Two speakers at next Builders Association dinner meeting

The Builders Association of Pagosa Springs will hold its bi-monthly dinner meeting for members and guests at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Two speakers will be at the meeting: Doug Sharp, a licensed septic installer, brings a wealth of experience and an understanding of safe septic systems that will protect health and our environment. Felix Marti, carpenter and builder, discusses the benefits of technology with NUDURA Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) and how ICF can build more efficient concrete homes and commercial structures with substantial green building benefits

Marti, of Proven Technologies in Ridgway, will also conduct a day-long installation course on June 19 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Durango (course fee is $150). Marti began his construction career in 1964 and has specialized in energy efficient, low maintenance structures; he is now retired from the construction business.

ICF is the acronym for Insulated Concrete Form

You have probably seen walls of expanded polystyrene (similar to the insulated white coffee cups you have used) being erected here and there; these are ICF structures. The foam which creates the form stays in place, providing superior insulation.

There are over 50 manufacturers of ICFs. Generally all ICFs provide excellent service: the structures built with this technology are very strong, very quiet, very energy efficient. From the street there is no difference between an ICF house and a conventionally constructed house. Only when one steps inside, senses the quiet, and sees the deep window sills (the walls are typically 12 inches thick, or greater), is the difference evident. These buildings typically reduce heating and cooling costs by 35 to 40 percent.

The first ICF patent in the USA was in 1968. The construction industry is not known for its rapid adoption of new technologies so, though the original Foam Forms® were used into the 1980s, when more recent designs began to shoulder Foam Form® aside, their use was rare and largely unnoticed.

In 1985 Lance Berrenberg began manufacturing Southwest Foam Forms in Albuquerque. That company became American Polysteel and is still in business. Other early forms such as Greenblock and Lite-Form are also still being manufactured.

The bulk of ICFs are made four feet long by 16 inches tall in varying core thicknesses. A latecomer to the industry is NUDURA, a form that is eight feet long and 18 inches tall. Most ICFs are installed horizontally but a few manufacturers, such as TF Systems, believe their vertical forms are preferable. There are other stay-in-place forms such as Rastra and Durisol and each makes its claims as a better product.

In 2006 ICFs were being installed at a rate of about 120 million square feet per year; this number has been expanding at about 20 percent per year.

Concrete structures are extremely long lasting and provide secure shelter to the occupants. The primary ingredients of concrete — stone, sand and water — account for 90 percent of the mixture and are plentiful in most locations. There are trained and experienced installers and contractors working with ICFs in Pagosa Springs, throughout Colorado.

Concrete may be recycled (look at ex-Stapleton airport landing strips and runways, all recycled), and is extremely long lasting.

Marti states that he believes ICF construction will become the technology of choice within the next 10 to 15 years, whether the structure to be built is a hospital, a home, a school or a theater.

To find our more information about the Builders Association of Pagosa Springs or to make your dinner reservations for the June 17 meeting, contact: Karen Davison, at 731-3939 or e-mail