The construction sector has recorded the latest trend of house owners, architects, and designers avoiding energy consumptive construction forms and implementing more sustainable and cheap construction procedures. Insulated concrete forms are examples of less expensive building methods being executed instead of traditional building methods. ICFs application in building projects is increasingly growing because of the several outstanding benefits it offers. However, a significant percentage of ‘off-the-shelf’ home plans are generally prepared for conventional wood-frame buildings. As a result, the house plans require a slight alteration to take in new building methods. ICF plan conversions can be pretty straightforward, and reputable architects or designers can quickly alter nearly all building plans. But, what are the design tips for making buildings with ICF?

Let’s see!

Minimize Speed Construction & Waste By Planning Within Modulus

Any architect can significantly minimize ICF project speed construction and waste by maximizing the building’s dimensions to work with the ICF forms’ modulus. It’s easy to cut-off water by considering the block height whenever the building height and floor placement.

A carefully positioned concrete core width change from one building floor to another may offer a ledger for interior beam support or exterior stonework. Planning within the modulus maximizes the design options advantage and enhances the project’s constructability.

Besides this, structural engineers can enhance rebar placement by altering the rebar placing schedule to correspond with each channel of ICFs height.

No Requirement For Vapor Retarders Or Air Barriers

Some architects can incorporate vapor retarders, air barriers, and other weatherproof barricades into the insulated concrete forms walls if it’s the first time they’re using ICFs. However, it’s not a must to go for additional layers when working insulated concrete forms. You only need to update the ICF with exterior finish or direct place the veneer to the ICF.

Every designer should note that waterproof concrete walls don’t exist. Therefore, it’s vital to specify waterproofing and rain drainage details.

Take Care Whenever Vibrating Concrete In The Course Of Pours

Commonly, strong forms blow out mostly whenever vibrating concrete in the course of pours. It’s recommended to use small-diameter ‘pencil’ vibrators or mechanical vibrators to allow even concrete spreading without interfering with the forms. Other installers rely on the reciprocating saw that doesn’t feature a blade to offer a light vibration needed to safely distribute the concrete.

Avoid Overcomplicating ICF Construction

Mostly, structural engineers overcomplicate insulated concrete forms construction since they handle the tech as if it’s a complicated building system. Note that the insulated concrete forms formwork do not fall under systems or structural components. Generally, insulated concrete forms formwork remains in position permanently for cast-in-place concrete walls.

Mechanical Systems Of The Right Size

The standard-issue experienced in the commercial construction sector is the mechanical engineering part.  The engineer should find mechanical systems of the right size to ensure buildings with ICF remain efficient and cut off the cooling/heating costs.

Large systems are not the most preferred because they can cause moisture/humidity problems on the interior. As a result, mechanical engineers must consider the building envelope’s tightness, the ICF thermal mass, and the original R-value.  A significant percentage of commercial HVAC  engineers carry a modeling device that can consider the walls’ zero air infiltration and the insulation’s continuous R-value.

Corner Window Challenge


Corner window unit designs need extensive detailing, featuring rebar cantilever action since there are no corner posts. These units can also be robust enough to support metal framing and wood. However, they may not support the concrete weight.

Remember The Fasteners

Consider using the fasteners recommended by exterior/interior finish suppliers when incorporating anything to ICFs. Metal-webbed ICFs work well with self-tapping screws, while plastic-webbed ICFs may need sharp, course-threaded screws.


In case you have architectural, structural, and MEP design requirements for making buildings with ICF, feel free to contact us.  We provide you with the full permit set design + T24.