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ICF-New Construction

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Junior Member
Jan 15, 2002
I have plans and specs for construction of a dwelling using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF).

Anyone have any experience with appraisals of this type residence that you can share?

Looking at the cost approach, M&S has a poured concrete (SIP Forming). What does the SIP stand for (something in place?).

You might know this is an engineer building this baby. ICF construction; metal roofing; Hardiplank siding; Tendura porch flooring-plus, building it out in the boonies, 20 miles from the next living soul. Estimated cost is $300K+ for a 2,800 sf with unfinished basement.

Seeing how I was the 4th appraiser assigned, I probably should've passed on it too.

Oregon Doug

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
Ron - I've appraised a couple of homes that used those concrete filled styrofoam block forms. A few years ago, they were only being used in foundations (almost used them on the log home I built) but now there are whole houses built using them. Friends of ours built a three story home with a full basement using that system a couple of years ago. There are some interesting construction issues that require knowledgable contractors and subs - electricians and plumbers in particular. Depending on the thickness of the blocks, the contractor needs to be aware of how high he can pour the concrete before a blowout happens (that's bad).

The one's that I've seen had total new construction costs that were about 10%-15% higher than good quality conventional construction for comparable finish (Hardi plank siding, lock seam metal roof...). Obviously the cost breakdown differs from conventional frame construction and a part of the problem may be that the contractors have little/no working experience with the technique yet. Most contractors I know bid high if they don't know what they are doing.

I haven't seen enough of them in the re-sale market as yet to determine if the market recognizes the additional costs but I doubt that it will because for all that "special" construction, most of these homes just look like ordinary homes to the casual observer/buyer.

Oregon Doug

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser

Built a couple, sold them too.

That condo (from He - double toothpicks) I mentioned in another highly read thread was a smaller version of what you describe.

IF the builder had the thing calced by Energystar, you CAN use the energy addendum...

Typically in resale in MY market, the superadequacy is not much different than any other high end material house: buyers discount some of the finshes, however there are a few buyers willing to look at the energy savings... and pay a small premium for that factor.

Talk to the guy who sold the owner the blocks... they *may* know of resales in your area, but can usually tell you about every block house in the region, since they usually have to purchase a franchise to sell the blocks.

Some of my competition uses log houses for comps, since it is often an 'atypical buyer', and the finish levels can be surprisingly similar!

I tend to think that if properly done, the house is not (buyer) noticeably different than highly insulated standard construction... Some buyers won't like the thicker walls (windowseats or flowerpot space to the optimistic), some just don't care.

In addition to the abovementioned potential for blowouts, you may want to run past the thing after first pour, as any big or bad 'wall wavers' will be more aparent.

Most wind up being heavily DIY (Do It Yourself) and a hurried pour can be a disaster... Despite some mentoring, most folks never tried this before... Improper bracing can turn those self-form walls into a nightmare come finish time.... and that DOES show unless the builder is bright enough to know how to fix their mistakes.

Good luck!
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