Communicating Cuts: Spaces and Bars Method

Communicating Cuts: Spaces and Bars Method

Welcome to the BuildBlock ICF Installer Training Series. This 20 part video series is intended to be an educational walk through of the ICF building process. From the early planning phases to pouring concrete and finishing walls, this series will provide the basic knowledge you need to have a successful BuildBlock ICF build.

In this short video we’ll cover an effective way of communicating block cuts on the jobsite. When filling a void space in an ICF wall with a cut block, it is important to keep web spacing in mind. Using the Spaces and Bars Method not only insures that a cut block will be the correct size, but also that webs will remain on 6″ spacing. With a little practical onsite use, this method will become a common language between you and your crew, resulting in a seamless, successful build. 

The videos in this series are produced as a companion to the BuildBlock Installation and Technical Manuals available for free download on the Publications Page or for purchase via the BuildBlock Online Store. You can view more videos in this series via the BuildBlock Blog or by subscribing to the BuildBlock YouTube Page. For a more in depth training experience you can take the free Online ICF Installer Training Series.

Video Transcript

Communicating Cuts: Spaces and Bars Method

Communication is extremely important on the job site so it’s best to agree on a standard system for identifying the size and spacing of block cuts.

One way to identify size and spacing is the “Spaces and Bars Method”. This method not only describes the length of a cut block but also ensures that when cut, the spacing will be consistent keeping webs aligned properly.

The Spaces and Bars Method uses three sets of numbers. For this video we will use the example of a 2-4-2 block.

For this method, a “bar” references the one the inch of foam that is between two cut lines.

The first number refers to the number of vertical bars of foam before coming to a web. The second number is the number of webs.

The third number is the number of vertical bars of foam after the webs are counted.

So for example, our 2-4-2 block would look like this. The first 2 means there are 2 vertical bars of foam before hitting a web. When using BuildBlock ICFs these vertical bars are each 1 inch of foam. The 1-inch repeating pattern and integrated cut lines and tape measure also make it very easy to cut correctly.

The second number, 4, means the block needs 4 webs. BuildBlock ICF webs are spaced every six inches. In this example, there would be 18 inches between the 4 webs and an extra 2 inches for final web itself.

The last number, 2, means we have another two vertical bars or two inches of foam after the last web.

When these numbers are added together you’ll have the total block length of 24 inches.

As blocks are cut and walls are stacked it’s important that web spacing stays the same throughout. Not all cuts are created equal so simply grabbing a 24 inch block for an open space doesn’t mean the webs will align correctly.

For example, not every 24 inch block will have 2 inches of foam on either side of the web. A 0-4-4 block and a 1-4-3 block are also 24 inches long but may end up placing webs too close or too far away to the surrounding blocks. With the Spaces and Bars Method you’re not just filling a space, you’re using specific block cuts to fill the space correctly.

This method, along with the 1” BuildBlock repeating pattern make sure you can use any scrap block and integrate it into the wall as long as it has at least 1 web.

The Spaces and Bars Method is a quick and efficient way to implement cut blocks into the ICF wall. When used properly it ensures that walls are secure, webs are spaced evenly, and less material is wasted. With a little practical application on site, this method will become a common language between you and your team.

One last tip, when many of the cuts you make will repeat every other course. Use a permanent marker to write any special cuts or other notes on the wall. This saves time for everyone and keeps your project moving.

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