Optima Constructions was recently tasked with the construction of a new family home in the leafy context of Sydney’s north shore.

The building designer, Berri John Building Design, helped the young family plan a home that would last for generations, as well as outperform other builds in terms of maintenance and energy efficiency.

The site provided several challenges, including steep slopes at the rear and sides. After extensive research, concrete was decided upon as the building material that was most likely to satisfy the client’s needs.

Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) from Zego Building Systems – as well as other PVC permanent formwork systems – were used extensively throughout the build. Minimal structural timber was used, greatly reducing both maintenance and risk of termite infestation.

Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) are made from fire-retardant polystyrene foam blocks or wall panels that are steel reinforced and filled with concrete. This enables wall construction to be completed in one easy step, reducing build time. Testament to this is the fact that concrete pouring continued through two days of continuous rain during the project. In the end, the build was completed in just nine months.

Research shows that homes built with an ICF exterior require 44 percent less energy for heating and 32 percent less energy for cooling than comparable timber frame homes.[1] So, the extensive use of ICFs on this project meant that the client’s brief for energy efficiency was fulfilled.

The large home, comprising of three levels connected by a central staircase, was a great success for all involved. The homeowner was extremely happy with the finished product; post-completion, he expressed his wish that “more homes [were] constructed in this way."

“I sincerely believe that it can be an economical and environmentally friendly means, especially as the building ages,” he said.

Zego Building products offers a range of ICF products to the building industry. You can also read more about the rise in popularity of Insulated Concrete Forms here.

[1]  PCA RP119 VanderWerf, Energy Comparisons of Concrete Homes vs Wood Frame Homes