New Partnership for AIA
The Green Building Initiative (GBI) and
the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have signed a
memorandum of understanding, pledging to work together to
promote the design and construction of energy efficient and
environmentally responsible buildings.
Ward Hubbell, President of GBI says "The AIA's support and
expertise in the development of the Green Globes Standard,
through participation on the ANSI Technical Committee, has been
Chris McEntee, Executive Vice President and CEO of the AIA
states "The GBI's engagement in life cycle assessment and
promotion of post-construction third party review in Green
Globes illustrates GBI's commitment to the creation of high
performance buildings and supports the role of the architect in
First of its Kind...
The Los Angeles City
Council unanimously approved a first-of-its-kind Green Building
Retrofit Ordinance to upgrade city-owned buildings larger than
7,500 square feet or built before 1978 with a target of
achieving LEED Silver-level certification.
"The 'Green Building Retrofit
Ordinance' shows how environment and energy policies can
stimulate California's economy. It will put people to work in
green jobs, generate revenue for local businesses, save L.A.
taxpayers up to $6Million in energy costs and cut global warming
pollution, " says Derek Walker, director of the Environmental
Defense Fund's California Climate Initiative. "Los Angeles is
setting an example that cities nationwide can follow."
Home Buyers Taking Advantage of Tax Credits
Nearly 600,000 home buyers have claimed
the $8,000 federal tax credit enacted by Congress as part of the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The federal credit is available to
first-timers who purchase a principal residence this year and
close prior to December 1st. The credit is equal to 10% of the
purchase price, up to a maximum of $8,000, subject to certain
income limitations. And as long as they occupy the property as
their main residence for three years, it need not be paid back.
You can find more information on the
tax credit at:
Unlike the federal tax credit, which is
for first-time buyers who buy either a new or existing house,
California has instituted a tax credit - 5% of the purchase
price, up to a maximum of $10,000 - is targeted just to buyers
of newly built homes.
The California tax credit is capped at
$10M - enough to cover 10,000 buyers. Nearly 4,000 buyers have
You can view this complete article at
Nation's Building News.
Sustainable Housing in Bulgaria
With no access to
water or electrical services, the immediate problem was trying
to obtain approval to build on this site.
Using Quad-Lock and some innovative
green building methodology, allowed these two custom homes,
located in Rudartsi, Bulgaria, to get off the drawing board.
Read the summary on this project.
If you have any further questions about
this project, you can
contact Thomas Willmen,
Sales Manager for Europe.
Recycled-Content Concrete Gains Market Share
According to Freedonia Group, a leader in
business research study, recycled-content (e.g. fly ash, slag)
concrete sales reached $9.5B in 2008, representing 15% of green
building materials. Demand is forecasted to grow at about 8.5%
per year, reaching $14.3B in 2013.
Among green building materials, concrete is second only
to floor coverings in dollar volume.
LEED 2009 is Here
new LEED green building certification will launch on April 27th.
Projects registered under the version 2 rating system can be
transferred to LEED 2009 after April 27th.
New projects will be required to register for LEED 2009 after
Credits and prerequisites from all LEED commercial and
institutional rating systems have been consolidated and aligned,
drawing on their most effective common denominators, so that
credits and prerequisites are consistent across all LEED 2009
To get more information on LEED 2009 visit the
Building Council website.
Introduction to ICFs Webinars
There are lots of people out there who
have questions about insulating concrete forms. To aid in
demystifying ICF, every two weeks DJ Ketelhut is hosting an
online webinar introducing insulating concrete forms.
"The goal of these webinars is really
education" says DJ, Quad-Lock's Eastern North America Sales
Director. "There is a lot of mis-information out there. Really
all we are trying to do is be helpful to people who are
interested in this building technology - if it helps sell
Quad-Lock, that's great; but the real benefit is boosting the
During these 1-hour presentations, attendees will
A basic understanding of ICF
An understanding of the types
of structures you can build with ICF
Knowledge to make a more
informed buying decision
Insight into the Quad-Lock difference
Reserve your seat in one of these upcoming webinars.
Spring is coming and it is inspiring most of us to stop thinking
about the losses of the past year and to look ahead to better times in
To me, it really looks like we are now turning the corner. Housing is
bottoming out, stocks are starting to rise, and even the media is
telling us some positive stories again. Most predict that the economic
recovery will start between this fall and the spring of 2010.
Many also believe that the housing market plays a key role in this
recovery. The US Government has taken bold steps to stabilize this
sector by enabling homeowners to make their mortgages affordable again.
