NUDURA Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) enable you to construct a wide range of buildings, quickly and efficiently – to almost any design.

These easily assembled, interlocking forms are reinforced with concrete to create ultra-efficient, quiet and durable building shells which can be complemented with a range of external and internal finishes to give the look and feel you desire.

Designed by Gregory Phillips Architects, The Pheasantry is a substantial 4,000+ square foot home. The front elevation has been carefully designed to convey a modest two storey building with a levelled parking area near to the entrance. However, its towards the rear that the property takes full advantage of the topography of the plot. Partially built into the sloping landscape the home opens out into a four-storey design allowing the owners to take full advantage of the extensive views over the nearby High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

ICF Build Time: 6 weeks
Project Type: Residential
Project Size: 4,000+ sq.ft
Architect: Gregory Phillips Architects
ICF Supplier: ICF Southern
Products Used: Nudura ICF

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When it came to choosing the right building products for this project, Shirley and Vernon considered a raft of sustainable options. They finally decided on Nudura ICF which would offer the strength required to create a semi-subterranean whilst also offering exceptional energy efficient properties.

The first stage of the build was to construct the below ground levels, consisting of a sub basement to hold the ducts and machinery and a basement level for the swimming pool and plant equipment. Basement projects require specialist input and Nudura distributors, ICF Southern Ltd, were on hand to ensure correct procedures were followed and work closely with the contractors, who hadn’t built with ICF before.

The basement levels required a significant amount of groundwork and the contractors first had to dig down approximately six metres before laying a concrete substrate. For the subterranean levels a 254mm core Nudura block was specified to give the necessary structural strength and provide superior insulation. The
blocks are waterproofed with a Nudura membrane and an additive incorporated into the concrete mix. This waterproofing agent contains active chemicals that react with fresh concrete to generate a non-soluble crystalline formation that seals the concrete against the penetration of water or liquid.

It is calculated that up to 80% of a pool’s heat is lost through the sides and bottom of the pool, due to the fact that the ground conducts heat far more efficiently than the surface air. The inherent strength and insulating properties of the ICF system meant they were also used to construct the swimming pool, improving the energy efficiency of the pool’s heating system and reducing overall running costs. With the basement shell in place, the Nudura system continued upwards to build the main structural wall transitioning to a 152mm core block.

The simplicity and flexibility of the Nudura system were a real benefit in the construction of the striking cantilevered design feature. The first-floor section sits at rights angles to the lower level, overhanging the house by a total of metres. Details such as this are easily achieved with the addition of extra steel reinforcement bars inserted into the Nudura block before the concrete pour stage. This avoids the need for costly RSJs which are required when building with traditional brick or block construction. 

Before the build, Vernon and Shirley carried out extensive research into current sustainable technology and the advantages it could offer. ICF structures greatly reduce air infiltration, optimise energy performance with Uvalues as low 0.11 and offer excellent thermal bridging values. The Cole’s opted to combine the excellent insulating properties of Nudura ICF with a sedum green, photovoltaic solar panels, triple-glazed windows and underfloor heating supplied by an air source heat pump.


The ICF build and concrete pour was completed in only six weeks and finished with render and brick slips on the outside, whilst the internal faces were plastered.

Owner Shirley couldn’t be happier “We’re extremely pleased with the performance of our new home. It is incredibly warm and requires very little additional heating, even during the winter months. We have a lot of experience working in build projects but we’d never used ICF before. ICF Southern were there every step of the way offering their guidance and using their expertise every step of the way.”

And finally....

As a further testament to the massive strength and durability of Nudura ICF, an unfortunate incident with a visiting lorry shortly after the house had been completed left the building virtually unscathed. The lorry, meanwhile, wasn’t quite so lucky and suffered fairly extensive damage!


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