BuildBlock ICF Installer Training Series: Understanding Labor

Understanding Labor

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.

This video covers the steps necessary to plan for and lead a successful team. We discuss basic labor calculations, crew leadership, skilled and non-skilled labor usage, and job site efficiency and planning.

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

Understanding Labor

In this video we’ll help you understand basic labor calculations, crew leadership, skilled & non-skilled labor usage, job site efficiency, and planning.

When building with ICF’s you’ll need team members to do a variety of jobs. As work begins team members will stage material, stack ICFs, place rebar reinforcement, and install flooring systems. As the walls go up, crew will create and buck openings, erect bracing and alignment systems, as well as create and install embedments. Lastly you’ll need people to align walls, pour and consolidate concrete, clean the jobsite, and help with loadout.

It’s important to have at least one person on your site with ICF construction experience, but with a little guidance almost anyone can build with BuildBlock ICFs. Assembling an effective crew is essential to any project. Most residential jobs can be done with 3-5 people while commercial jobs may require more depending on the size of the project.

When calculating basic Man Hours Per Square Foot use these equations. First calculate your Total Man Hours by multiplying the amount of people on your site by the total hours worked. Then calculate your Gross Wall Square Footage by multiplying the linear feet of wall by the wall height in feet. Then take your Total Man Hours and divide it by the Gross Wall Square Footage. This will equal your Man Hours Per Square Foot.

Note: this is an after the job calculation method, not a bid calculation method, but will give you a sense for how to staff your crews on future jobs.

Crew rates will fluctuate based on the experience of the team members. Extra cost may also occur if a job has an added complexity factors such as stringent job site requirements, safety regulations, security, or just based on the overall complexity of the project.

As you prepare your build, take time to plan out your process so that your jobsite can operate efficiently. Stage materials and bracing close to working areas or inside the project. Keep materials 6-feet back from the wall area to leave room for the bracing system when erected. Prep materials so they are ready to go before you need them. For example it’s a good idea to stage your accessories and tools as well as pre-make bucking and pre-cut rebar.

Communication on the jobsite is key. Use the surface of the ICF walls as a way to mark where certain items are going. Mark areas like vertical rebar locations, window centerlines, and rough opening sizes. Mark any special repeated block cuts on the wall so they are easy to repeat Agree on the method for marking and cutting blocks to avoid any waste. Locate and mark areas for penetrations, beam pockets, and blockouts.

Planning for the complexity of the job, knowing the crew, and keeping everyone focused on their job will maintain an efficient and cost-effective project.

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