The construction industry has undergone significant changes in the last century. As skyscrapers and unique forms of construction have emerged rapidly, engineers and architects have been forced to foray into the unknown and invest in products that can help them meet the rising demand.
A significant part of this change is the rise of the sustainable building industry, where the aim is to use non-renewable resources efficiently and reduce waste. And one of the most important inventions that supported these goals were Insulating Concrete Forms or, as they are commonly known, ICF blocks.
The patent for the very first ICF can be traced back all the way to 1967. For decades, ICF provided a reliable formwork solution, intended to help negate the adverse environmental impact and increase energy efficiency.
However, as is always the case with technology, advancements in the field have led to the creation of a product that provides greater feasibility than conventional ICF: Octaform.
ICF Blocks vs. Octaform – What’s The Difference?
ICF blocks have long been the benchmark forming system of the sustainable building industry, but rapid advancements in construction technology have allowed for the development of better products – just like Octaform.
Let’s analyze the features of the two types of formwork systems to see where the difference lies:
ICF blocks were a revolutionary product at the time of their launch because they reduced the construction time significantly. Decreased curing times, an easily manageable formwork system and no additional need to strip and clean forms meant that you could save a lot of time.
When it comes to Octaform, the system is also very manageable and doesn’t require time-consuming cleaning and maintenance. This allows users to cut down construction time even further due to its cutting-edge features.
As a stay-in-place forming system, the concrete wall is formed and finished in one step. Thanks to the durability afforded by PVC, you don’t even require additional coating or cladding that increases the cost as well as the time required to complete a project.
As construction continues to become more innovative and architects routinely work on projects that would be implausible a couple of decades ago, the construction materials need to be extremely versatile.
ICF blocks, by virtue of their design, are highly stiff; this rigidity means that your design options are inherently restricted. For instance, curved walls constitute an important part of many structures such as tanks, plants, or even some buildings. Forming curved walls from ICF blocks is an incredibly hard task as their inflexibility can affect the structural integrity of a building.
In stark contrast, Octaform is a highly versatile formwork system – its flexible yet impenetrable wall system allows architects to fully utilize their creative skills. Alongside the trademark PVC lining, it is widely used to create curved walls.
Particularly when it comes to concrete tanks, they are known to be one of the world’s leading solution providers.
Compared to conventional formwork systems, ICF blocks offer enhanced sustainability due to a tighter and firm construction technique. Additional sealants and cladding lead to increased energy performance as well.
On the other hand, Octaform has taken structural sustainability to a new level. Firstly, a flat structure allows it to have a very small shipping footprint as opposed to straight-form ICF blocks.
Furthermore, in-built insulation provides excellent R-values that maximize thermal mass and reduce energy consumption. With the PVC finish allowing for greater protection against moisture and corrosion, Octaform provides a significantly higher degree of sustainability.
While both ICF blocks and Octaform are highly popular formwork systems, they have various features that set them apart.
With a greater degree of versatility, sustainability and strength, Octaform not only provides the same capabilities as ICF blocks, but goes above and beyond with industry-leading features that cement its spot as the world’s leading system.