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ICF Reinforcement

Plain or reinforced concrete.

Plain concrete ICF walls do not require reinforcement and can only carry the same loading as a brick wall.

Reinforced ICF walls can resist bending loads just like reinforced concrete beams and so can carry a wide variety of loading and are designed to the same Codes of Practice.

Does ICF need to be reinforced?

When Polybloks are used to replace cavity walls in a domestic dwelling reinforcement is not required as stated in the Polysteel BBA Certificate. This also states that the system is suitable for buildings up to 18m high and even then reinforcement may not be required if the building has a structural frame.

On the other hand, reinforcement is required when the structural designer is taking advantage of the unique structural qualities of ICF to resist wind and other loading.

For instance, industrial and agricultural buildings normally incorporate structural steel portal frames just to resist wind loading. However, if the walls were built up to the eaves with reinforced concrete ICF the complexity and cost of structural frames are entirely avoided.

Plain or Reinforced Concrete?

Plain concrete ICF can be used when it is replacing brick and block construction that has been designed in accordance with Approved Document A – Section 2 of the Building Regulations. But designers can also take advantage of the Design Rules in BS EN 1992-1-1:2004 which allows the use of reinforcement in plain concrete to provide lintels over openings.

Projects that might need reinforcement:

Residence with a basement or large open floor areas.
Swimming pool hall.
Building on a hilltop, the coast or any exposed site.
Warehouse, industrial building or garage.
Barn or agricultural building.
Retaining wall.

Unnecessary reinforcement will increase costs.

An experienced Structural Engineer will not make the mistake that just because one area of the ICF walls need to be reinforced, every wall needs to be reinforced. This is not generally true and can be expensive for the Client.

Structural Advantages of Reinforced ICF.

Most dwellings and commercial/small industrial units can be divided into separate & adjacent ICF cells using the internal walls. These cells can be arranged to support beam and block floors or hollow core slabs at ground/upper levels.

These internal ICF cells can be used to substantially reduce the amount of structural steelwork required in any type of building.

Reinforced concrete ICF walls can be designed to resist wind loading in any building. The roof structure can consist of steel or timber trusses.

Projects can be completed in half the time at much lower cost because steel frames are not required.

The individual cells formed by the ICF walls at basement or foundation level can incorporate thinner base slabs spanning between the walls of the cell. Every cell is a rigid box of concrete that will not crack or move under loading so any damage caused by foundation movement is extremely rare in ICF buildings.

If a building is designed by an engineer experienced with ICF then costly thick slab foundations or piling can be avoided.

ICF Polybloks are uniquely useful in the construction of basements. The retaining walls can be easily and quickly built using semi-skilled site labour and can easily be extended above ground up to the eaves of the building.

ICF walls can be built faster at lower cost than any other type.

When retaining walls are required, for instance in warehouses or agricultural buildings, the walls of the ICF cells can be lined with stainless steel to provide storage for food products (etc.) that have to be kept clean and uncontaminated.

The ICF walls provide the building frame and the retaining walls, all whilst providing a low cost structure.

Wide openings can be provided in any wall at very low cost by adding a few reinforcing bars above the void. Bi-fold doors often jam because of temperature change deflactions in supporting steelwork. Small openings for windows and doors are easily formed in ICF.

Wall openings easily formed at low cost.

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.