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The concrete bandwagon.

"Every car that drives by the house slows down or stops," Martin Perlman says. "On weekends during construction, we had people walk through who were curious about the technology. But even more importantly, we had local builders coming by, asking questions about costs and general construction. We successfully positioned ourselves as leaders in this arena, and have had very positive feedback."

The Perlmans' overwhelming approval of The Concrete Concepts Home is not an isolated experience. Builders across the U.S. are adopting the technology. There were an estimated 1,000 new ICF homes built in 1995 alone, and housing industry experts believe that this market is primed for dramatic growth.

This growth is driven from a basic premise: today's buyer is more knowledgeable about the building process, more educated about materials, and more concerned with the long-lasting attributes of their home. Homes built with ICFs can go up quickly and easily, saving the builder time and money. The built-in four inches of insulation saves energy and subsequent heating and cooling costs. The concrete provides enhanced safety and security for the homeowner, with strength that will withstand the worst elements Mother Nature sends its way.

As consumers become more educated about this alternative construction technique, they will search out the pioneering builders who have familiarized themselves with the process. Builders who are already on the bandwagon will clearly get the lion's share of this new business.

Case in point: John Pringle, president of Pringle Development, a builder of retirement communities in Leesburg, Florida. After visiting several ICF home construction sites, and doing some research on the technique, Pringle decided his company should get its feet wet.

"After some feasibility studies were done, it was clear that this kind of building technology is highly marketable for us. So we jumped in," says George Donaldson, director of construction for Pringle.

Pringle Development built their first ICF home in July of 1995 and completed ten homes by the end of the year. They plan to have 100 built in 1996, and future projections are even more optimistic.

Dan Laemont, marketing director for Pringle, feels expertise with ICFs gives his company a considerable advantage.

"Perhaps the biggest benefit to builders is the ability to really set themselves apart from their competition," Laemont says, "by providing a stronger, more energy-efficient home than stick-built homes. Homes built with ICFs simply have a higher perceived value with consumers."

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Title Annotation:concrete houses
Date:Feb 1, 1996
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