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Concrete Homes Council

The CFA recently went through the strategic planning process during which it mapped out its goals for the future. The Concrete Homes Council recently went through a similar, though less rigorous, self-analysis. The above grade market for concrete homes continues to expand but at a slower pace than anticipated. The consensus, however, is that there is still a phenomenal potential for concrete homes and the reasons home owners should be considering concrete are even more compelling than they were when this effort began.

Concrete excels as a building shell material in at least 4 different areas: wind and storm resistance; fire resistance; energy efficiency; and, as a material to reduce the effects of climate change. One of the tasks of the CHC will be to develop sell sheets, flyers, or position papers that extol the virtues of the concrete shell.

Another big change will be a reduction in dues beginning with our next fiscal year, July 1. Dues for the CHC will be lowered from $10,000 to $2,500 for National Associates and from $1,000 to $250 for contractors. If you are involved in, or are thinking of building a concrete home, you should belong to this council of the CFA. Special projects such as participation at the IBS or funding testing will be funded on an as-needed basis. The CHC has already committed to participate in the IBS show for 2008 and funding is in place to cover that event. In addition to a booth, the CHC will present a seminar on designing the concrete home.

Several participants expressed the need for some “canned” Power Point presentations that can be delivered by members interested in talking to builders and owners. Several presentations exist but Staff will update them with new photographs where available and create programs for 20-minute and 1-hour time segments. They should be ready to deliver by the end of the year.

Articles and stories about above grade concrete homes have been published in the CFA magazine as time and space permitted. We will now set aside a 4-page or 8-page segment exclusively devoted to RCF above grade housing. The section will be a magazine within

a magazine so that interested parties can easily remove the section from the CFA magazine as a stand-alone handout. Stories and articles on members, project profiles, ads by CHC members and other above grade housing information will be featured.

The above grade concrete housing market is also impacted by codes and standards developments. On the positive side, there will be prescriptive tables in the IRC covering above grade concrete walls. They are identical to the ones that already exist for solid ICFs but the scope has been expanded to include RCFs. The negative is that once you exceed the limitations of the prescriptive tables, you must have the walls engineered in accordance with ACI 318. Engineering costs on a concrete house can run from $500 to in excess of $3500. CFA staff is working with PCA and ACI to develop a design guide for residential construction that is less cumbersome and costly than designing with ACI 318, the commercial concrete code.

The long awaited manual, “Building Homes with Removable Concrete Homes” is now available. This full color, 100 page, manual will be of interest to everyone from foundation contractor to the homeowner. It answers many of the common questions raised about RCFs, explains the different systems available, states the reasons why everyone should be considering a concrete shell, and provides profiles of a wide range of RCF homes. The publication will be sold at slightly more than the cost of printing. The anticipated street cost will be $25. CHC members will receive two copies for no cost and can purchase additional copies for $17.

Marketing approaches to expand the use of RCFs and concrete homes in general were also discussed. Two opportunities that were identified have particular interest. One is entrepreneurial homebuilder. This group of builders is looking for a way to distance themselves from the tract builder and offering a wide range of methods to construct the shell is one such tactic they employ.

The second group is the insurance companies. They, more than anyone, know the risks that exist in certain parts of the country. They are in a position to push business toward the concrete shell concept by offering favorable insurance rates to concrete home owners.

The CHC will be meeting during the Committee Days this summer in conjunction with the CFA Annual Convention. If you have any interest in above grade concrete homes give us a call. You should also visit the web site at www.concretehomescouncil.org.

Ed Sauter, Executive Director, CFA
esauter@cfawalls.org

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us