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  • Writer's pictureNexGenICF

Can’t We All Get Along?

“The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.” - Sir Winston Chuchill

According to an article from Eye on Housing in September 2020, for 2019 completions, 90% of new homes were wood-framed. Another 10% were concrete-framed homes, and less than half a percent was steel-framed. On a count basis, there were 814,000 wood-framed homes completed in 2019.

Single Family Framing Types

ICF social media platforms have been established to pair laggards to early adaptors. They have been created for the installers to show off their craft. Training venues and methods litter the internet with experts and people willing to share what they have learned with those that are wanting to learn. 20 years ago, when I started, this there was none of this. The way in which a new ICF adaptor would learn is by failing…failing and hopefully learning. Magazines like ICF Builder and Facebook groups like ICF Builder Group, ICF construction, and ICF-Insulated Concrete forms are here for all to express and share what they have learned, good or bad.

So, why are ICF enthusiasts more interested in tearing down and bashing other ICF manufacturers that don’t fit their logistics, their budget, or even their skill set. For the industry to close this gap of wood construction every single ICF builder needs to bond together. The fight is not from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is not from a block 18” x 8’ to 12” x 4’. A block system versus a panelized system. The fight is a 2x4 or a 2x6. The fight is TGI floor joists being placed inside of ICF walls. For this industry to grow market share we need every one of these online experts to spend less time talking negatively about an ICF competitor and more time focusing on why ICF is the win. For me, I represent a manufacturer and have way more invested and vested than the normal ICF person. Do I want every job, every opportunity? Absolutely! However, for me to lose to another ICF builder, salesman, or educator may hurt short term, but it is a win for the long haul.

The ICF industry is a small, tight knit group. It is made up of people that have taken this concept and learned it for a variety of reasons. They have learned it because they have had a customer asking them-forcing them to. They learned it because the positives of doing it heavily outweigh the reasons for not doing it. They learned it to be different and set themselves apart creating a niche for themselves. The ICF industry has very few like-minded people in an area to network with. It leaves builders, architects, and engineers on an island and alone in many cases. It leaves homeowners and end users defending their selection and construction method. Code enforcement, insurance adjustors and bankers are learning the pros and cons as builders develop scopes of work and schedules to adapt.

ICF has a goal and a large market share to gain, occupy, and take. Steel construction and masonry construction is an enemy to all of us. However, architects and developers asking for and designing with wood is the nemesis. The builder accepting a contract to build with a 2x4 is our target in this industry…not a builder grabbing a piece of foam. I will leave you with this thought: “Why do developers personally build ICF homes for themselves and their family and not for the projects they want your family to move into?” I have witnessed this first hand dozens of times in the past and my theory is based on the fact they understand what ICF has to offer in terms of safety, energy savings, and all the other cliché reasons obviously; but the main reason is they know the buildings they build will fill up regardless of quality, regardless of method and regardless of anyone asking for it, so why not delay it? Why not change to energy star appliances, LED lights, and other methods to get us part of the way? Was Sir Winston Churchill talking about developer’s procrastination or their willingness to get “part of the way?”

The consequences of not building with ICF are being shown daily with fires, mother nature’s disasters and monthly with utility costs. The consequences of ICF guys fighting with ICF guys makes the wood framers sigh in relief as this keeps the pressure off of them, and keeps them from needing to make a decision…a decision to go halfway or the distance.

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