Keeping Families Safe with Fire-Resistant Homes Built With ICF & Cold-Formed Steel

Keeping Families Safe with Fire-Resistant Homes Built With ICF & Cold-Formed Steel - iSPAN Systems - Banner Image
The home used ICF by Amvic Building Systems, an industry leading manufacturer of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) and Rigid Foam Insulation (EPS) products.

There’s one place you should always feel safe: your home. That’s why innovative builders are choosing fire-resistant steel and concrete products to withstand nature’s most extreme dangers.

“Going from having everything to nothing is just an unbelievable experience,” says one owner whose home was recently devastated by a wildfire. She wouldn’t make the mistake again, and instead is rebuilding with the trusted combination of Fox Blocks insulated concrete forms (ICF) and cold-formed steel. 

ICF is growing as the construction solution of choice for homes that are built to last, since it is up to 10 times stronger than wood. Using blocks of foam filled with concrete and rebar, the practically impenetrable result gives 4+ hours of fire protection, while wood has less than half of the time. 

Combined with ICF is the often-chosen cold-formed steel flooring system. Easy-to-install and durable for generations, cold-formed steel joists connected with concrete-topped steel decking are also resistant to fire (the floor has a two-hour fire rating) and can withstand significant punishment. This allows building occupants much more time to get out and stay safe if a fire does occur.

This is the heartbreaking story of one family who lost it all in a fire, and what they chose to do about it:

Improving Residential Construction & Safety in America’s Southwest

Homeowners are just discovering the superior combination of concrete, foam and steel, and are finding that fire resistance, and living in a type II non-combustible structure, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to listing the benefits of living in a home made from insulated concrete forms.

So, what else does ICF do? It inhibits the presence of insects, rodents and even water. This reduces structural and content damage for the home’s life, and all of the headaches/hassles/costs related to them. Even sound has great difficulty getting through the foam and concrete walls, helping to keep your living spaces calm and quiet. 

Often used in conjunction with ICF are floors built using a combination of cold-formed steel and concrete – a trademarked solution called Composite TotalJoist is only available through iSPAN Systems. The prefabricated 8- to 18-inch-deep floor joists are made of steel, and are designed to easily connect with ICF blocks using standard fasteners. Installed atop the joists is permanent steel decking, poured with a layer of concrete. (Resulting in a floor that is up to 50% lighter than other concrete floor systems.)

To further improve the firestopping ability of cold-formed steel flooring, iSPAN encourages builders to use intumescent sealant, tube insulation, firestop collars, pipe coverings, steel traps, packing material and wrap strips. When fires spread, every second counts, and these products can help.

Take a minute to learn more about how Composite TotalJoist improves residential construction: 


Since 2016, ICF distributor Alternative Building Concepts has used its Composite Totaljoist concrete flooring system in dozens of projects. A custom home in Texas was built entirely of ICF produced by Amvic Building Systems for a more sustainable and resilient structure, and iSPAN cold-formed steel to reduce floor vibrations, eliminate squeaky floors and encourage wide open floor plans. Adding fire-resistance to the list of benefits was just icing on the cake for this homeowner.

iSPAN Puts a Stop to Fire

Playing with fire is not worth the risk. Make sure your next home will not ignite in a wildfire and keep dreaded accidental internal fires contained. 

For fire-resistant ICF and cold-formed steel solutions, reach out to Matt Knorr at Alternative Building Concepts. His team sells iSPAN’s products in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. 

To learn more about iSPAN Systems’ Composite TotalJoist flooring system and how it complements the ingenuity of ICF construction, speak with Dwayne Schaus, iSPAN’s Director of Sales, at 519-458-4222, (x103) or dwaynes@ispansystems.com.


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