Quad-Lock LEED Platinum Home Wins Top Award at International ICF Competition
A large residence in upstate New York, using Quad-Lock for walls & Quad-Deck for the floor, was recently recognized as one of the most innovative construction projects in the world.
The home was named Winner in the Unlimited Residential category at the annual ICF Builder Awards, an international competition designed to showcase the best of the best in the ICF industry. The award winners exemplify the energy-efficiency, comfort, creative architecture, and speed of installation that ICF construction can provide.
The building not only earned the coveted LEED Platinum for Homes plaque, which was personally presented to the homeowners by Rick Fedrizzi, President & CEO of the US Green Building Council. It also achieved the highest-ever LEED for Homes rating worldwide!
Applause to the owners and the entire project team for these achievements!
Mike & Robin Hanes of Homes American Made Co. in Caro, MI - the ICF Installation company for the project - accepted the ICF Builder Award along with Quad-Lock's Georg Kustermann.
Read our Project Profile.
Metal Track, Waste, and Price/sqft
More than 10 years after Quad-Lock introduced Metal Tracks to start and finish ICF walls, we finally see most competing ICF-block providers adopt the same recommendation: continuous metal track on both sides of the wall. What does that mean for us? We all witnessed builders compare Quad-Lock's complete ICF wall estimates to competitors' price per square-foot of forms, claiming that ICF-blocks are equivalent without additional materials nor labor. We know it isn't true - unless their customers accept crooked, curvy walls that aren't level at the top!
If you start with a really smooth and level footing, all ICFs can get away without Metal Track. One Quad-Lock method is to use lumber toe-plates, another is the 'ripped panel', where you rip 3" off the bottoms of the first-course panels, also use reusable toe-plates, and install the ripped 3" at the very top of the wall (with a whaler screwed to an additional course of ties).
However, most ICF professionals realize that truly smooth & level footings are rare, that straight lumber seems to become ever rarer, and that the additional material & labor costs of trying to level and straighten things after the fact can exceed the cost of the Metal Track.
There are more things that some ICF providers often don't mention in their estimates of "price per sqft of form":
This is some of the waste that was leftover from a 2000sqft Quad-Lock building - less than 1% of waste in total. The owner said "every piece of cut Quad-Lock found another use somewhere else. All 1' and 2' pieces were re-used on the top row."
Waste Factor - $$$$$: compared to ICF-block systems, Quad-Lock creates much less waste because most parts that need to be cut can be reused in the same project. Quad-Lock typically adds a 2-4% waste factor in estimates (some installers can achieve 1% or less!), while many projects using ICF blocks need a 5-8% waste factor. If the ICF-block estimate didn't include this, the builder will run out of blocks during construction, then order more, wait for it to arrive, and finally wonder why he didn't make money because of the unanticipated cost and timeline overruns.
Zip Ties or 'clips' - $$$: almost all ICF-blocks require Zip ties or expensive special clips to connect their blocks close to corners, angles, and T-Walls because without them the blocks spread apart from each other during the concrete pour. Guess what? Quad-Lock Ties have those Zip ties integrated in the form of the horizontal connectors between the two 'legs' of our ties.
Structural Corner Bracing - $$: most ICF-block manufacturers say they don't need structural bracing for their corners, angles, or T-walls. When you look at the jobsite photos of many, however, it is clear that their builders strongly disagree when they add plywood and outside braces on every corner. How much do you thing they spend on this when it comes to a second or third storey? Quad-Lock's ingenious corner and angle brackets solve the issue beautifully without cranes or scaffolds.
Plywood around openings - $: "External buck-outs" - the only option for most ICF-blocks - not only create a significant thermal bridge and potential water intrusion location around every window and door opening; they typically also require a complete plywood 'wrap-around' on both sides of the wall on every wall opening to keep the foam and buck aligned during the pour. Quad-Lock makes internal buck-outs easy because of the panel & tie design - and in comparison those inexpensive Wind-Lock washers work like magic.
Metal Track - $$$: to be or not to be included in ICF wall estimates?
In conclusion, a price per square foot of forms is NOT suitable for comparisons because you need to add the waste factor, structural bracing for corners, angles & T-walls, plywood wrap-arounds on openings, zip-ties or clips, and the method to align walls along top and bottom. Remind builders of these and all the associated labor costs to get an apples-to-apples comparison of true installed cost!
What Home Buyers Really Want...
According to a 2013 report released by the National Association of Home Builders, nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 to 3 percent less".
A Quad-Lock home is engineered to be ultra energy-efficient because of continuous EPS insulation (higher & uniform R-value), greatly reduced air infiltration, and the thermal mass effect of concrete.
Learn more about the science behind ICFs.
Read the NAHB study.
New Illustrations are a Hit
Quad-Lock's Zoran Prostran put his amazing CAD skills, new CAD software, and high-octane computer to work to develop spectacular new illustrations. The pool image on the right attracted major attention at recent tradeshows and in the social media, such as our Facebook page.
Another image illustrates details for elevated slab construction, which local jurisdictions and insurance companies are advocating to be a requirement for many flood-prone areas - see disaster-resistance page.
The Building Envelope detail has also been updated (see left side of www.quadlock.com) and more are to follow!