• ICF house build in Adelaide

    G'day everyone.
    I am an owner builder in Adelaide, building a large ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) house, using a system from Danish Constructions Insulbrick
    After seeing sundancewfs ICF extension project thread I thought I better start my own rather than hijack his.
    I will start with a few pictures of the work to date and go from there.
    If anyone has any comments or questions I will be happy to discuss them with you.
    So here goes.




    The start of the first slab, sewer trench cut and mid level main beam (27/8/2007)


    Bottom level slab (2/10/2007)


    First two beams in place, formwork stripped off drop piers, first row of blocks started


    Walls up to row 5 ready to be poured (6/6/2008)


    Ready for pour to full height (2/10/2008)


    Veranda columns and beams up (3/11/2008)


    Dwarf walls, ready for Bondek between slab on ground and suspended slab.


    I am true owner builder and I am doing as much of the construction myself as I can. These are the braces I made (50 of them) to hold the ICF in place until the concrete has been poured and set. They have already be hired out to 3 other jobs since my pour, so they are now paying for themselves. The material cost to make them was less than the hire cost in the first place so I think the time was well spent.


    Lifting steel beams using a 2 tonne chain block and a gantry frame that will eventually be cut down into veranda columns.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: ICF house build in Adelaide started by Belair_Boy View original post
    Comments 115 Comments
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Quote Originally Posted by woodbe View Post
      Your AV room is going to be awesome, 4800 high wall !!
      I am going to have to disappoint everyone. As much as I wish the AV room was going to end up 4800 high, 1800 is in the roof space so the ceiling height will be just under 3000.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      One of my auction purchases was about 100 screwjacks for the shore frames but they had been left in the weather and had gone rather rusty.
      After cleaning a few with a wire brush in the angle grinder, which was effective but a little time consuming I experimented with some rust removal techniques.


      The one on the right is straight from the stillage, with the one on the left after a few days in a citric acid solution. Citric acid can be bought in the supermarket baking section and one canister was dissolved in about 20 litres of water. The result is good but there is some etching of the metal.


      I then tried a new technique, the jacks are immersed in a molasses and water solution for a couple of weeks. The results are amazing.
      The rust is completely removed with no damage to the base metal. The dark patch in the center was where the nut had been sitting. The nut was moved and the jack re-immersed to remove the residual rust. The molasses is mixed with water in a 1:9 ratio and after the couple of week soaking the part is given a blast with a pressure washer to remove the resulting sludge. I now have a wheely bin full of molasses, water and screwjacks.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -

      Shore frames in place with steel RHS bearers to support the off form slab formwork.




      The shore frames in the kitchen and meals area supporting temporary intermediate beams.


      All the "Bondek" in place. It is not actually Bondek (except for the galv coloured bits) but Fielders KingFlor RF55, as I was able to get it at a better price. It is very similar to Bondek but in this case is two pans wide 400 mm rather than the three pans of Bondek. The blue coating is to cut down reflection and prevent sunburn in painful places (if you are wearing shorts)
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -

      Unfortunately the local joinery business closed down recently but it resulted in some very heavily discounted machines.
      I am now the proud owner of a sliding table panel saw (above), a 600mm thicknesser and spindle moulder. I just need to clear the shed of building materials to give me somewhere to use them. I moved the saw to the workshop area under the house (not an easy task as it weighs close to 900kg) as I need to use it to rip the oregon timber joists for the off form slab formwork.
    1. Gaza's Avatar
      Gaza -
      That's seriously nice saw
    1. jatt's Avatar
      jatt -
      oregan -one doesnt see much of that being used these days. have used once before when I didnt want to add intermediate post and where TP would have sagged thru the span.

      Nice pickup on the workshop gear. Bit of shed envy here cause I only have a 300 mm thicknessor and the closest thing I have to a tablesaw is the portable rail saw.
    1. sundancewfs's Avatar
      sundancewfs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Belair_Boy View Post
      Unfortunately the local joinery business closed down recently but it resulted in some very heavily discounted machines.
      I am now the proud owner of a sliding table panel saw (above), a 600mm thicknesser and spindle moulder. I just need to clear the shed of building materials to give me somewhere to use them. I moved the saw to the workshop area under the house (not an easy task as it weighs close to 900kg) as I need to use it to rip the oregon timber joists for the off form slab formwork.
      That's it! I'm buying a bigger welder!
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Some more pictures before too much time passes without another update.


      All the parts for the off form slab and garage lintel formwork ready for some serious time with the impact driver.


      The reinforcing for the upper level slab and walls, all 3700kg of it. The truck that delivered the reo was too long to get off the road so he dumped it all at the foot of the drive. A quick call to Dominic (a crane truck driver I have used before) and in a couple of hours it had been reloaded, driven the 175m up to the house and craned onto the middle level slab.


      The oregon joists being set out over the steel bearers.


      With a bit of help from a couple of my mates, all the reinforcing was lifted up onto the Bondek. The SL92 sheets were laid out first and the bars for the off form slab stacked ready to be dragged across.


      The inside shutters for the cast concrete lintel being started. The shutters were made up in sections on the ground then fixed into position.


      The formwork for the bottom of the lintel and associated support timbers positioned between the garage door columns.


      Struts fixed to the inside shutters to strengthen the assembly and resist the forces of the wet concrete.


