History of insulating concrete form

The use of insulating concrete form or formwork (ICF) as a construction material is still a relatively new concept in the UK. However, the history of ICF stretches back over 80 years.

The first ICF, Durisol, was developed in Belgium in 1937 by the Swiss nationals August Schnell and Alex Bosshard (following on from a Dutch patent registered in 1932.)

There was little interest in the product at the time but in 1938 Schnell and Bosshard founded Durisol AG near Zurich, Switzerland, to push industrial development.

In post-war Europe, Durisol ICF quickly caught on as a quick, cost-effective and solid construction method that didn’t require highly skilled labour.

By 1959, as reported in Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly, Volume 39, Durisol was promoted as cutting traditional construction costs by 20-30% and was being produced in 13 countries.

Polystyrene ICFs didn’t appear on the ICF scene until the late 1960s. The first person accredited with introducing a polystyrene ICF was contractor Werner Gregori, a German-born naturalised Canadian. He filed the first North American patent for a foam concrete form or “modern plastic” ICF in March 1966 in Canada which was granted in the U.S. and Canada in 1968.

The number of ICF manufacturers and the adoption of ICF construction steadily increased from the 1970s. ICF continues to grow in popularity as builders come to recognise the benefits of constructing with this alternative construction material.

Durisol UK, with the licence for UK and Ireland manufacturer, opened its manufacturing plant in Crumlin, South Wales in April 2008. We now supply ICF to self-builders, developers and housing associations across the UK and Ireland.

Today, Durisol, the original ICF, operates worldwide as a manufacturer of cement-bonded wood fibre products, with 14 manufacturing locations throughout the world.

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of building with Durisol, please contact us on 01495 249400.