North American Building Codes, Compliance & Approvals

BuildBlock ICFs are used all over North America in the United States, Canada, and Mexico as well as numerous other territories and countries. The primary building code standards organizations are the International Code Council and the Canadian Standards Association.

International Code Council

The International Code Council (ICC) is a non-profit organization that develops and publishes a set of model building codes that are widely adopted by local and state governments in the United States. The ICC’s model codes include the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code (IRC), and other codes that cover topics such as plumbing, mechanical, and energy conservation. The ICC updates its codes every three years to reflect changes in building technology, materials, and methods. Building officials and code enforcement personnel use the ICC codes as a basis for reviewing and approving building plans, issuing permits, and conducting inspections to ensure compliance with the codes. The ICC also provides training and certification programs for building code professionals, and promotes public safety and resilience through its model codes and standards.

International Residential Code (IRC) & International Building Code (IBC)

The IRC and IBC are both model building codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC). The International Residential Code (IRC) provides standards for residential construction, while the International Building Code (IBC) provides standards for commercial construction. The codes cover a wide range of topics related to building safety, including structural design, fire safety, plumbing, mechanical systems, and energy efficiency.

The IRC is intended to be adopted by local and state governments as a basis for their own building codes. It applies to one- and two-family dwellings, as well as townhouses that are not more than three stories in height. The IBC, on the other hand, is intended for adoption by governments for commercial and multi-family residential construction, as well as high-rise buildings.

Both codes are updated every three years to reflect new technologies and building practices, and they serve as a baseline for building safety standards across the United States. Building officials and inspectors use the codes to ensure that new construction meets minimum safety standards and to issue building permits and certificates of occupancy.

Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is a nonprofit organization that develops standards and codes for a wide range of industries, including construction, electrical and electronic equipment, and energy. The CSA is recognized by the Canadian government as an official standards development organization and is responsible for developing standards that promote safety, sustainability, and innovation. The organization also provides testing, certification, and training services to help businesses meet these standards.

Additionally, the CSA works with international organizations to develop standards that promote trade and ensure consistency across global markets. The CSA’s standards are widely used in Canada and around the world to ensure that products and services meet quality and safety standards, as well as to promote efficiency, sustainability, and innovation in various industries.

CAN/ULC-S717.1

CAN/ULC-S717.1 is a Canadian standard for testing and evaluating the fire performance of various types of insulation materials, including insulating concrete forms (ICFs). The standard is developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).

This standard outlines the testing procedures and requirements that insulation materials must meet to be considered fire-resistant. It includes tests for flame spread, smoke production, and fire resistance, and sets specific criteria that materials must meet to be approved for use in various building applications.

For ICFs specifically, CAN/ULC-S717.1 requires testing of both the foam and concrete components of the system to evaluate their individual fire performance. The standard also specifies the minimum thickness of concrete required in ICF walls to ensure adequate fire resistance.

Compliance with CAN/ULC-S717.1 is typically required by building codes and regulations in Canada, and is important in ensuring the safety and fire-resistance of buildings constructed with ICFs or other insulation materials.

Intertek Code Compliance Research Report CCRR-1003

Code Compliance Research Reports are designed primarily to assist building code enforcement officials in their determination that a subject product, material or method of construction can be approved for use under the “alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment” provisions of the applicable code. The provisions of building codes are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by the code. Building codes empower building officials to approve an alternative material, design or method of construction when it has been satisfactorily demonstrated to comply with the intent of the provisions of the code.

This report lists the areas that BuildBlock forms are evaluated against for complicance with the International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) as well as as the State of Florida Building Code (FBC). 

CAN/ULC-S717.1:2017

Standard for Flat Wall Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) Units – Material Properties
This Standard specifies the requirements for stay in place, modular expanded polystyrene (EPS) Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) units. Once filled with concrete, the ICF units remain in place as the thermal insulation for the resulting cast-in-place concrete wall of uniform cross-section and thickness. The requirements of this Standard apply to ICFs that act as permanent formwork for cast-in-place reinforced concrete beams; lintels; exterior and interior, above and below grade, load-bearing and non load-bearing walls; foundations; and retaining walls. This Standard is restricted to ICFs that enclose uniform monolithic concrete walls.

Also, this Standard provides requirements for products that consist of moulded expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation panels that are connected by cross ties to form the ICF and for the performance of cross tie flanges as a substrate for the attachment of interior and exterior finishes. This Standard sets performance requirements for the ICF unit in its primary function as a stay-in-place concrete form and for the materials that make up the form unit, along with the test methods to determine compliance with the performance requirements.

2012 IRC Builidng Codes Cover

International Residential Building Code (IRC)

The International Residential Code has adopted the Prescriptive Code regarding ICFs and addresses them in detail. Please direct your local code official to the following sections.

