June 26, 2017 in BuildBlock Projects, Houses, Residential

Habitat for Humanity & BuildBlock Prove that Anyone Can Build With ICFs

Volunteers in South Dakota are building amazing homes alongside deserving families by utilizing the strength, efficiency, and simple installation of BuildBlock ICFs.

Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all. As of today they’ve helped build, renovate, repair, and increase access to improved shelter for over 5 million people worldwide. This is all accomplished through a dedicated network of volunteers and supporters from all different backgrounds and walks of life. We really admire the work that Habitat does in communities all over the globe and have been very excited to see that some organizations are choosing to go above and beyond by building with BuildBlock Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs).

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls South Dakota is committed to building quality homes for deserving families. Every year they team up with community volunteers to build 10 new homes. ICFs have quickly become a staple for constructing these houses. Every new Habitat house built in 2017 in Sioux Falls will have an ICF basement and 5 of the 10 homes will be ICF all the way to the rafters.

No Experience Required

Habitat prides itself on proving that “anyone can build”. Though many of their volunteers have little to no construction experience, they are guided through the

An all women’s volunteer group works the first Saturday of each month. The house itself is built by high school students at a local technical high school, which is part of the public school system.

building process by experienced leaders. This is made even easier when using ICFs. BuildBlock ICFs are lightweight, easily stacked together, and completely reversible. With a small amount of guidance just about anyone can build with them.

“When people first get to the jobsite they do have some questions,” said Niki Schillerstrom, Habitat of Sioux Falls Community Relations Director. “How does this work? How is it stable?” But once the basics of ICFs are explained, Schillerstrom said that the jobsite becomes very fun, “The forms are very light and easy to work with. Everybody likes that they are like Legos.”

Why ICFs?

Photo from a blitz build week with Kum & Go mid-September, 2015 Habitat of Sioux Falls won a full house sponsorship through a regional Kum & Go contest conducted in their convenience stores.

ICFs form the exterior walls of the home. They are reinforced with steel rebar, braced, and then filled with concrete. These walls can then be finished in any style desired and the homes look like any other on the block. So while these ICF Habitat houses might look like any other,

they are poised to provide incredible benefits to the families that move in. BuildBlock is comprised of dense EPS foam which is an excellent insulator. When paired with concrete, these homes provide superior air quality and are extremely quiet and energy efficient. Reinforced concrete is also very strong so the homeowners don’t have to worry about tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, or fire. Habitat of Sioux Falls is helping these new home owners create so much more than a “decent shelter” or a “durable place to live”. Together they are building homes that will last for decades and be safe, healthy, and comfortable for as long as they live there.

These benefits also add a lot of value to the work done on site by volunteers. “Working with ICFs feels unique,” said Schillerstrom “the volunteers are able to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. It’s very gratifying at the end of the day to know that you’ve laid the foundation or built the walls for a home.”

An Easy Choice Leads to an Awesome Home

Paul Johnson, the Construction Manager of the Greater Sioux Falls affiliate of Habitat for Humanity introduced the use of ICFs in 2014. They started with a few basements and each year they utilize ICF more than the year before.

“We exclusively use BuildBlock. As long as the costs stay close to wood framing I will continue to increase my ICF usage.”
-Paul Johnson, Construction Manager

We couldn’t be prouder of the work that Habitat is doing and the homes that they are building. Their commitment to building safe and sustainable ICF homes is inspiring and we’re happy to be a small part of these stories. Check out the gallery and captions below to see a sampling of their projects, including images from National Women Build Day and projects sponsored by several local organizations.

To learn more about Habitat of Greater Sioux Falls, you can visit them here https://www.siouxfallshabitat.org/. To find a Habitat for Humanity in your area and learn how to get involved visit https://www.habitat.org/. To learn more about the benefits of building your next home with ICFs visit our Residential Page.


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