A Brief History of ICF Block Construction

How the concept of ICF block construction first came to be.

Construction with Insulating Concrete Forms (or ICF block construction) has a great reputation for keeping the internal temperatures of residential and commercial properties regulated year round. Insulated concrete wall forms are both environmentally friendly and improve the energy efficiency of buildings and homes so naturally, ICF block construction is commonly used for green building and sustainable building projects. But where did it all get started? Let’s dig in and learn a little bit more about the history of this product that has become so vital for the construction of energy efficient homes and buildings.

The patent for the very first ICF showed up in 1967. The idea first came to a general contractor named Werner Gregori one day while he watched his kids playing on the beach and started thinking about the foam cooler they were using to keep their drinks cool. He started wondering about the possibilities of a foam concrete block system that could cut construction costs like materials and labor for construction companies. Little did he know, his initial idea would result in a series of game-changing products in the sustainable building industry.

After Gregori received his patents from the U.S. and Canada, he traveled to Germany to show his ideas to BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world and the creator of EPS, and they developed his product idea even further. At the time, he had no idea that ICF block construction would have such an impact on the green building market and the construction industry in general.

One of the first ICF block construction projects built in North America was a home in Oakville, Ontario. The project was completed in the spring of 1969 and it was highly publicized by the media. Commercial construction with ICF block construction began in Ontario that same year.

Since then, many improvements have been made to insulated concrete wall forms and the lightweight product is commonly used in the construction of eco friendly homes and sustainable building projects today. Many contractors and construction companies believe that ICF block construction is the future of the construction industry and sustainable architecture. What do you think?

To learn more about the in depth history of ICF block construction and the man behind the idea, visit ICF Builder Magazine online.

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