Fox Blocks insulated concrete forms (ICFs) create multi-story residential buildings that are disaster-resistant, energy-efficient, healthy, quiet, and environmentally friendly. Fox Blocks are also fast and simple to install and durable; all features that save multi-story residential building contractors and owners time and money.

The Increasing Popularity of Multi-Story Residential Buildings

The Benefits of Building Multi-story Residential Buildings with ICF Blocks 1Many people today, from millennials to retirees, are drawn to multi-story residential buildings because they are typically more affordable and lower-maintenance than single-family homes, which saves money and increases free time. Consequently, multi-story residential building starts, completions, and permits have risen steadily since 2011, after diminishing significantly as a result of the 2008 recession.

Today’s residents of multi-story residential buildings are also looking for housing that is energy-efficient, healthy, quiet, and safe. In addition, the owners of multi-story residential buildings want a structure that is durable and minimizes long-term maintenance costs.

In response to the demands of occupants and owners of multi-story residential buildings, contractors and architects are challenged to build and design high-performing multi-story residential buildings that are durable, energy-efficient, comfortable, low maintenance and have good indoor air quality (IAQ). An ideal wall system for achieving all these features is insulated concrete forms (ICFs).

Modern multi-story residential housing built with ICFs are safe, energy-efficient, healthy, quiet and sustainable. ICF construction also saves contractors time and money because it is easy and quick to install and durable.

What are ICFs?

ICFs are hollow blocks or panels made with expanded polystyrene insulation (EPS) or other insulating foam. The ICFs are stacked to form the shape of the multi-story residential building walls. Steel rebar reinforces the hollow centers. Placing concrete into the hollow centers of the blocks or panels creates interior and exterior layers of continuous insulation (CI) and lessen thermal bridging throughout the wall.

Ten Benefits to Utilizing ICFs to Construct Multi-Story Residential Buildings

The Benefits of Building Multi-story Residential Buildings with ICF Blocks 2Constructing a residential building with ICFs provides ten primary advantages to the building owners, contractors, and residents.

1. ICF walls of a multi-story residential building can stand up to tornados and hurricanes, which protects the occupants and saves building owners on costly repairs after a severe wind event.

2. ICF walls for a multi-story residential buildings are fire-resistant and provide up to a four hour fire rating.

3. ICF creates earthquake resistant multi-story residential buildings.

4. ICF walls for multi-story residential buildings are energy-efficient with whole wall R-values of 20+, which saves building owners and residents money on their monthly bills.

5. ICF walls are moisture-resistant, which prevents the growth of mold. Mold is unhealthy to the occupants and can also damage the integrity of the building, which may lead to costly repairs.

6. ICFs are a healthy choice for multi-story residential buildings because they do not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

7. ICF multi-story residential buildings are quiet with high STC ratings.

8. ICF is environmentally friendly with up to 40 percent recycled content.

9. ICF construction provides flexibility in design for a multi-story residential building.

10. ICF walls are fast and easy to construct, which saves building owners and contractors money and time.

Building a Multi-Story Residential Building with Fox Block ICFs

Fox Blocks ICFs multi-story residential buildings are disaster-resistant, energy-efficient, healthy, quiet, and environmentally friendly. Fox Blocks are also quick and easy to install and durable.

Fox Block ICF Multi-Story Residential Buildings are Disaster-Resistant

Fox Block ICFs create disaster-resistant multi-story residential buildings that protect the structure and its occupants against natural disasters like fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

– Fox Blocks are wind-resistant: Fox Blocks, with steel braced concrete, will withstand severe hurricane and tornado winds surpassing 200 MPH and projectile debris flying over 100 MPH.

– Fox Blocks have a fire-resistance ASTM E119 rating of 2-hours for the 4-inch blocks and 4-hours for the 6-inch and 8-inch blocks.

