Building Disaster Resistant Homes with Insulated Concrete Forms

Building Disaster Resistant Homes with Insulated Concrete Forms

Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Earthquakes - Natural Disaster Resistance Built into Every TF Forming Insulated Concrete Form Wall Home and Commercial Building

TF Insulated Concrete Form walls stand where other building system walls may not. 

The reason our insulated concrete forms are able to to be tornado resistant, hurricane resistant and earthquake resistant is in how the wall of the home or building is constructed.  The wall form is built using panels made of expanded polystyrene EPS, extruded polystyrene XPS foam or another variation of insulated or non-insulated panel are used as a form that holds the concrete. Plastic rails are used to connect the inside and outside insulating panels to hold them in place during the concrete pour of the ICF construction project.  Next, concrete with Helix Fibers and rebar are used to give the forms the natural disaster resistance that one should expect in any home building project.

TF Forming Systems partnered with Convoy of Hope to not only help rebuild Joplin, but rebuild Joplin better. We have built homes for displaced residents who lost everything in the EF5 tornado in 2011 using our ThermoForm - Insulated Concrete Form. The concrete walls are built to withstand 250 mph winds and protect from flying debris while the rigid foam insulation can lower utility bills throughout the year.

TF is currently working to rebuild in Moore, OK, a city destroyed by a tornado.

To learn more about what the concrete industry and government officials are doing to instill better building practices that will keep people safe, read this article about Disaster Savings and Resilient Construction Act of 2013

Benefits of Concrete Wall Construction

Concrete is resistant to hurricanes, tornadoes, and high winds. Following Hurricane Katrina, a house still in the building phase using insulating concrete forms was the sole house left standing in a Pass Christian, MS, neighborhood (photo to the right).  
Disaster Investigators have learned from previous hurricanes that: 
  • Wood frame walls performed poorly unless well designed and constructed
  • Loads on building components and connections are significantly increased when the envelope is breached by high wind or flying debris. Concrete wall systems appeared to resist breaching as well, if not better, than other wall systems.
  • Debris driven by high winds presents the greatest hazard to homeowners and their homes during hurricanes and tornadoes. Tests show that concrete wall systems suffer no structural damage when impacted by debris carried by hurricane and tornado-force winds making them stand-up to and be disaster resistant buildings.

As a means to prove just how robust concrete walls are to wind-blown debris, the Portland Cement Association, in conjunction with Texas Tech University, tested concrete wall systems by shooting 2x4s out of a wind cannon at speeds in excess of 100mph. In all instances, the insulating concrete form wall shattered the wood studs, while the 2x4s easily passed through the frame wall with little resistance.

The TransForm and ThermoForm ICF concrete forming systems are the best solutions to protect your family from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and high winds. Choose the TransForm or ThermoForm Insulating Concrete Forming System as the only solution to extreme weather and natural disasters.

Blast Resistance

With its steel-reinforced concrete core, TransForm and ThermoForm are well known for being extremely rigid and resilient building systems, allowing walls and floors to be built with strict prescriptive methods to prevent structural failure during a terrorist or catastrophic event. In addition to its concrete core, TF Concrete Form walls are sandwiched with anywhere between 2" and 6" of polystyrene exterior foam, acting as a cushion. When air pressure hits the wall, the foam absorbs air pressure and spreads the energy generated by an explosive event over a larger surface area of the concrete wall greatly increasing its resistance to damage. 

In 2005, TF Forming Systems participated in the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration to show just how strong its walls are. The video to the right is from the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration where a TF 6" concrete core wall was placed 10 feet away from 50 pounds of TNT. 

            Watch more videos HERE

Concrete can be designed to improve its blast resistant properties and deliver even higher performance. These custom concrete mixes often have a compressive strength exceeding 14,500 psi and contain steel and mono-filament fibers. These concrete blast-resistant structures are often used in bank vaults and military applications. 

If you are in the planning stages of designing or building a military or commercial project that needs to meet or exceed the Force Protection Design Standards, please call TF Forming Systems at 800-360-4634 to learn how its insulated concrete forming system can save you time and money while meeting the standard without overbuilding. 

Fire Resistance

Of all building materials, concrete is one of the most resistant to heat and fire. That fire resistance gives homes and buildings built with TF Concrete Forms huge advantages. Mainly, walls built with either of TF products offer noncombustible construction that help reduce the threat of damage caused by accidental and wild fires. 


Building Disaster Resistant Homes with Insulated Concrete Forms


  •  TF concrete separation walls prevent fires from spreading throughout a building.
  •  TF concrete walls protect human life and possessions within a building.
  •  TF concrete walls contain fires, preventing them from jumping to another home or building.
  •  TF concrete walls can often be reused when the building is restored.

A two-hour fire endurance test for a concrete wall proves the wall gets hot, but will not fail structurally if designed and built according to generally accepted construction methods.

Concrete homes and buildings have also performed well in the fires that have destroyed billions of dollars of property in Southern California and other parts of the western U.S. Hilly terrain, hot dry winds, combustible vegetation, and closely spaced dwellings create favorable conditions for these types of fires. This building location trend is expected to continue as populations continue to expand into rural areas. Data collected after these fires shows that buildings having noncombustible exterior walls achieved a higher level of survival.

Take advantage of the benefits TransForm and ThermoForm concrete walls provide to protect homes and people from the devastating effects fire can cause.

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