Do you think building with wood is both faster and less expensive than building with concrete (insulated concrete forms)?

If so, you’re not alone.

A lot of people think that this is true, especially when it comes to 4-6 story mid-rise buildings.

However, it’s not actually the case. In fact, this blog post will show you exactly what happened when HP Builders Inc., a construction company based out of Winnipeg, built two nearly identical mid-rise buildings with one made of wood and the other made out of insulated concrete forms.

Keep in mind that these buildings were built right next to each other and were built at the exact same time.

Building with Wood Vs. Concrete: HP Builders’ Experience

  • The Wood Construction Was Much More Complex.The wood home had 28 wall designs and a variety of lintels and beam designs. In contrast, the ICF building had just two wall designs (this included an 8” core in the parkade, a 6” core for the above grade walls and one basic lintel design for the entire building).

It also required a lot more tools and equipment as well, from a telehandler to a variety of saws, drills, impact wrenches, cords and so on. The ICF construction, however, required just a crane, some drills, saws, rebar tie wire and levels.

HP Builders Inc. selected Logix Brands for their ICFs, which emphasizes the ease of building with ICFs, particularly with their “6 steps in one simple package” as illustrated below:

In fact, there have been instances where a single builder installed every single ICF block himself!

  • Wood Construction Required Double the Crew = High Labour Costs. With the complexity of the wood-framed building, between 15 and 20 labourers (for a total of 18,000 hours) were required to complete the build. In contrast, the ICF build only required a team of 8 and took only 12,000 hours. The ICF construction was also able to be built through less than ideal conditions (think: wet and cold), which can bring wood construction to a halt.

While the two buildings had a similar end cost, the wood-framed construction had high labour costs. With less labour built into the final cost, the ICF build resulted in a much higher-quality construction in the end. On top of this, many builders find that building with ICFs results in much more predictable costs than building with wood as well.

The video below Harvey Schellenberg, the owner of HP Builders Inc. discusses why he chose to build with ICFs (and Logix Brands, in particular):

Why I Build With ICFs

Wrapping it Up

The idea that it’s both cheaper and faster to build with wood isn’t necessarily true. In fact, HP Builders Inc.’s experience shows that building with ICFs is actually faster (and easier) and results in less labour costs compared to wood, resulting in a higher quality end product.

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to comparing wood to ICFs. ICFs are also much more energy-efficient, comfortable and disaster-resilient than wood as well.

Content provided by: Andy Lennox, President at Logix Brands Inc