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Gulf BID Newsletter
Article: IT’S BUILDING UP NICELY

In their effort to provide the latest and best construction technology available, Al Hayat Group has partnered with US-based BuildBlock Building Systems LLC to establish BuildBlock MidEast. The strategic joint venture will manufacture and distribute BuildBlock insulating concrete forms (ICF’s) to the Middle East market.

“We have successfully completed several ICF projects across the Middle East and now homeowners, builders, and government agencies are recognizing the superior features of ICF structures,” says Hadi Al Alawi, Chairman of Al Hayat Group. “Unparalleled comfort, energy efficiency, safety ratings, and speed of construction are the main advantages.”

A BuildBlock ICF consist of two panels of EPS (expanded polystyrene), which are connected by eight high-density plastic webs. ICF’s are staked to create the walls of a structure. Interlocking connectors on the tops and bottoms of the ICF’s lock them securely together. Steel rebar is snapped into the “fingers” of the plastic webs and concrete is poured into the void, resulting in a solid, monolithic concrete wall. The insulating properties of the stay-in-place EPS panels significantly reduce the energy cost and HVAC (heating/ventilation. air conditioning) requirements of the structure.

BuildBlock Building Systems CEO Mike Garrett points out that reduced construction time makes ICF technology ideal for the region. “An ICF structure can be completed in much less time than the post-and-beam method. That’s a tremendous advantage in terms of saving money and in meeting the construction needs of the area.” Garrett goes on to say that BuildBlock ICF’s have a number of unique features that make it even faster and easier to install than other ICF’s. “BuildBlock forms are usually reversible while the vast majority of other ICF’s are non-reversible or only partly reversible. The face of our ICF’s have numbered and marked cut lines, like a built-in measuring tape. Our corner forms are six inches longer on each leg than the industry standard and contain a moulded-in corner tie. This virtually eliminates the need for strapping and extra-corner bracing. Each of these factors saves installation time and we know that time is money.”

Al Alawi sites the superiority of the BuildBlock ICF design as the reason Al Hayat chose BuildBlock as its partner in this endeavor. “The BuildBlock ICF is very strong. This is due in large part to patented web design and the fact that each form contains more webs than most other ICF’s we’ve seen. Most other ICF’s don’t have corner webs at all. The built-in strength of BuildBlock ICF’s coupled with their interlocking horizontal connections distinguishes them from the competition.”

Al Hayat is a well-established diversified conglomerate, ranking among the largest privately held companies in the Middle East. “We are proud to be the first company to introduce insulated concrete forms to the Middle Eastern market,” Says Al Alawi. “ICF’s are revolutionizing the global building industry for homes and multi-family dwellings as well as commercial, institutional, and industrial developments.” BuildBlock Building Systems LLC is headquartered in Oklahoma City, US and distributes its ICF products throughout the US and Canada. The company is dedicated to making ICF technology available and affordable worldwide through its 10 US manufacturing facilities as well as its foreign licensing programme and partnership such as BuildBlock MidEast.