Quad-Lock Logo

Building Code Compliance for Insulated Concrete Forms

Please always contact your local building department about your upcoming Quad-Lock project. Buildings may require some engineering, so talk to the inspectors early to understand requirements, avoid compliance issues, and save a lot of time & money.

A list of US & Canadian code references and an engineer-stamped ICF Design Guide for Canadian Part 9 buildings for ICF walls is available (registration req.)

Quad-Lock wall ICFs have been evaluated under numerous building codes which are often recognized by local building officials. Quad-Lock forms solid, flat-wall, monolithic, cast-in-place concrete walls and can, therefore, emulate prescriptive designs that are pre-approved by local building departments.

Evaluation reports are intended only as guides for individual code jurisdictions, so they can determine under what conditions to allow the use of the ICFs in their area. Each individual jurisdiction has the right to accept or modify a report according to local requirements.

Code Evaluations & Approvals

    IRC & IBC Evaluation: 2018, 2015, 2012, 2009
    Miami-Dade County: NOA# 21-0708.14 exp. Nov.3, 2026
    Florida Product Approval: 10431-R3 (2020 Code)
  Bahamas: MOW&U/BC/24/14
  Jamaica: Evaluation Report No. 27/2008/2060
  Puerto Rico: Certificacion de Material de Construccion
European Technical Approval ETA-06/0189

  United Kingdom: BBA Certificate 06/4347
  Germany: ETA-06/0189
  Romania: Aviz Tehnic 1-44, Agrement Tehnic
South Africa: SABS Report No. 2538/1357/07

Contact our technical service department for particular code compliance questions or documentation.

Refer to Quad-Lock's CSC Specifications (contract-template), CAN/ULC-S717.1, the NBCC, CSA-A23, and login/register for the Part 9 ICF Design Guide and list of code references.

ICF Design Guide for Part 9 Buildings - Engineering Stamps Included!

See IRC & IBC Evaluation Report, CSI Specifications (contract-template), and login/register for a list of code references. The International Codes (IBC, IRC etc.) have been adopted by most states and they address ICF construction. Individual states/jurisdictions can have additional requirements, especially in high-wind and seismic areas:

Check applicable codes at iccsafe.org

Quad-Lock ICF Buildings easily meet most additional requirements, especially regarding seismic loads, wind loads, and windborne debris when designed & built per the codes or an engineer's plan.

Residential Code

The below include prescriptive charts to help define wall thickness & reinforcing steel requirements for many residential buildings:

International Residential Code (IRC) 2018, 2015, 2012, 2009:
R404.1 Foundation Walls & R611 Exterior Concrete Walls

Also refer to the (source) Prescriptive Design of Exterior Concrete Walls for One- and Two-Family Dwellings (PCA 100-2012).

Commercial Code

For commercial ICF construction, please refer to our CSI Specs and

  • International Building Code (IBC) 2018, 2015, 2012, 2009:
    Chapter 19: Concrete & Chapter 26: Foam Plastic Insulation
  • ACI 318 - Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete
    for the structural design of reinforced concrete in flat-wall ICFs

Quad-Lock Panels are molded of fire retardant, HBCD-free Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and they stay in place as insulation, backing for finishes, and space to run small utilities:

Quad-Lock EPS Panel Types & Densities
Panel: Thickness EPS Board Types Nominal
Min. Density
Regular: 2¼" [57mm] Type IX Type 3 2 lb/ft³ [32 g/l] 1.9 lb/ft³ [30 g/l] 1.8 lb/ft³ [28.8 g/l]
Ultra: 3⅛" [79mm] Type II Type 2 1.5 lb/ft³ [24 g/l] 1.4 lb/ft³ [22.2 g/l] 1.35 lb/ft³ [21.7 g/l]
Plus: 4¼" [108mm] Type II Type 2 1.5 lb/ft³ [24 g/l] 1.4 lb/ft³ [22.2 g/l] 1.35 lb/ft³ [21.7 g/l]
Extra: 4" [102mm] Type VIII Type 1 1.25 lb/ft³ [20 g/l] 1.2 lb/ft³ [19 g/l] 1.15 lb/ft³ [18 g/l]
Quad-Deck: 7-12½" Type VIII Type 1 1.25 lb/ft³ [20 g/l] 1.25 lb/ft³ [20 g/l] 1.15 lb/ft³ [18 g/l]

Additional Properties for all EPS Types: Maximum Service Temperature: Long-Term Exposure 167°F [75°C], Intermittent Exposure 176°F [80°C]  Capillarity: None.  Solubility: Insoluble in water and generally chemically inert. EPS dissolves in hydrocarbons, esters, aldehydes and amines.  Like all organic materials, EPS products are combustible and must not be exposed to excessive heat, sparks, open flames, or any other sources of ignition.

Findings of Tests & Evaluations

Quad-Lock ICF Fire Resistance Ratings   Intertek ETL Design Number QBS/ICF 240-01. The fire test was performed per the following standards: ASTM E119-07, CAN/ULC-S101-04-3rd Edition, EN 1365-1, and ANSI/UL 263-13th Edition.

