Guide to Building Code Compliance for Quad-Lock Insulated Concrete Forms

Page Sections

EPS Types
Code Evaluations
Industry Standards
Product Tests

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 detailed list of US & Canadian code references for ICF walls is available (registration req.)

Quad-Lock wall ICFs have been evaluated for numerous building codes (see Code Evaluations below) 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.

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

Quad-Lock EPS Panel Classifications & Densities:

Panel Thickness

EPS Board Type



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 1

1.3 lb/ft³ [21 g/l]

1.2 lb/ft³ [19 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 flammable (even with the included non-HBCD flame-retardant) and must not be exposed to excessive heat, sparks, open flames, or any other sources of ignition.

Canada Codes

Refer to Quad-Lock's CSC Specifications (contract-template), CAN/ULC-S717.1, NFPA 286, the NBCC, CSA-A23, and login/register for a list of code references. Flat-Wall ICFs, such as Quad-Lock, have been incorporated in the building codes, which means that the formerly useful CCMC report is no longer needed (intended for "innovative" building materials not covered by codes).

USA Codes

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

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:

2009, 2012, or 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) :
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

Code Evaluations, Approvals & Tests

Code Evaluations / Approvals
    IRC & IBC Evaluation: 2009, 2012, 2015
    Miami-Dade County, FL: NOA# 16-0314.12 exp. Nov.3, 2021
    Florida Product Approval: # 10431-R1 (vers. 2014)
  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 1-44/15.07.2004 of CTPC-1; Agrement Tehnic 008-01/049-2004
South Africa: SABS Report No. 2538/1357/07

Evaluations and Tests:
ASTM E2634  Std. Spec. for Flat Wall ICFs
CAN/ULC S717.1   Std. for Flat Wall ICFs
NFPA 286-11 Fire Test
Fire Resistance Ratings
Screw Pull-Out & Shear Tests
Standard Fire Endurance Test

If you are trying to answer a particular code compliance question or need further information and documentation, please contact our technical service department.

Findings of Tests & Evaluations for Quad-Lock Walls/ICFs

ASTM E2634 - Std. Spec. 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)

NFPA 286 & ISO 9705 - Fire Tests for Evaluating Contribution of Wall and Ceiling Interior Finish to Room Fire Growth

For 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.

Fire Resistance Ratings of Load-Bearing Quad-Lock Walls

Quad-Lock ICF Fire Resistance Ratings: Intertek ETL Design Number QBS/ICF 240-01

The fire test was performed per the following standards:

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 per results from the test sample:

Min. Concrete Thickness

Nominal Thickness


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

Screw Pull-Out & Shear Tests

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

Lateral (Shear) Strength Evaluation


Fastener Type

Avg. Ultimate Load

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


Fastener Type

Avg. Ultimate Load

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.

Standard Fire Endurance Test (1995) for Non-Load-Bearing Walls

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.

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