What is ICF?

Insulated concrete formwork, also known as ICF, is a construction method that uses polystyrene blocks, locked together and filled with concrete. These panels offer excellent insulation and airtightness performance, whilst being competitively priced against other mainstream walling systems.

Here we list eight projects that were all build using the same construction method.

1. DIY ICF Self Build

DIY ICF Self Build

Richard Baldwin chose insulated concrete formwork blocks from BecoWallform for his self-build, which he then clad with a traditional brick exterior. His project came in for a modest build cost of just £85,000.

2. Contemporary Self Build by the Sea

Coastal self build, built using ICF

This contemporary seaside home in West Sussex was built using ICF panels from Durisol. Self-builders Catherine and Adas were keen to invest in the building fabric to create a low-maintenance home with low energy bills.

3. Contemporary Seaside Home

Contemporary self build featuring ICF

Gavin and Fiona Breeze built their highly energy efficient seaside home using ICF, with the exterior covered with an insulating render from Envirowall, a silicone based system well suited to coastal areas.

4. Oak Frame Self Build on a Slope

Stone clad self build, featuring ICF

Jo and Dave Reeves used two construction methods for their self-build. The lower ground floor is partially recessed into the hillside and is constructed from ICF. Above is an insulated green oak frame from Welsh Oak Frame.

5. A Classical-style Self Build

Classical style self build build with ICF

David and Marge Edwards built their Classically-inspired self build using ICF. David chose panels from Polarwall for the external walls for its sensible construction principles and high levels of insulation — the achieved U value is just 0.19.

6. Traditional Efficient Home

Traditional style self build built with ICF

This traditional-style home was self-built in just seven months by Stephen Evans and Philippa King. An ICF system was employed to create the retaining walls, and the walls and roof above were constructed with structural insulated panels (SIPs) from Kingspan TEK.

7. Stone Clad ICF Self Build


Image: Jeremy Phillips

In the self build above, Lisa and Nigel Dunnington chose BecoWallform blocks for its fast build time and high levels of insulation.

8. A Handcrafted House

ICF Self Build built for £100k

This low-slung, horseshoe-shaped house built over the stream was constructed from ICF. Self-builder Robin Cochrane had been involved in building his parents’ home using the same material and so was already familiar with the process. However, constructing his own property brought with it some site-specific challenges, including creating a culvert to channel the existing stream.

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