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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/10/2009

Today saw a great burst of activity with the first truckload of block being delivered to the site.

Long-time readers of this blog might remember that I chose to go with BuildBlock a long time ago. There are a lot of reasons for that--I like their Lego-style connection system, I like the more closely-spaced webbing their blocks have than most systems, I like their plethora of measuring marks on the forms themselves (which makes cuts much simpler), I like the fact that the shipping is more efficient, I like the fact that they have a plant local to me, I like their prompt replies to my questions--in short, I just plain like them more. Using the $$$-per-R-value measure they came in at the high end of the low group, which indicates good value.  It just "feels" like it will be an easy product to work with.

Now that the footers are poured, the crew can start stacking block in earnest, and the first step there was to get the block delivered. That happened today.  It was touch and go for a bit with the trailer--they brought it up in a much larger trailer than I actually would have recommended and had a bit of trouble backing it in next to the site.  You'll see that in the pics.

Since the crew had spent most of the morning tidying the footers and removing the last of the forms, the block didn't come in until early afternoon. Once it arrived, they got to work unloading and stacking it around the site (you put small piles all over the place so you don't have to go far to get more block), and since the pallets are more bulky than heavy this wasn't too difficult.

They'll begin stacking for the curtain wall tomorrow.

It's amazing to see things come together so quickly!  Let's  hope the Indian Summer holds...

Steven in Colorado Springs


The first trailer load of block, carefully missing the tree that was endangered by the concrete trucks last week.
Builder Dale decides to disconnect the trailer.
Not much room, but it made it....
After they disconnected the trailer from the Suburban, Builder Dale finished pushing it into place with his trusty backhoe.

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Posted by RogerC in Phoenix, AZ on 11/16/2009

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Wow... fun times ahead indeed!   Looks like some big progress coming up soon.

BuildBlock is currently at the top of my list.  I'm also looking into Insulock and Isomax.  As you found, each one seems to have its unique advantages.  Please keep us posted on your thoughts about BuildBlock as you and Colleen get into it!

When you did your $-per-R-value measure, were you using a specific resource from the Web, or just comparing the specs for the specific products on your short list?
Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/17/2009

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We're really liking the Buildblock so far, I must say.

I did the $-per-R-value very straightforwardly.  I had received a half-dozen estimates from various ICF manufacturers (PolySteel, BuildBlock, Greenblock, and ARXX) for a raw-materials cost.   I then looked at the R-value each style advertised on their web pages, averaged that with what what I could find in various online reviews (most reduced the spec value a point or two, while a couple said they were doing better), and then divided the cost by the R-value to get a $-per-R-value number. Doing it this way broke out the products into three "tiers", with BuildBlock coming out with a relatively low cost per point of value. 

I also liked the basics of BuildBlock better--the heavily ruled and marked block for ease of measure and cutting, the heavy webbing, the close spacing of the webbing (every 6"), and the Lego-like interface.  I liked one aspect of the PolySteel product--the steel straps rather than plastic--but did not like the tongue-and-groove fitting mechanism between the blocks, as this seemed too prone to leaks and blowouts. Other blocks had good "teeth" for fitting the blocks together but didn't have the same thickness as the Buildblock (at 2 1/2" thick, it's the thickest I've found).

Price-wise everybody was very closely clumped--there wasn't enough difference between the bids on block itself to make a significant difference.

I had not looked at either InsulBlock or IsoMax at all, though after I selected BuildBlock I discovered that one of my neighbors in the canyon had used InsulBlock and was quite happy with it. Whatever you chose, I'd love to hear your experiences as well!

Steven in Colorado Springs

Posted by RogerC in Phoenix, AZ on 11/18/2009

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Your approach was straightforward, yet thorough.  I probably wouldn't have thought to factor-in the actuals from reviews if you hadn't mentioned it.   I'll do that for my final decision.

Thanks for your thoughts on what to look for in a block.  They're not too far off from what I was liking about BuildBlock.  I'll be sure to share my choice and experience with it, as soon as I get my project up-and-running.   Congratulations on your progress!


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