ECO-Block builds better homes in fire-ravaged southern California

02 June 2004

Dallas, TX. – With the catastrophic wildfires that recently ravaged portions of southern California still fresh in their minds, many builders, architects and engineers are rethinking their plans and choosing to build with ECO-Block insulating concrete forms (ICFs).
The possibility of lower insurance rates combined with increased safety and energy savings have pushed the popularity of ECO-Block homes and buildings upward. The insurance industry has begun to offer substantial discounts to ICF home and building owners as more planners, developers and civic leaders work toward building disaster-resistant communities.

“ECO-Block walls have superior fire resistance in comparison to most other building materials,” says Mike Gandee, ECO-Block regional manager, California. “More and more, architects and engineers are using ECO-Block in their plans, not only to reduce the impact of fire, but eventually to eliminate it. Soon we’ll see non-combustible residential buildings, and you can count on ECO-Block being part of that achievement.”
Numerous firewall tests underscore the strength and fire resistance of ICF walls. Unlike wood, concrete does not burn. Unlike steel, it does not soften and bend. These tests subjected ECO-Block walls to continuous gas flames and temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for more than four hours.

The tests also prove that ECO-Block prevents flames from moving directly through its walls. By comparison, fire typically passes through wood-framed walls in an hour or less. Other tests indicate that in the event of a fire, no risk or hazards to the environment from toxic fumes are to be expected. Test show the toxicity of the gaseous decomposition of ECO-Block’s flame retardant forms is less than that of wood-based building materials.

George Eastom, Insulated Concrete Forms, Inc, a southern California distributor of ECO-Block, has seen significant increase in business for rebuilds. One customer’s wood home was even burned down twice before he switched to concrete. Homeowners prefer the ECO-Block form, because it offers a solid concrete wall for better fire protection, compared to some of the other forms that have foam penetrations or thin spots in the concrete.

ECO-Block can be used for a full range of building projects, from residential safe rooms to an entire office complex. It consistently saves construction time and conserves energy resources, slashing utility bills by as much as 50 percent.

ECO-Block LLC is one of the world’s most innovative and experienced providers of insulating concrete form (ICF) systems.. The Texas-based company has developed the strongest, most versatile and technologically advanced ICF systems available for both commercial and residential construction. With manufacturing strategically located throughout North America and overseas locations, ECO-Block has a true coast-to-coast presence. ECO-Block offers unparalleled support in training, code compliance and technical assistance.

ICFs offer a cost-effective building solution that is mold-free, durable and fire-resistant. These buildings have withstood tornadoes, fires and driving rain. Use of ECO-Block’s ICF technology creates super-insulated, monolithic concrete walls that save energy, keep noise out and improve air quality. For the contractor, ECO-Block’s unique panel system offers ease of construction and design adaptability. With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why ICF technology is rapidly integrating into mainstream commercial and residential developments.

Vera Novak
Dir. of Marketing
ECO-Block, LLC

Mike Gandee
Regional Manager, California
ECO-Block, LLC