Is this the best ICF home?

The “Blue House”, a Durisol ICF-built self-build home has been shortlisted for “Best ICF Home” in the 2019 Build It Awards. These annual awards celebrate all aspects of self-build and renovation, including completed projects, services and suppliers.

Only five ICF homes have made it through to the finals. Excitingly, the Durisol house is the only woodcrete ICF home on the shortlist!

The Durisol-built Blue House is a self-build three-bedroom ICF home. It was one of the first ten houses to be built at Graven Hill, the UK’s largest self-build and custom-build community. The owners, Terry and Olwen, were filmed by Fremantle for Channel 4’s “Grand Designs” The Street” which aired earlier this year.

The oldest couple on the new street, Terry and Olwen wanted a simple build method that they could undertake themselves. Although Terry had some building experience, he had never constructed an entire house withoutprofessional help before. Their vision was to build a bespoke, energy-efficient, individual futureproofed home.

There were several benefits of using Durisol ICF for the build, including:

  • The simplicity of the Durisol system allowed Terry to complete the entire build himself, without needing any sub-contractors. Not only did this bring cost savings but allowed Terry to genuinely self-build, which was an important factor for him.
  • As the Durisol material is easy to cut on-site, Terry was able to manipulate the ICF units to accommodate the irregular windows, openings and raked roof in the design.
  • Durisol ICF forms have the insulation primarily on the exterior of the concrete mass. This positioning allows the transfer of heat/energy between the concrete mass and the interior space to maximise any thermal mass gains. Using Durisol for the external walls created a complete thermal envelope with no thermal bridges which contributed significantly to the EPC A rating of the completed house.
  • Terry and Olwen chose a LEWIS DECK flooring system for the first floor. This system consists of a LEWIS metal decking, finished with a thin layer of (lightweight) fine grade aggregate concrete or liquid screed. Terry was able to pour the concrete for the floor at the same time as pouring the concrete for the Durisol wall, thus creating one solid monolithic structure. Traditional build methods could not have achieved the strength and rigidity this created.
  • To accomplish the white-walled Mediterranean look that Terry and Olwen both desired, they chose white quartz tiles for the exterior cladding. The rough surface of the Durisol wall gave a perfect key for the adhesive enabling Terry to apply the tiles directly to complete the external finish after having applied a coat of render to provide a watertight barrier.

The winner of the Best ICF Home award will be announced on 29 November.