Ghana builders are making the transition to ICFs, the new building technology of insulated concrete forms. ICFs can be used to create the stay in place formwork for nearly every exterior wall or interior demising wall. ICFs can be used for load bearing and non-load bearing wall applications, below grade foundation walls, single and multi-storey above grade walls, insulated exterior walls, fire walls, acoustic separations, and curtain wall applications.
The most popular ICF core thickness is 101 mm, which produces a concrete wall 101 mm thick surrounded by ICF panels. Ghana builders are choosing the 101 mm forms for residential projects. 152 mm, 203 mm, 254 mm, and 305 mm forms are options for larger buildings. The ICF forms comes in five different basic shapes: straight forms, 90 degree and 45 degree corner forms, T forms, and factory cut radius forms for curved walls. Buildings two storey high can use 101 mm forms. Examples include the exterior walls of houses and small offices. Three story buildings should use the 152 mm forms. Engineering is available from ICF manufacturers for buildings such as warehouses, theatres, churches, hotels, and apartments. Ghanaian builders such as Sirius Kay have made the transition to ICF construction. After talking with several clients, Sirius Kay has won two ICF hotel projects. He also won the ICF land development project of the Eliza Relief Foundation. There are some important elements to consider when making the transition to ICF construction. The first element to consider is the wall thickness. The exterior face of the ICF wall is 67 mm from the concrete core. Care should be taken to ensure that the architectural and engineering plans reflect the outer concrete wall versus the outside of the EPS panel. This insulation extends inside as well. This means that each wall is always 133 mm thicker than the actual concrete core. This may change the design of the building for usable interior space. If concrete block heights are not of concern, ICFs can be built to any desired height. For planning purposes, the form unit is based on a 457 mm height. Height adjustments are also available on a height of 76 mm. Standard forms can also be cut down to an appropriate height. Stack heights with ICF construction can be particularly important when considering footing elevations relative to grade, brick finishes relative to grade levels, floor bearing heights relative to finished grade, and floor bearing height relative to each other.
Another such Ghanaian builder that has made the transition to ICF construction is Elegant Homes. The owner of Elegant Homes even made a visit to a distributor of ICFs during his business trip in the USA. Since then, he began bidding a three storey ICF church project. Other applications for ICF construction should be considered for slab on grade, grade on floor, intermediate floor details, windows, doors, and roof connections. Reinforcement and other design tables can be found with Ghanaian builders, engineers, architects, or suppliers. Other ICF projects are scheduled to start in the new year after the Ghana ICF Conference being held in October. These builders have chosen to wait until they receive training during the conference. Other builders that have chosen to prepare before the conference are receiving a return on their efforts by being known as leaders in this new Ghanaian building technology.