The concrete used was a regular 2900psi [20MPa] mix with regular steel reinforcement (no plastic/steel fibers were used). A uniform load equaling the maximum calculated bearing capacity of 298 kips [1326 kN] was applied in 25% increments. The wall passed the prescribed 2.5 min. hose stream test without displacement of concrete from the wall.

Fire Resistance Ratings (FRR) for Quad-Lock ICF walls:

Min. Concrete Thickness Nominal Thickness Rating
3.75" [96mm] 4" [100mm] 2 hours
5.75" [147mm] 6" [150mm] 3 hours
7.75" [197mm] or greater 8" [200mm] or greater 4 hours

NFPA 286 & ISO 9705 - Fire Tests for Evaluating Contribution of Wall and Ceiling Interior Finish to Room Fire Growth - provide easy compliance with Foam Plastic Insulation codes, such as IBC 2603.9 or IRC R316.6 & R302.9.4.

Setup: Quad-Lock Plus Panels were installed on the interior, as they represent the thickest panel and highest available fuel-load recommended for installation on the interior. Similarly, Quad-Deck 12.5" thick panels were used for the ceiling. The interior of the room, both walls and ceiling, was finished using 1/2 in. thick non-fire rated gypsum board. Gypsum board on all walls was fastened with #6 x 1-5/8 in. Type S drywall screws spaced 12 in. o.c around the perimeter and 12 in. o.c in the field. Gypsum board on the ceiling area was fastened with #6 x 1-5/8 in. self-tapping TEK screws spaced at 12 in. o.c. along length and width of the ceiling area, including the perimeters. A burner in the corner of the room fires for 15 minutes and measurements of room temperature, smoke release, heat release, and heat flux to the floor are taken.

Test Findings: The Quad-Lock Plus Panel and Quad-Deck 12.5" Panel ICF System met the requirements of NFPA 286-11 and ISO 9705:1993, Fire Tests for Evaluating Contribution of Wall and Ceiling Interior Finish to Room Fire Growth. The gypsum board on the walls and ceiling remained attached; no flashover occurred; no excessive smoke was generated; temperature rise was below prescribed maxima.

Summary of Fastener Load Testing per ASTM 2634-11 and ICC AC353:

Lateral (Shear) Strength Evaluation

Substrate Fastener Type Avg. Ultimate Load Allowable Lateral Strength
Quad-Lock Tie Flanges #9 Cement Board Fasteners 148.7 lbf [661N] 46.5 lbf [206N]
Quad-Lock Tie Flanges #8 Drywall Screws 125.3 lbf [557N] 39.2 lbf [174N]
FS Fastening Strips #9 Cement Board Fasteners 299.3 lbf [1331N] 93.5 lbf [415N]

Withdrawal (Pullout) Strength Evaluation

Substrate Fastener Type Avg. Ultimate Load Allowable Withdrawal Strength
Quad-Lock Tie Flanges #9 Cement Board Fasteners 121.6 lbf [541N] 24.3 lbf [108N]
Quad-Lock Tie Flanges #8 Drywall Screws 120.9 lbf [538N] 24.2 lbf [107N]
FS Fastening Strips #9 Cement Board Fasteners 181 lbf [805N] 36.2 lbf [161N]

Also see IRC & IBC Evaluation Report (with plenty of safety margin), page 8, TABLE 3.

ASTM E2634 - Standard Specifications for Flat Wall Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) Systems

This Standard applies to Flat-Wall ICF Systems that act as permanent formwork for cast-in-place reinforced concrete beams; lintels; exterior and interior, above and below grade bearing and non-bearing walls; foundation; and retaining walls. It identifies test methods appropriate for establishing ICF System performance in their primary function as a stay in place concrete forming system. Engineering Evaluation Findings: Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms meet the requirements of ASTM E2634 (2011)

CAN/ULC S717.1 - Standard for Flat Wall Insulating Concrete Form

This Standard specifies the requirements for stay in place, modular expanded polystyrene (EPS) Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) units that are connected by cross ties. It sets performance requirements for the ICF unit in its primary function as a stay-in-place concrete form, for the materials that make up the form unit, and for the cross tie flanges as a substrate for the attachment of interior and exterior finishes, along with the test methods to determine compliance with the performance requirements. Engineering Evaluation Findings: Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms meet the requirements of CAN/ULC S717.1 (2012)

Standard Fire Endurance Test for Non-Loadbearing Walls (1995)

Test Findings: "The Quad-Lock EPS form wall protected by a ½" standard gypsum wallboard thermal barrier installed as described in this report met the criteria of acceptance of ASTM E 119, CAN/ULC S101, and UBC 7-1 for a four hour fire resistance rating. The polyethylene bridging ties did not melt out and did not cause a loss of support for the non-fire side standard ½" gypsum thermal barrier. As no through openings were developed in the concrete wall section, no possibility of ignition of cotton waste occurred. There was no occurrence of burnthrough or through openings in the concrete wall, nor was there flaming of the polyethylene ties and expanded polystyrene foam on the unexposed side. The Quad-Lock expanded polystyrene foam 6" concrete wall form system is consequently eligible for a four hour fire resistance rating."

For complete documentation of these tests please contact us.

Related Content

Technical Library
Product Manuals