Code Revision
Relevant Section(s)
IRC 2021
R404.1: Concrete and Masonry Foundation Walls
R611: Exterior Concrete Wall Construction
IRC 2018
R404.1: Concrete and Masonry Foundation Walls
R611: Exterior Concrete Wall Construction
IRC 2015
R404.1: Concrete and Masonry Foundation Walls
R611: Exterior Concrete Wall Construction
IRC 2012
R404.1: Concrete and Masonry Foundation Walls
R611: Exterior Concrete Wall Construction
IRC 2009
R404.1: Concrete and Masonry Foundation Walls
R611: Exterior Concrete Wall Construction
IRC 2006
Sections 404.4 through 404.4.11: ICF Foundation Walls
Sections 611 through 611.9: ICF Wall Construction
IRC 2003
Sections 404.4 through 404.4.11: ICF Foundation Walls
Sections 611 through 611.9: ICF Wall Construction
2012 IBC Builidng Codes Cover

International Building Code (IBC)

The International Residential Code has adopted the Prescriptive Code regarding ICFs and addresses them in detail. Please direct your local code official to the following sections.

Code Revision
Relevant Section(s)
IRC 2021
Chapter 19: Concrete, Chapter 26; Foam Plastic Insulation
IRC 2018
Chapter 19: Concrete, Chapter 26; Foam Plastic Insulation
IRC 2015
Chapter 19: Concrete, Chapter 26; Foam Plastic Insulation
IBC 2012
Chapter 19: Concrete, Chapter 26; Foam Plastic Insulation
IBC 2009
Chapter 19: Concrete, Chapter 26; Foam Plastic Insulation
IBC 2006
Chapter 19: Concrete, Chapter 26; Foam Plastic Insulation
IRC 2003
Chapter 19: Concrete, Chapter 26; Foam Plastic Insulation

Local & Regional Code Compliance & Approvals

Miami-Dade Code Approval

Miami-Dade code approval refers to the process of reviewing and approving building materials and products for use in construction projects within Miami-Dade County, Florida. The Miami-Dade County government has established a rigorous testing and certification process to ensure that all building materials and products used in construction projects meet certain safety standards.

The Miami-Dade County product approval process involves testing products to ensure that they can withstand extreme weather conditions, including hurricane-force winds, heavy rain, and high humidity. Products are also tested for their resistance to impact, fire, and water infiltration. The testing is conducted by an approved independent laboratory that is accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).

If a product passes the testing process, it receives a Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance (NOA), which is a document that certifies that the product meets the applicable building code requirements. Builders and contractors must use products that have been approved by Miami-Dade County to comply with the local building code.

The Miami-Dade County product approval process is considered one of the most stringent in the United States, and products that receive Miami-Dade County approval are often recognized as meeting high standards for safety and durability.

Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance

The Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA) is a document issued by the Miami-Dade County government that certifies that a building material or product has been tested and meets the applicable building code requirements. The Miami-Dade NOA is typically required for building products and materials used in construction projects in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The Miami-Dade NOA is obtained through a rigorous testing and certification process that ensures that the building material or product can withstand extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, heavy rain, and humidity. The testing process also includes evaluating the product’s resistance to impact, fire, and water infiltration.

Once a building material or product has been tested and approved, the manufacturer can apply for a Miami-Dade NOA. The NOA typically includes information about the manufacturer, the product description, the testing standards used, and the approval date. The Miami-Dade NOA is typically valid for three years, after which the product must be retested and recertified to maintain its approval status.

Builders and contractors must use building materials and products that have been approved by Miami-Dade County to comply with local building codes. The Miami-Dade NOA is considered one of the most stringent product approval processes in the United States, and products that receive Miami-Dade County approval are often recognized as meeting high standards for safety and durability.

Miami/Dade County – NOA- 19-1205.06

Miami-Dade County requires advanced performance testing on building materials prior to receiving a Notice of Acceptance. Because of its more stringant performance requirements, the Miami-Dade County building code has been accepted by other building compliance organizations both thin and outside of the State of Florida.

Florida Product Code Approvals – No. FL4636

The Florida Building Commission requires evaluation and approval of products used in construction in the State of Florida. These are evaluated both on a materials basis as well as a performance basis. Some jurisdictions also require enhanced testing for performance such as the Miami-Date County approval. The Miami-Dade County standards have been adopted in multiple jurisdictions inside and outside of the State of Florida. 

City of Los Angeles – RR-25995

LADBS approves alternate building materials or products that are at least equivalent to the materials prescribed in the code in terms of quality, effective time period of fire resistance, strength, effectiveness, durability and safety. Approved materials are published as Los Angeles Research Reports (LARR).

City of New York – MEA No. 293-07-M

An MEA Number is the number assigned to a piece of equipment or assembly that has been approved for use in New York City by the MEA Division. The Department will continue to recognize previously-issued MEA and BSA product approvals, as per section 28-113.2.6 of the administrative code.

Wisconsin Building Product Evaluation – No. 200610-I

Product approval is generally voluntary. If a product meets the applicable codes and standards, then no further approval is necessary. Also, if an alternative method of compliance is desired, then a petition for variance for a specific project or a product approval for various projects are options. Lastly, if a national evaluation service such as ICC-ES has approved a product under a code or standard that we have adopted without relevant Wisconsin amendment, then we will generally accept that approval in lieu of a Wisconsin approval.

Code Approval Downloads

Some of the certifications are no longer required or maintained, but BuildBlock ICFs still meets or exceeds these requirements and so we have listed them here.

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