Lego Fans Rejoice: Construction ICF Blocks


Son of Liberty
Today I attended a mandatory pre-bid meeting for the Buchanan Energy Center for Clovis California. Its about a 15-20 million dollar project (which isnt out of the ordinary) however this project is in fact special. Its going to be one of the first Commercial/Industrial Projects to use "ICF Blocks".

ICF stands for Insulated Concrete Foam, it is a stay-in-place formwork for energy-efficient, cast-in-place, reinforced concrete walls. Lemme explain some of the more Boring stuff before I get to the fun part. Because the foam acts as an insulator, there are minimal if any, air leaks. Which improves the thermal resistance meaning less heat loss compared with walls without an air barrier. There are many many other boring little facts about the ICF Blocks, but for now thats the main selling point.

So here they are, just like your box of Legos... this is what ICF blocks look like:

This next picture is of the ICF blocks being used as the preliminary building frame:

and then finally an up close of the ICF blocks where a standard 3'0 x 7'0 door is being cut into the form

When the building is completely formed, they pump just run of the mill Structural Concrete through the core of the whole wall set up. Thus providing its strength and durability (also giving it the C in ICF :hah:)

Pretty cool stuff huh! Prior to this one in my area, all they have used the ICF blocks for has been Residential. Its a really neat concept, however the downfall is it they say it makes a project 5% more expensive to build using this method. But to be honest... 5% more cost will greatly be outweighed in just the amount of savings to be had later on in Cooling and Heating costs!

Thoughts? Comments? I thought this was a pretty kick ass thing myself and would definitely try to influence it into my future home if I ever get the opportunity to have a house built.
Last edited:


/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
You think I won't take this thread? :lol:

First of all, I know now where your Buchanan came from.

Next, my father in law likes building stuff. He also invented a wooden construction game (best described as similar to Lego construction). However, after seeing these pictures, they look exactly like the ICF blocks (but miniature and in wood). Anyway, why is it called foam? It doesn't look foamy to me. :shifteyes:


Son of Liberty
Ah, good question! The version they are using where I'm at is made from a hardened version of "Extruded Polyurethane/ethylene". You might more commonly recognize that as a "Pool Noodle"!

As long as you can consider those "foam" based then you can understand where the foam name comes from.

But really Foams like that have been used even before the ICF Blocks, Most Industrial centers here in town have "cornice" moldings or trims around either the top of the building, around windows, or even at a wainscot height. Those are primarily made of a Stiff Urethane Foam that just gets a small dash coat of Stucco and then Paint, it makes the building look pretty for a really cheap cost compared to the olden way of doing it by carving it out of wood or stone.