I believe that we will be stronger as people and as companies when we
come out of this. We all have learned a lot and are still changing many
things in our own behavior and in our surroundings.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel!
Hubert Max Kustermann, CEO
We have been bombarded with negative news regarding suffering global
economies, bailout money woes, job losses, the mortgage crisis,
increased bankruptcies, etc. There is no question the marketplace has
changed, but are we seeing a glimmer of hope on the horizon? For all the
negative we hear, there are many businesses and industries that are
seeing an improved outlook. Guess what, if you are reading this
newsletter, you are likely in an industry that is seeing some revival.
There is good news for the construction industry now and in the future;
especially if you are involved in offering sustainable building
solutions, like Quad-Lock.
The governments in both the United States and Canada are offering
significant tax credits, grants and programs to not only build more
energy efficient buildings, but renovate existing structures including
residential homes. And, there is a loosening of the restraints to obtain
financing for these projects. Over the last several months, it was
virtually impossible for people or businesses even with good credit to
obtain financing for new construction or home improvement projects.
Recent changes find many banks receiving federal bailout funds are being
held more accountable for the funds to be used for lending in the
marketplace. Banks that received no bailout funds are following suit
with more lending. That is not to say underwriting these loans has not
changed for the worse, but ultimately more loans will be written. This
includes large developers and builders also and is not just tied to the
residential market. More lending for building projects coupled with some
of these government-sponsored programs make it a WIN-WIN for the
construction industry. The catch is ALL these government sponsored
programs are focused on building a more sustainable building that
reduces energy consumption. This is good news for companies like
Quad-Lock as we have ICF solutions for the new building market and an
energy saving solution for the renovation market with the R-ETRO System.
Here are a few of the programs offered in the United States and
Canada for you to research for your benefit.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Energy Policy Act
- Home Tax Credit, 30% tax credit up to $1500
- $500 tax credit for energy efficient home improvements
- Residential Builder tax credit of $2000 for building more energy
- $1.80 sq/ft tax deduction for buildings that achieve 50%
reduction in energy consumption
- Partial credits of up to $.60 sq/ft are available for upgrades
to the building envelope
- 10 billion allocated for "greening" schools through
Collaborative High Performance Schools (CHPS) program
- Home Renovation Tax Credit: Up to $1350 on eligible
- EcoEnergy Retrofit Grant: Up to $5000
- EcoEnergy Retrofit Incentive for Buildings: 25% of
eligible project costs or $50,000 (up to $250,000 per organization)
Further details can be obtained
on our website.
I encourage you to take advantage of these money-saving programs.
Whether you are an end-user, builder, contractor, or a salesperson you
will gain a competitive advantage by understanding these plans and
communicating them with your clients or customers. The ultimate goal is
to build better performing buildings, reduce energy and save money.
Sounds like a great stimulus plan to me. Quad-Lock can help you get
DJ Ketelhut, Sales Director, Eastern North America
Bracing or Light Scaffold Safety
In our last article, we reviewed the high number of OSHA-recorded
jobsite safety violations associated with scaffolding. As ICF installers
who use various scaffold/support systems regularly, you should really be
aware of the potential risks and problems that may come up... so you can
AVOID as many as possible.
this article, we'll address the most widely used type of scaffolding:
low-level foldable scaffolding that doubles as form support for the ICF
wall before the concrete is placed. Scaffold systems are manufactured
all around the world under different quality standards, safety
regulations and with a variety of material features. For instance, while
virtually all scaffold systems specify a load-carrying capacity, the
manufacturer may or may not indicate that capacity is only certified at
a specific height above grade. The Number One rule with scaffolding is
START EARLY by becoming very familiar with the installation manual for
your system; know it inside and out, including all the specifications
for fastener sizes and spacing, load ratings, etc. Be sure you have all
the required pieces gathered at hand before you start to construct your
scaffold. This way you won't be tempted to substitute or leave out
critical components in the rush of assembly.
The basic ICF scaffold support system incorporates a "strongback"
piece that attaches to the ICF form units. This is the first critical
safety checkpoint attachment. Your scaffold supplier (whether you
purchase or rent the system) should provide you with very specific
attachment details, including the exact size and type of screws to use
and placement specs. The scaffold system was engineered, tested and
certified using specific screw fasteners and you MUST duplicate that on
your jobsite in order for the system to perform as designed. All screws
are not equal - be certain you use the right screws; a No. 10 pan head
sheet metal screw has quite different load and pullout strengths than a
No. 10 drywall screw, or a No. 10 wood screw.