– Fox Blocks are earthquake-resistant because they create shear walls that extend the entire height and all sides of the building. Steel reinforcing bars anchor the Fox Blocks ICF shear walls to the foundation. When an earthquake happens, this design effectively withstands intense sideways (lateral) in-plane forces that push the top of the wall in one direction while the bottom stays either stationary or is forced in the other direction (racking the wall).

Fox Block ICF Multi-Story Residential Buildings are Energy-Efficient

Fox Block ICF construction controls air and moisture infiltration and ensures an energy-efficient multi-story residential building. Fox Blocks provide interior and exterior CI which stops air leakage (thermal bridging) and moisture accumulation within the wall system.

– Energy-efficient Fox Blocks have an R-value of 23+ and exceed ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements  

– The high thermal mass of Fox Blocks produces a high-performing, energy-efficient multi-story residential building. High thermal mass walls absorb and store heat energy, which stabilizes temperature shifts within a structure by slowing the heat transfer rate.

Fox Block ICF Multi-Story Residential Buildings are Durable and Healthy

Fox Block ICF construction controls moisture accumulation within the wall system, which is vital to preventing the growth of mold. Mold can degrade the structural integrity and diminishes the indoor environmental quality of a multi-story residential building. Fox Block ICFs create durable and healthy multi-story residential buildings.

– Fox Blocks control moisture intrusion because the blocks provide a solid continuous monolithic concrete wall with a perm rating of below 1.0

– Fox Blocks are also healthy because they do not contain VOC.

Fox Block ICFs Create Quiet Multi-Story Residential Buildings

Soundproofing the walls of a multi-story residential building is vital for the comfort and well being of the residents. The goal of soundproofing is to limit unwanted sounds and noise pollution.

The Fox Block ICF wall system reduces the transfer of sound between interior walls and from the outside to the inside of the of a multi-story residential building. Fox Blocks have a Sound Transmission Class rating of STC 45-50+.

– Fox Blocks Contribute to a Sustainable Multi-Story Residential Building

Fox Blocks are green and environmentally friendly because they contain a minimum of up to 40 percent recycled content by weight.

Fox Block ICF Multi-Story Residential Buildings Save Owners Money

The Benefits of Building Multi-story Residential Buildings with ICF Blocks 4

Building with Fox Block ICF saves multi-story residential building owners money during and after the building process.  

– Installation of Fox Blocks is fast and easy, which saves money and time. The Fox Block wall assembly combines five building steps into one: the structure, insulation, air barrier, vapor retarder, and attachment. This feature significantly quickens project delivery time by eliminating the need to coordinate multiple trades.

– Fox Blocks minimize the need for repairs and maintenance because they resist rot and degradation, which saves the building owner money.

– Fox Blocks multi-story residential building are disaster-resistant against wind, fire, and earthquakes, which lessens the need for costly repairs after a disaster.

– Fox Blocks multi-story residential buildings are energy-efficient which saves building owners on the long-term expenses of heating and cooling.

Fox Block ICF multi-story residential buildings provide the building owners and its occupants a safe, and healthy, and quiet environment. Fox Block ICF multi-story residential buildings also lower short-term and long-term expenses because they are disaster-resistant, energy-efficient, durable, low-maintenance, and quick to install.

Oma­ha, Neb. (April 172019) – Air­lite Plas­tics acquired TRUE­GRID on April 152019, adding the per­me­able paving grid sys­tem to its line of envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tain­able con­struc­tion products.

TRUE­GRID high-per­for­mance pavers con­trol runoff, cre­ate less ther­mal pol­lu­tion and reduce waste for land­fills, among oth­er eco­log­i­cal ben­e­fits. Made of post-con­sumer recy­cled high-den­si­ty poly­eth­yl­ene, the pavers have rev­o­lu­tion­ized the con­struc­tion indus­try with ver­sa­til­i­ty, attrac­tive­ness and 100% permeability.

Some of the most rec­og­niz­able nation­al names rely on TRUE­GRID for park­ing areas, streets, walk­ways and bike paths — Whole Foods, NASCAR, Auto­Na­tion, Super Bowl LI’s Club Nomadic, the New York City Fer­ry.

