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Availability of Draft ICF Protocol for Public Review

An Expert Panel appointed by the Management Board of the National Evaluation Service, Inc. (NES) Building Innovation Center (BIC), with the assistance of Walker Engineering, Inc. of Birmingham AL, has developed a protocol to facilitate the evaluation and acceptance of insulating concrete form (ICF) technology. That protocol will be available for review and comment from November 1, 2000 until December 31, 2000 and can be secured from the NES web site at or by contacting NES.

ICF s are forms for poured concrete walls that stay in place as a permanent part of the wall assembly. The forms, made of foam insulation, are either pre-formed interlocking blocks or separate panels connected with plastic ties. The left-in-place forms not only provide a continuous insulation and sound barrier, but also a backing for drywall on the inside and stucco, lap siding, or brick on the outside. Flat systems yield a continuous thickness of concrete. Grid systems (screen-grid and waffle-grid) have patterns where concrete thickness varies.

The objective of the effort is to facilitate deployment and use of ICF technology. Availability of the evaluation protocol will facilitate a determination of the acceptability of various ICF products, materials, and assemblies in meeting building construction regulations through issuance of an NES National Evaluation Report on a specific ICF technology. It will also facilitate evaluation of other considerations that go beyond code and are considered important to the performance and acceptance of ICF technology. Manufacturers of ICF technology will be able to use the protocol to establish the scope of the evaluation for their ICF product(s) and the requisite testing and documentation needed to support the evaluation. This in turn will better prepare them to secure a more timely and robust evaluation by NES. The protocol focuses on structural, fire and thermal properties of ICF technology as well as durability, maintenance and constructability issues.

The Expert Panel who developed the evaluation protocol is comprised of individuals with backgrounds in ICF prefabrication and installation, civil engineering, structural engineering, building design, manufacturing, materials science, building construction and construction management, code enforcement and building inspection, research, product development and testing, and architecture.

This effort is being conducted in support of the public/private Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH)). With the support of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the NES will direct this particular effort toward the PATH goal to accelerate the creation and widespread use of advanced technologies in housing.

More information on PATH is available at The National Evaluation Service, Inc. develops and implements programs to evaluate both traditional and innovative technologies for applications in buildings. NES reports are issued to provide information to governmental units or agencies that utilize the model codes promulgated by BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI, as well as the International Code Council whose members are the three U.S. model code organizations. The NES-BIC provides an additional focus on evaluation of technology beyond minimum code considerations. Through the use of NES evaluation reports the building industry can secure more timely acceptance of building technology. The NES web site at contains additional information about NES.

Content updated on 2/13/2003

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