The walk platform is attached to the strongback piece and is another
critical safety checkpoint - one that often gets "shorted" when the
scaffold is being erected. The walk platform must be 18 inches wide and
must include a toe board if the walk surface is more than 8 feet above
adjacent grade. The platform boards are held in place by specific
brackets that keep the boards from flipping, tipping or sliding out of
place. These platform brackets attach to the strongbacks with specified
pins. Substituting another bolt, or short piece of rebar, or perhaps a
spike is NOT sufficient and creates both a safety risk and a sure-bet
safety violation when the OSHA inspector shows up.
The load carrying capacity of the walkway platform boards is not
strictly specified by law. You, as the contractor are mandated to use an
"appropriate" material for the load your walkway will carry. In other
words, you must calculate the weight of your crew members themselves,
the weight of their equipment, materials, etc. and then choose platform
boards with sufficient strength to support that load. In lieu of the
head damage (and engineering calculations/costs) to figure out how to
use dimension lumber from your local lumber yard, the more
cost-effective and safety conscious alternative is to purchase an
OSHA-rated LVL plank from a scaffold supply house. These come with load
ratings up to 500 lbs. when used with standard support spacing.
The scaffold element that presses the strongback and walk platform
against the wall surface is called a turnbuckle or leg kit. It is the
angled brace that forms a triangle between the vertical wall and the
"horizontal" ground. It provides the essential bracing and plumb
adjustment for the wall and uses the ground as its support base. The
turnbuckle is key in jobsite safety since the angle between the
turnbuckle and grade cannot exceed 60 degrees and proper staking into
the ground is crucial. The best situation is when the turnbuckle
footplate is 90 degrees to the turnbuckle thrust and usually requires
excavation so the footplate can be staked to the ground. After a rain or
snow storm, all of the attachment stakes must be checked for tightness
before the staff starts working on the scaffold system.
The pin that attaches the turnbuckle to the strongback also holds the
walkway brackets. Remember, no substitutes are allowed - use only the
pin provided and specified by the scaffold manufacturer.
Using turnbuckles that are too short for your wall height will result
in an angle of support that is over 60 degrees, or insufficient support
at the top of your ICF wall which is a disaster in the making. As a rule
of thumb, an 11 foot turnbuckle is useable to about 8 feet above grade
and will work for about 10 feet of wall height.
The final piece for many scaffold/support systems is a handrail
assembly installed perpendicular to the walk platform. The height of the
handrail must comply with requirements for guardrails or balconies. In
addition, the handrail must be able to support a load placed
perpendicular to the handrail of 250 pounds. This means that soft lumber
with a low fiber bending value is not acceptable for the handrail
pieces. Metal piping is a much safer alternative that will likely avoid
an OSHA violation and fine.
Miscellaneous Tips and Notes: Keep on hand an extra supply of the
pins that attach the turnbuckles and walkways to the strongbacks. These
are absolutely essential to your jobsite safety but do tend to get lost,
dropped, and left behind.
Know your scaffold system's wind rating. Some systems are rated for
use in winds up to 40 mph, and some systems are certified for use only
in 10 pounds of wind force. By comparison, a 40 mph wind creates about
25 pounds of force and a 90 mph wind will rip a shingle roof off. Bottom
line: Be prudent in getting your crew off the scaffold when the winds
If your scaffold walkway surface is over 8 feet above grade, safety
harnesses and other fall protection equipment may be required. At 10
feet above ground, additional rules concerning tools, electrical cords
and fall protection are required. Even a top notch, well constructed
scaffold system isn't the end of the jobsite safety story.
In summary, advertising literature may seem to indicate that merely
purchasing a standard support/scaffold system will keep you in
compliance with jobsite safety regulations. This is simply not true.
Knowing the specifications of your system, refusing to shortchange or
substitute components and staying alert to potentially dangerous jobsite
conditions or staff behavior is essential.
In an upcoming article, we'll cover the safety issues involved with
scaffold systems over 10ft. tall - they're everywhere on jobsites, but
are they SAFE?
So, as Red Green would say, "If the inspector doesn't find you
handsome, he should at least find you.....SAFE!" Don't get hurt out
there!! Any questions?
Contact John Hatfield.
John Hatfield - Regional Sales Manager, Rocky Mountain Region
Proven Energy Efficiencies
part of our on-going development of materials to assist in the sale of
Quad-Lock, we want to create a library of statistics about structures
built with Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms. You can help us by
submitting your energy bills, along with the bills from a comparable
house in your neighborhood for us to add to our library. When you do
this Quad-Lock will pay your highest month's
energy bill for your troubles.
Contact us for more information.