BY RICHARD GILBERT - The leading Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) manufacturers in North America have launched a new industry association.
The new group will develop strategic alliances, undertake technical research and raise awareness about the sustainability and resilience of these products.
"We have been an industry without an association for about five or six years and just felt that it was time that we needed to be able to work together in a co-ordinated way to represent and grow the industry," said Andy Lennox, the inaugural chair of the Council Of Insulated Concrete Forms Industries (CICFI).
"We had this informal, really tight group working at the technical level and decided to expand it on the marketing and strategic planning side. And, that what we have been working on for the last year or so."
The CICFI was established on June 5 at a meeting in Toronto. The inaugural meeting was attended by a number of groups.
This included the following founding members, companies and organizations: Lennox (Logix Insulated Concrete Forms Ltd.); Todd Blyth and Murray Snider (Nudura Corporation); Max Isaac (Superform Products Ltd.); Josh Plamondon (Quad-Lock Building Systems Ltd.); Ross Monsour, John Hull and Nancy Chapman (Ready Mixed Concrete Association of Ontario-RMCAO), and Charles Kelly (B.C. Ready-Mixed Concrete Association-BCRMCA).
These companies represent the majority of the ICF products manufactured in North America.
"I am the secretary of the group and we are going to be the house for it," said Monsour, the director of marketing at the RMCAO.
"We will house the council or association, as well as administer funding."
Monsour and Kelly, executive director of the BCRMCA, worked together on behalf of the Canadian Ready Mixed Concrete Association to help develop the CICFI.
Monsour co-ordinated a small informal group of technical people from the leading ICF companies in Canada, which worked for several years on problems of mutual concern and benefit, such as building codes issues.
This informal working group formed the basis of the new organization, which will also focus on marketing and strategic planning.
"One of the things we want to do initially right out of the gate is to open up discussions with the other related associations out there," said Lennox. "We are attending all of their meetings, so we will be able to network within the industry in a greater sense. We are developing a CICFI website, which will be an authoritative resource for the ICF industry, with technical information on ICF construction."
The CICFI seeks to promote the construction assembly, which comprises dry-stacked formwork for reinforced concrete.
This is usually made with a rigid thermal insulation that stays in place as a permanent interior and exterior substrate for structural walls, floors, and roofs.
The main related industries for the ICF manufacturers are homebuilders, concrete associations and ready mix concrete association in Canada and the United States, which share a common message.
"Our industry believes that we are about sustainability and resilience,' said Lennox. "These are the twin themes and our primary goal is to make people understand how we contribute to these causes."
The CICFI aims to raise the awareness of construction professionals about the speed of construction that ICFs bring to the table, especially for larger commercial structures.
In addition, the association aims to raise the awareness about the size, scope and range of buildings that have been successfully constructed with ICFs.
"Now that our association is officially up and going the implementation and execution begins," Lennox said.
"This association is long overdue, we are excited to get started and we look forward to additional ICF manufacturers joining us as we move forward."
The formation of the CICFI is important to all these companies, because increasing market share and collaboration of all ICF companies is critical to the success of our entire industry.