Air­lite Plas­tics head­quar­ters in Oma­ha, Nebras­ka and man­u­fac­tures a wide range of cus­tom plas­tic prod­ucts for con­sumer and con­struc­tion mar­kets, includ­ing con­tain­ers and lids for food pack­ag­ing, drink cups and lids, and Fox Blocks insu­lat­ed con­crete form (ICF) build­ing blocks.

TRUE­GRID joins the fam­i­ly of Air­lite prod­ucts aimed at inno­vat­ing the sus­tain­able con­struc­tion mar­ket. The paving sys­tem is a nat­ur­al com­ple­ment to Airlite’s Fox Blocks brand of ICF build­ing blocks. TRUE­GRID will con­tin­ue to oper­ate in Hous­ton, Texas and sell under its TRUE­GRID name.

We are delight­ed to wel­come TRUE­GRID to our fam­i­ly of world-class prod­ucts,” said Brad Cros­by, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Air­lite Plas­tics. ​This excit­ing acqui­si­tion launch­es a new peri­od of strate­gic growth. Air­lite Plas­tics will aggres­sive­ly con­tin­ue to devel­op or acquire addi­tion­al sus­tain­able con­struc­tion products.”

Our com­pa­nies share a like-mind­ed pas­sion for devel­op­ing qual­i­ty prod­ucts that are both func­tion­al and envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly,” said Bar­ry Stiles, founder of TRUE­GRID. ​We are proud to join forces with Air­lite Plas­tics, a lead­ing-edge busi­ness with a track record of success.”

The com­pa­nies final­ized the acqui­si­tion on April 152019, and the terms of the agree­ment remain private.

MBS Advi­sors of Flo­rence, MA advised Air­lite Plas­tics Co. in con­nec­tion with the transaction

Media con­tact for ques­tions or inter­views: Mike Ken­naw, (8773692562mkennaw@​airliteplastics.​com

Air­lite Plas­tics is a pri­vate­ly held, fam­i­ly-owned com­pa­ny, head­quar­tered in Oma­ha, Nebras­ka for more than 60 years. Its prod­uct lines include con­tain­ers and lids for food pack­ag­ing, drink cups and lids, as well as poly­styrene cool­ers, insu­lat­ed con­crete form (ICF) build­ing blocks, and oth­er cus­tom plas­tic products.

Fox Block insulated concrete form (ICF) is an all in one wall assembly that combines five steps into one quick, easy, and safe installation, which lessen commercial construction labor costs. Impressively, commercial building contractors that choose Fox blocks can safely construct a commercial building faster and with less labor than either concrete masonry (CMU) or wood-frame construction. Fox Block ICF walls also create energy-efficient, moisture-resistant, disaster-resistant, durable, and soundproof commercial buildings.

Commercial Construction Worker Shortages are Increasing Labor Costs

Commercial Construction Labor Costs with ICF 1

Why are There Worker Shortages in the Construction Industry?

The reasons the commercial construction industry is finding it difficult to fill its labor force are attributed mostly to the industry not attracting millennials and more significantly, Trump’s immigration policies on undocumented immigrants. The Pew Research Center found that in 2016, unauthorized immigrants made up 13 percent of the construction workforce. Furthermore, in 2014, 31 percent of all drywallers, 29 percent of roofers, 26 percent of painters, and 25 percent of masons were working in the U.S. without legal authorization.
The 2018 fourth quarter commercial construction index further found that contractors believe that the skilled worker shortage is increasing labor costs, affecting productivity, schedule performance, and safety on the job site. Consequently, these builders and are searching for innovative solutions to commercial construction labor shortages.

How ICF Commercial Construction Reduces Labor Costs

Insulated concrete form (ICF) is gaining momentum in commercial construction because ICF lessens labor costs, improves comfort, and provides excellent energy efficiency. ICF construction also boosts safety ratings and sound acoustics over traditional building methods. Consequently, the global ICF market is forecasted to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.5% between 2017 and 2022.  

