Insulated Concrete Formwork Help & Advice

Our insulated concrete formwork help & advice centre has been created as a reference and information hub for designing and building ICF structures in general, and Polarwall in particular.

Insulating Concrete Formwork Design

The House as Shelter

When we define its primary function we think of a house as shelter.  Obviously, from the effects of nature and weather and in this country we are fortunate to have little seasonal difference between our mild summers and mild winters.  Unusual extremes occur only rarely but when they do they invariably catch us unawares.  Floods and storms are the obvious villains.  Burglars and thieves will probably call at some time. 

The unexpected could be anything that harms or hurts from explosions, gunshots, ridiculous storms, fires, floods, and maybe even the blast from a foreign dictators territorial ambitions.  When you think of the house as shelter, anything you might imagine (and some you might not) is on this list however unlikely, and should be in your design brief to your architect, Some homes are good for rain and wind but cannot cope with disaster conditions. 

One of the first and foremost written works on architecture was “De Architectura” by Vitruvius. His guiding priciples for a building were “firmitasutilitas, and venustas” which translates as “strength”, “utility”, and “beauty”. Unfortunately, designers do not always consider the “firmitas” element.

The House as Shelter

Expect burglars.  You can also expect the crazy extremes of climate change to appear on your doorstep at some time. 

  • Make your walls as strong as you can. 
  • Make it resistant to high energy impact. 
  • Make a structure that will remain standing after fire and flood. 
  • Structural materials should not decay.  Unseen creatures should not be able to eat your structure.
  • Make your windows impossible to get through. 
  • Make your locks bump-proof and resistant to heavy impact. 

If you need any advice on the house as shelter or about Polarwall in general, get in touch today.


The various sections above cover the main topics for Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) construction both above and below ground. 

Do not use this as an alternative to what your chosen manufacturer recommends.  We can do things with Polarwall that ICF blocks can’t do and there may some things that you do with other ICFs that Polarwall can’t do. For example our instructions on vibrating the concrete may not be wise on some EPS block systems. 

We want to add to and develop this section, so we welcome all your questions, suggestions for topics and feedback.  If you want to go deeper into a topic please let us know.  This advice hub does not replace our training (or any other companies training) and you still need to avail yourself of our FREE training course.

Have a question or suggestion not listed here? Feel free to contact us