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Stable Block Construction in ICF

Construction of Stable Blocks with ICF.

Traditional Stable Block Construction.

Traditionally stable blocks have been designed and built in timber. However, all the traditional drawbacks of timber (i.e. longevity, decay, harbour for insects etc.) have always been a problem. Many stable blocks have also been built using hollow dense concrete blocks that are reinforced and then filled with concrete. These are very robust and can withstand the tantrums of temperamental animals but are not insulated and do require lots of very hard manual work to install.

As summers get hotter, there is no doubt that the major disadvantage of timber stables is the heat. This is because timber buildings lack effective thermal mass. In the UK, the night time temperature is normally between 5-10°C lower than during the day. If a building is well insulated and has high thermal mass it will still be cool inside at midday and the air inside will only start to get up to the external air temperature much later in the day.

In summer the high thermal mass of ICF will allow the doors to be shut during the hottest part of the day and opened later to allow natural ventilation to work.

ICF Stable Block Design.

Factors to consider when choosing a layout:

The Number of horses will, of course, always determine how many stables are needed. The following will need to be considered in the space that is available:

  • Budget: Evaluate the cost of different layout options.
  • Horses’ needs: Consider factors like ventilation, shelter, and social interaction.
  • Desired amenities: Decide if you need additional facilities like tack rooms, feed rooms, or wash bays.
  • Future expansion: Consider whether you might need to add more stables in the future.

Already have drawings or sketches?

Please send us the details of the stable block required. We will provide a proposal to provide the ICF Polybloks along with detailed drawings for construction on a self-build basis or by your local builder.

Typical Stable Block Details

ICF can provide the benefits of high thermal mass along with ease and speed of construction and is probably the ideal solution for your new stable block. The sketch shows how a typical stable block might be constructed with a concrete floor on beds of gravel to maximise the thermal mass effect.

The internal dividing walls between indvidual stables also need to be considered as they are an essential element of the project and need to be just as sturdy as the external walls. They can be built in timber or dense concrete blocks but consideration needs to be given regarding the fixings of the ends of the internal wall to the external ICF walls.

Fixing the ends of the walls, the cost and delay involved in needing brick-layers and the ability to fill the interior walls with concrete at the same time as the exterior walls will probably result in the total construction cost of a block with ICF internal walls being about the same as that using concrete blocks.

ICF Stable Block Layout.

Straight Block.

  • Layout: Stables arranged in a straight line, sometimes with a central internal aisle.
  • Advantages: Simple design, efficient use of space, good ventilation.
  • Considerations: Can be less sheltered from wind and weather, less social interaction for horses.


  • Layout: Stables form an L-shape, creating a sheltered corner.
  • Advantages: Efficient use of space, good shelter for horses, can accommodate additional facilities like tack rooms or feed storage.
  • Considerations: Layout can limit expansion options.


  • Layout: Stables arranged in a U-shape, enclosing a central courtyard.
  • Advantages: Sheltered from wind and weather, promotes social interaction for horses, can accommodate multiple facilities.
  • Considerations: Requires more space, can be less efficient for smaller stable yards.

E-Shaped or Complex.

  • Layout: Stables form an E-shape, with multiple wings extending from a central block.
  • Advantages: Ideal for larger stable yards with varying needs, can accommodate separate areas for different horse groups or activities.
  • Considerations: More complex design, requires more space.

ICF Construction

Call us if you need more detailed information for your ICF project, browse our technical library and FAQs for construction details using Polybloks.