Fox Blocks Construction Reduces Labor Costs over Wood-Frame and CMU Construction

Fox Block ICF construction is an ideal solution to rising commercial construction labor costs because Fox Block ICF needs less labor and takes less time to construct than either wood-frame construction or concrete masonry units (CMU) walls.

ICF lessens labor expenses, over wood frame labor expenses, by eliminating the need for:

– labor to install insulation  for the foundation wall

– labor to install insulation on the interior of the envelope

– labor to frame exterior walls

– labor to finish framing the interior of the foundation wall

– labor to remove the concrete forms after pouring the foundation

– labor to apply the poly vapor barrier

There are several reasons ICF reduces labor expenses over CMU labor expenses:

Commercial Construction Labor Costs with ICF 3

– A CMU wall needs an application of insulation, which adds another trade to the job site and another day of expensive labor to the project.  

– A CMU wall often needs the application of an air and moisture barrier, which adds another trade and more labor to the project.

– ICFs are lighter than CMUs,  which quickens ICF building time over CMU.

Besides reducing construction labor costs, Fox Blocks provide many other benefits required for today’s modern commercial buildings.

– Fox Blocks, with steel reinforced concrete, are sever-wind-resistant and can withstand winds of over 200 MPH, and projectile debris traveling over 100 MPH.

– Fox Blocks achieve a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of four hours for the six-inch blocks, eight-inch forms and two hours for the four-inch forms.

– Fox Blocks create energy-efficient commercial buildings. Fox Blocks have an R-value of 23+ and exceed ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements  

– The high thermal mass of Fox Blocks produces a high-performing, energy-efficient hotel. High thermal mass walls absorb and store heat energy, which stabilizes temperature shifts within a hotel by slowing the heat transfer rate

– Fox Blocks are durable control moisture intrusion because the blocks provide a perm rating of below 1.0.

– Fox Blocks create good IEQ because they control moisture intrusion which stops the growth of unhealthy mold. In addition, Fox Blocks contain little to no VOC.

Commercial Construction Labor Costs with ICF 4

The Fox Block wall system is quick, safe, and fast to install because it is an all in one wall assembly that integrates five steps into one, including structure, air barrier,  insulation, vapor retarder, and attachment. The all in one feature hastens project delivery time by eliminating the need to coordinate multiple trades while achieving all of the wall assembly’s goals. Fox Blocks ICFs requires half the time and needs less labor to build than concrete masonry unit walls.

Fox Block ICF wall assembly avoids many of the problems associated with wood frame construction. Unlike wood frame walls, Fox Block walls are fire- and wind-resistant, durable, low thermal mass, not susceptible to shrinkage, and provide excellent indoor air quality (IAQ) and sound control.

While wood frame construction is a common building method, several problems continue to challenge contractors and building owners. Seven specific problems with wood frame construction include fire- and wind-resistance, durability, low thermal mass, shrinkage, and compromised acoustics and indoor air quality (IAQ).

Seven Problems with Wood Frame Construction

7 Problems with Wood Frame Construction1. Fire Resistant Problems with Wood Frame Construction

Building a fire-resistant wood frame building requires contractors to limit the spread of fire by cladding the wood frame in materials that resist heat and treating the wood with fire retardants. Unfortunately, this leaves wood-frame buildings in the early stages of construction especially susceptible to fire damage, before completing placement of fire protection over the wood frame.

2. Wind Resistant Problems with Wood Frame Construction

Constructing and designing of a severe-wind-resistant wood frame building is labor and cost intensive. A wind-resistant wood frame structure must include a continuous load path to the ground and missile resistance. A study by the Housing and Building National Research Center found that building a wind-resistant wood-framed structure can cost 25–30 percent more than standard construction.

