Southern California builders serve the ministry by erecting
made of ICFs at a private school.
By John Wyatt
Part of Azusa Pacific University's history has been to continuously
programs, curriculum and expand campus area. Its latest progression
the production of a multi-storied building that will serve
Constructed using insulating concrete forms (ICF), the dorms
are the biggest
project in the Southwestern United States using these energy-efficient
The APU is a Christian liberal arts college in Azusa whose
roots trace back to
1899. Initially a Bible college that prepared students for
purposes, the institution expanded its programs to offer bachelor,
doctorate degrees in nursing, technology, Western art, as
well as fields in
theology and behavioral science. Following the university's
lineage of growth
and expansion, current President Jon Wallace's latest projects
erection of a new dormitory system on campus.
A century strong and endeavored
To match the existing architecture built 100 years back, the
architectural planning staff had wanted to use masonry for
structure. Learning of the Trinity dorm project, Russ Wiersma,
technical support for Paramount Ready Mix Concrete, of Santa
Fe Springs, Calif.,
made a "cold call" to Rick Byrd Engineering, of
Ontario, Calif., to offer
information on an alternative energy-efficient system that
could meet all the
specs for the five-story, 100,000-square-foot facility. Contacting
contractor Commerce Construction Co., of City of Industry,
Calif., Wiersma and
ICF manufacturer Arxx Building Products? (of Cobourg, Ontario)
Randy Daniels had arranged a presentation to display the ICF
systems to Commerce
Executive Vice President john Burroughs, APU'S Architect Troy
Facilities and Planning Jeff Worthy.
As reported in Walls & Ceilings? December 2002 issue,
the rise of ICF
manufacturing rose by 29 percent in 2001, and although reports
have not been
released yet from the National Association of Home Builders,
it is predicted
that 2002 results suggest a 30 percent increase, according
to Executive Director
Joseph Lyman of the Insulating Concrete Form Association.
In California, a state recently called attention to for utility
well above normal, builders are looking or "green"
materials (to appeal to the
progressive thinking enviro-friendly architects) and strong
(to help the utility payer). ICFs provide a relief with a
strong argument for
its assets. The arguments one can give for its use consists
? not wholly ? of
that many of the products used are recyclable, such as the
steel rebar and the
concrete is recycled (in many aspects); expanded polystyrene
can be recycled,
which is what the ICFs are made out of.
Another aspect is how far building materials have to travel
to the job site.
Following guidelines established by the U.S. Green Building
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria, those
demonstrate at least 20 percent of materials used are within
a 500 miles radius
receive favorable credit, cutting down on the fuel used in
typically are manufactured within 100 to 150 miles and ready
mixed concrete is
produced 10 to 15 miles of most project sites. Also to boot,
when using LEED,
one can get up to 10 points in thermal value for ICFs.
So, once the benefits are defined and explained to the developer,
the next step
is instruction if the system is a novelty to the work force.
With Arxx now part
of the construction ensemble, training had to begin before
construction on the
"We had to train and prepare the vice president of operations,
and two lead foremen on what to expect in a full day training
class," says Wiersma. "We also supplied the Engineer
Rick Byrd, of Commerce,
Architect Jim Robertson and the City of Azusa, all the ICBO
details and other literature to prepare for drawing and building
Arxx sent Technical Manager Mark Rush for a few days to help
me train about six
key construction workers on how to use the system."
Arxx supplies a two-part series of training that can be completed
in one day
that is held both off and on site. The first level of the
training is classroom
style that covers the construction process and the second
part is generally on
the job site.
A little more than 10,000 ICF forms were used, along with
materials for the Trinity building. Commerce supplied the
reinforcement rebar and various other materials. Finding a
guiding partner in
Arxx and Paramount, Commerce self performed the labor and
supplied its own
equipment or rented it from its own in-house construction
As the construction unfolded, particular obstacles presented
the installation of the ICFs and while erecting a scaffolding
system, the winter
term had yet to finish with a spring term waiting as its predecessor's
sweeping vow of silence was observed by the 30-something different
subcontractors, which can be a bit restraining for any concentration
"There's a site in the middle of the university surrounded
by students and
faculty that make access very difficult," says Commence's
John Burroughs. "The
staging is very difficult. Work hours had to be considered
because of adjacent
"The hardest things about the job was training a large
crew to be efficient with
building material they had not seen before," says Wiersma.
"The problem with
construction was that we needed to achieve a height, which
the building had
already been drawn with before Arxx was considered for the
Arxx's forms are 16 3/4 inches tall. We needed a wall height
of 9 feet by 11 1⁄2
inches. Arxx has height adjusters, which are 3 3/8 inches
tall. We had to
incorporate two height adjusters into the wall to achieve
the desired height.
At the speed the contractor had to pour the walls, and the
concrete mix design
used, in certain areas, we had some deflection problems. The
walls would bulge
a little at the points where height adjusters were used. We
later just rasped
them flush and drywall was then attached."
With the interior now complete and the facility in its completed
Trinity dorms will soon host its residents in the fall. So,
how does the Arxx
system look next to 100-year old architecture?
"Concrete, if protected from the elements, will last
over 100 years," says
Wiersma. "It is a California-type design because of the
stucco exterior in
different colors along with split-face masonry."
Wiersma explains other features and benefits of the facility.
He says the webs
are recyclable with lumber only used as form or reinforcement.
insides are primarily a concrete and steel building along
with the polystyrene
as the insulation.
"Because of the thermal protection, the air conditioning
equipment could be cut
in size and won't have to work as hard to condition the air,"
"The manufacturing of these forms is light industrial
and makes no pollution.
The process, which the forms are made, is steam injection.
There are no CFCS,
HFCS or formaldehyde used in production. It is an inert material.
product is so light, (about 6 pounds per form), the trucks
product use less fuel and don't work as hard putting less
pollution in the air.
The waste from construction is also light, so the trash trucks
will be lighter