      The formply formwork floor being laid out. Only a few nails along the front edge are being used to hold the formply in position. The weight of the reinforcing and then concrete will keep the formply firmly against the joists. Stripping the formwork will be a lot easier without a lot of fasteners to contend with.


      Laying out the N20 rods at 200 mm centers.


      The bottom grid of reinforcing in position. N20 at 200 centers in one direction and N16 at 200 centers the other, 30 mm off the formply.
      N12 bars in the long direction have been laid out ready for the top grid. N12 bars in the short direction extend onto the Bondek section 1 m past the first steel beam so are in fact 9 m long (not so short)


      The lintel cage reinforcing, 2 x N20 bars top and bottom with a pair of N12 in the middle, W8 ligatures at 200 centers. SL82 mesh will be fixed to the outside face. 50mm spacer block were used to hold the cage in position while it was being tied together and removed once the cage had become a ridged structure.


      The view between the top and bottom reinforcing layers. Some SL82 mesh has been used (as well as chairs) to separate the top and bottom layers.
    1. ringtail's Avatar
      ringtail -
      My God Man ! What a mission . Looks awesome though. No way in the world would I attempt it ( read, put myself through such agony ). I would have made a tilt slab area and craned the finished panels into position. Champion effort BB
    1. sundancewfs's Avatar
      sundancewfs -
      Amazing work Belair!
      I must admit.... if I was going to do another ICF build from scratch, I would be going the suspended slab option for the upper storeys. Floor trusses are all good and well, but no matter how much sound insulation you have( and we have a lot!) The sounds of footfalls on the floor above are still quite noticeable.
      Well Done
    1. Gaza's Avatar
      Gaza -
      Is the reason for the off form finish to gargage vs bondek cause it will be seen as there is no ceiling? Wouldn't it been cheaper to just put ceiling in than do off form finish ?
    1. Moondog55's Avatar
      Moondog55 -
      OMG
      I've seen bomb shelters and nuclear fortifications with less concrete and steel reinforcing in them LOL
      But "Do it Right" the first time and it will last almost forever
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
      I would have made a tilt slab area and craned the finished panels into position.
      Thanks for the thumbs up Ringtail.

      Not easy getting a crane big enough for the job onto site. I have very difficult access and am limited to the size of vehicle I can get to the house. I did consider offsite precast floor panels but I could not get them onsite. Casting onsite would be possible but the panels would have to be small enough to lift with the size of crane I could use. It would end up being a lot of work and pouring off form worked out the easiest and most straight forward path. Everything I have used for the off form slab I can lift by myself, a lot of bits but relatively easy to manage. I did need my DIY hoist to lift the steel bearers but could still do it alone.
      Most things can be done one way or another but there is always the tradeoff between ease, cost and time.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gaza View Post
      Is the reason for the off form finish to gargage vs bondek cause it will be seen as there is no ceiling? Wouldn't it been cheaper to just put ceiling in than do off form finish ?
      G'day Gaza
      I would have been happy with either Bondek or off form concrete as the ceiling finish so it was not part of the decision process.
      The reason for the off form slab rather than using Bondek is not for the finish but rather from an engineering perspective. It is a 6.5m x 10m slab with no beams, columns or other supports apart from the perimeter walls. Bondek would not support a slab over about 170mm think for a 6.5m span and at this thickness the deflection and 'spring' would be unacceptable. To reduce deflection and spring a thicker slab is needed and exceeds the capacity of bondek, thus off form was the way to go.
      This is my first off form slab of any real size so it is a good learning exercise and something different to try.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      The engineer has been, inspected the reo and has given me the tick of approval, so the final slab pour has been scheduled for Thursday 31st October.
      Wish me luck and good weather.
      There is still the list of last minute things to be done and I will have the final rush up to the pour day but it will all come together one way or another. Nothing like a deadline to put the pressure on!


      Photo from the camera mount showing the stairs I have put up to make accessing the upper level easy.
      A lucky find on gumtree for $100 and two leftover shore frames. The access is at the upper level balcony off the master bedroom and so will still be usable when the walls start to go up. I can see these stairs being used for a good while to come.


      The boxing for the laundry chute and associated crack control reinforcing rods.


      I have put in conduit and junction boxes for the lights in the garage and power to the garage door openers.
      Luckily there were no reo bars in the way of where I wanted to place them. Murphy must have been on holiday that day.


      Another step closer to slab pour day.
    1. JB1's Avatar
      JB1 -
      Excellent work!!

      Looking forward to the next update and good luck on Thursday.


      Sent from my iPhone 4S using Tapatalk
    1. phild01's Avatar
      phild01 -
      Great work, but I'm really interested in the styro cutter you made. I would have thought coat hanger wire resistance would short out your power supply. Can you give an update on this? thanks Phil
    1. shauck's Avatar
      shauck -
      What you've done so far would probably break me, mind and spirit. Incredibly impressive! Hope your pour goes real well and the weather is awesome.
    1. Smergen's Avatar
      Smergen -
      Quote Originally Posted by shauck View Post
      What you've done so far would probably break me, mind and spirit. Incredibly impressive! Hope your pour goes real well and the weather is awesome.
      What she said....
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
      I'm really interested in the styro cutter you made. I would have thought coat hanger wire resistance would short out your power supply. Can you give an update on this?
      G'day Phil, sure can. Let me take some measurements and I will post an update. I have never actually looked at what current the secondary is carrying so it will be interesting to find out.