
the chemical reaction required to start the curing process). Using
Quad-Lock ICF, concrete walls can be poured in freezing weather under
certain conditions. Here are some ways to combat cold temperatures at
- Order concrete batched with hot water so it arrives at the jobsite
sufficiently warm to begin the curing process.
- Include air entrainment
if the mix is expected to be exposed to freezing temperatures.
- Cover the
tops of forms to prevent freezing and transmission of cold through
exposed anchor bolts.
- Increase the cement content of the mix to promote
- Include concrete admixtures in the mix to accelerate the
curing immediately after placement.
Quad-Lock's Product Manual contains
a section on cold weather concreting (pages 124 & 125), including charts
that outline minimum exposure temperatures versus the mass of the wall
and cement content of the mix. You can review this information in a
meeting with your Ready-Mixed Concrete Producer representative a couple
of days before the pour to ensure you get the product you need.
View an excerpt of these pages or view the entire
Training & Technical Services Manager
Energy Efficient Commercial Building - Tax Deduction
Extended through December 31, 2013
Section 179D(a) is a deduction for commercial building owners whose
buildings meet certain energy standards. The deduction is as much as
$1.80 per square foot for buildings that achieve a 50 percent energy
savings target. Before claiming the deduction, the owner must obtain
written certification from a professional engineer not related to the
company, using approved software that the required energy savings will
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
Contact us for more information.