So far, ICF’s are not used as widely in Australia as “Bricks” or “Blocks” but as Dr. Paul Downton, Architect and Writer of Ecopolis: Architecture and Cities for a Changing Climate noted
“Construction systems that are new to the market have to contend with the inertia of established systems. Brick Veneer building techniques may be the favoured method in Australia because of historical, business, or economic consideration, not because they are the ‘best’ methods.”
“The building system tends to favour a traditional or conventional type of construction that has been able to refine its costings and relationships with suppliers which have been established over a very long time.”
Therein lies the challenge for ZEGO ICF when posed with the Question “What are the cost savings of ZEGO when compared to conventional building?
The cost of building today is a significant financial investment. Labour and raw material costs are rising. We are also faced with the challenge of cheaper and inferior imported products that appear to be more cost effective. However, people are now experiencing the problems that can arise from using inferior or cheaper imported materials and hobby systems, especially in relation to traditional homes.
We are also challenged by the increasing price of gas and electricity as the cost of heating and cooling our homes is only becoming more expensive and will continue to increase over time.
The massive “Demand vs Supply” is also an ongoing issue as the population of Australia is increasing at a rate greater than anticipated. Builders and Developers are forced to meet tighter construction deadlines and all construction professionals ranging from the Architects and Designers through to the Engineers and Builders are compelled to find faster and more cost effective alternatives without compromising on quality.
The old adage “Time is Money” has never been more pertinent than it is today.
To add to this is the worldwide challenge of global warming and climate change. This is a hot topic in the building world and largely subjective. No matter what side of the fence you are on, consideration should always be given to materials that are 100% recyclable. The stronger a building is and the longer it stays in place bears a direct corolation to the decreased amortization of CO2 production over time.
Also, with an energy efficient building, heating and cooling CO2 is reduced at production from manufacturing power, whether they are photovoltaic/solar panels, geothermal, wind turbine or simply coal and gas power stations.
Whilst our moderate Australian climate has allowed us to get away with conventional building up to a point, we can no longer deny that there are too many alternatives now available in the marketplace including ZEGO (ICF) Insulated Concrete Forms. It is time to “get with the new” and consider the options that enable us to build Greener with sustainability and energy efficiency and passive design, reducing the knock-on effect on our environment in the long term and at no additional cost.
The challenge in today’s market is to find the building alternative that ticks all the boxes for the future of the building.
ZEGO Building Systems is an Insulated Concrete Formwork Building System (ICF’S) that has invested heavily in ongoing research and development to provide the alternative market solution in the form of a flame retardant polystyrene formwork that is light weight, therefore requiring less material handling and labour on site. Once erected, the Expanded Polystyrene Formwork is core filled with a reinforced concrete, providing a solid wall structure in a sacrificial formwork that stays in place and insulates.
ZEGO offers a complete building solution for walls and floors that is modular, interchangeable, and engineered with simplicity so that it does not require skilled or qualified labour to install. It also offers structural integrity, speed of construction and insulation in one process.
The precise interlocking of the forms at 50mm increments assists in the ease of construction.
Typically, the walls of a single level building can be erected and core filled in one week ready for the first suspended floor or roof to go on. To achieve this, you would require 3-4 labourers on site.
ZEGO is a 100% Australian made, Quality assured and tested to meet Australian Standards and codes such as the Concrete Structures Standard AS3600.
- ZEGO clients continue to testify that, ‘YES,’ the cost is comparable with brick veneer. However, it is important to keep in mind that costs with rise and fall according to the type of building, location, and local material costs.
- The unquantifiable cost advantages and benefits of ZEGO users over conventional methods are;
- PRODUCT VERSATILITY– ZEGO’s extensive product range covers all aspects of the structure, including walls and floors, fire rated and non-fire rated, reusable formwork for off-form concrete finishes as well as lightweight cladding materials. So, effectively ZEGO is a one-stop shop for your building structure
- LABOUR – DIY (Do it Yourself) or any labourer, block layer, bricklayer, carpenter, or builder can lay the blocks easily
- COMPLETION TIME – One week per floor level on average which results in a significant saving on labour during the construction of the walls and being able to move into the completed building sooner than with other building methods.
- ENERGY EFFICIENCY – Clients unanimously testify that their heating and cooling electricity costs are at least 50% less than the comparable size conventional built homes they have lived in.
- THERMAL – The ZEGO walls hold temperature constant- In fact, most clients report installing air- conditioners and floor heating but realistically, never use them or if they do, may turn them on for 1-2 extreme days over Summer and Winter. HVAC system HP/KW can be halved in size and maintenance costs are reduced as the systems are not overworked.
- STRUCTURAL STRENGTH – ZEGO buildings are 6-9 times stronger than brick buildings so will withstand cyclones and hurricanes. Remember brick is not reinforced with REO!
- ACOUSTIC – ZEGO users repeatedly comment on how peaceful and quiet their home or building is. The ZEGO walls act as a sound absorption and actually eliminate external and internal noise. Many clients after building their home or dwelling will then continue to use ZEGO for a fence or retaining wall to block out or to reflect the traffic and street noise. You can further enhance ZEGO efficiency with double glazed windows.
- ONGOING COST SAVINGS – ZEGO clients often refer to their homes as the “The Gift that keeps on Giving” because of the savings on money, lower maintenance and running costs that continue every year for the lifecycle of the home.
- LATEST BUILDING TECHNOLOGY – ZEGO users have the satisfaction of knowing they have built with the latest and most innovative building technology on the market. Our clients are confident they’ve ticked all the boxes not only for themselves but also the environment. We don’t question buying the latest model car, therefore why would we question the ICF technology over conventional brick and block systems that are outdated and inefficient.
- SATISFACTION LEVELS – Building can be a stressful process and there will always be variables along the way that cannot be controlled causing frustration and sometimes added cost. Over the past 15 years, our ZEGO user’s satisfaction is the measure of our success. We are proud to say that we’ve never had a client complain about the comfort level or satisfaction of living in their ZEGO home/building.
Overall, to clarify the cost comparison of ZEGO vs Conventional, the overall cost of the whole build process when calculated as cost rate per m2 works out less than conventional building methods. However, as previously mentioned, each project is unique in design and has many variables that also need to be taken into consideration. When taking all the above into account, the true cost saving of a ZEGO ICF project can be realised.