ICF 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.

ICF Self Build

People often ask us the question “can anyone self-build a house? “Building a house is a complex undertaking that requires a combination of skills, knowledge and resources. Certainly a daunting task, but with the right preparation, dedication and learning, individuals without formal construction backgrounds can embark on such a project.

Training

We keep the training very simple and it is all done free. Long before Teams and Zoom became communication staples, we were using a shared screen service to teach Polarwall building methods on demand. Because we have all the various options modelled in a 3D programme we can show anyone with a smart phone how to undertake a particular task. WhatsApp Live is a great tool for showing a problem to us or asking a question.

Although we provide you with an in-depth training and give you the backup you need on site, the real training takes place on the day of your first concrete pour. On that day, we always have a member of our tech team on site for the concrete pumping.

The concrete pumping day is the crucial element in the training. We go round and check everything before the concrete arrives. We usually find a few small things that have to be corrected. Then we stay on site until the end of the day.

Most product manufacturers are happy to give technical help and advice where needed, and your Building Control officer will talk you through what he needs to see and when. Surprisingly, the Building Control officers are often very helpful with advice to self-builders too.

Self-Build House Resources

Self build forums are full of people willing to offer helpful advice. Be cautious of those who are generous with advice on topics they have minimal knowledge of. A good forum with a wide base of experience is Build Hub and there are various groups on Facebook too. Trade shows can also be a great source of ideas. There are a couple of good self build magazines which feature case studies and articles. Homebuilding & Renovation is a good one as is Self Build & Design, Build It and the Channel 4 inspired Grand Designs Magazine.

If unsure how to do something then get professional help. Also be aware of critical elements that should be undertaken by a professional. These include electrical installation and any waterproofing requirements.. Good advice is to know your limits and always stick to the architectural and engineering plans.

Have a look at our article on the costings of a self-build house.

While the idea of building a house without professional help may be appealing, its essential to recognize the limitations of individual expertise. Structural integrity, safety and compliance are non negotiable aspects of construction. Seeking professional guidance for critical tasks and inspections at key milestones is prudent.

In conclusion, while anyone can theoretically build a house with the right knowledge and dedication, it is not a task to be taken lightly. Successful house construction requires a combination of self education, careful planning, adherence to regulations, and often the involvement of experienced professionals. Those willing to embark on such a journey should approach it with a realistic understanding of their capabilities and be prepared to seek expert assistance where necessary.


The various sections above cover the main topics for 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