3. Durability Problems with Wood Frame Construction

Building a wood frame structure that is durable is challenging because wood is susceptible to termite problems and moisture. Termites damage a structures durability. Moisture can lead to wood rot, which will degrade the integrity of a wood frame building. Both termites and moisture exposure to wood frame buildings can cost thousands of dollars in maintenance and repair.

4. Low Thermal Mass Problems with Wood Frame Construction

7 Problems with Wood Frame Construction 2The low thermal mass of wood creates buildings that are not as naturally energy-efficient as high thermal mass products like stone and adobe. High thermal mass wall products pull in and store heat energy in the day and release the energy during the cooler evenings. The process reduces the rate of heat transfer and helps to stabilize temperature shifts within a structure.

5. Shrinkage Problems with Wood Frame Multi-Story Construction

Designing and constructing a multi-story wood frame building are problematic because wood naturally shrinks when it dries. Wood frame structures can shrink up to one-fourth inch or more per floor, depending on environmental factors and the type of framing. So, a five or six story wood frame building can shrink up to more than 1.25-inch. In addition, the structure may settle when fully loaded.

6. Problems with Creating Healthy Wood Framed Buildings

Building a healthy wood frame structure is problematic because they are susceptible to moisture in the wall systems. Moisture can cause mold, which may cause allergic and asthmatic reactions in some people. Wood-frame buildings may also contain chemicals, adhesives, and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Both mold and VOCs compromise the IAQ of a building.

7. Sound Insulation Problems with Wood Frame Construction

It is challenging to construct a wood-framed building with sufficient sound insulation. Builders of wood frame structures must include time-consuming and costly methods to achieve sound reductions. Techniques for lessening sound within a wood frame building include applying a heavy board like fermacell gypsum fibreboard panels or doubling up on the plasterboard.

Solve Problems of Wood Frame Construction with Fox Block ICF

7 Problems with Wood Frame Construction 3The Fox Block insulated concrete forms (ICFs) solve many of the problems associated with wood frame construction. The Fox Block system is fire- and wind-resistant, durable, low thermal mass, and provides excellent indoor air quality and sound control. Fox Blocks are also not prone to shrinkage, like wood, so a much better choice over wood construction, particularly for multi-story structures.  

Fox Blocks are More Fire Resistant than Wood Frame Construction

Fox Blocks achieve a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of four hours for the six-inch and 8-inch Blocks and two hours for the four-inch Blocks.

Fox Blocks are More Wind-Resistant than Wood Frame Construction

Fox Blocks, with steel reinforced concrete, are sever-wind-resistant and can withstand winds of over 200 MPH, and projectile debris traveling over 100 MPH.

Fox Blocks are More Durable than Wood Frame Construction

Fox Blocks lack organic material, which termites eat, so are more durable than wood.  

Furthermore, Fox Blocks are durable because they create a solid continuous monolithic concrete wall system with a perm rating of 1.0, which controls moisture infiltration and prohibits the growth of mold, which will degrade the integrity of a building.

Fox Block have Greater Thermal Mass than Wood Frame Construction

The high thermal mass of Fox Blocks creates a high-performing, energy-efficient building.

Fox Blocks Provide Superb Indoor Air Quality

Fox Blocks, with a perm rating of less than 1.0, control moisture intrusion which stops the growth of unhealthy mold. In addition, Fox Blocks contain little to no VOC.

Fox Block Provide Excellent Sound Control

Sound transmission tests found that no more than a third of sound passes through ICF walls; providing better noise and sound insulation than lightweight timber. Fox Blocks have a Sound Transmission Classification (ASTM E90) of 4-inch=STC 46, 6- and 8-inch = STC 50+.

7 Problems with Wood Frame Construction 4

An ideal product that avoids the problems of wood frame construction is the Fox Block ICF wall assembly. Fox Blocks are fire- and wind-resistant, durable, low thermal mass, and provide excellent indoor air quality and sound control. Moreover, Fox Blocks do not shrink and are also easy to install.

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