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e the palM Beach post residences AbvkRTisiNG skfcToN : sInday, December 7," '1997 j Better wall can be built without using lumber The insulated concrete movement has been fueled by growing environmental awareness, rising lumber and energy prices, and building codes requiring insulation values of R20 or greater. By MARCY MANNING In 1995, the 14,000-square-foot Palm Plaza shopping center in the Virgin Islands was in the eye of the storm as Hurricane Marilyn struck. Damage to the island was extensive. The Hyatt Regency St. John, just down the street, was so battered that it remains closed nearly two years later. Nothing was left of the building next door except the slab. But Palm Plaza emerged from the devastation with barely a scratch. The reason: The shopping center's walls were built with Blue Maxx Wallsys-tem, a family of insulated concrete forms developed by AAB Building Systems Inc. Resembling large sandwiches with space in the middle for a concrete filling, the lightweight polystyrene blocks act as molds that hold poured concrete and remain in place after the concrete has cured, creating &A- or 8-inch thick concrete walls reinforced with steel and surrounded by polystyrene insulation. Whole forests have given their lives to the cause of human shelter, but "stick-built" houses and other products of such massive deforestation have flaws. Gaps between insulation batts in wooden walls create permanent cold spots, let in drafts and send energy costs through the roof. Noises from both outside and inside pass through as easily as a bird through the air. The movement has been fueled by growing environmental awareness, rising lumber and energy prices that have brought the price of insulated concrete forms in line with traditional materials. And new building codes now require insulation values of R20 or greater in many parts of North America. Insulated concrete forms account for roughly 1 percent of the market in residential construction and is expected to rise to 7 percent by the year 2000, according to estimates by the Portland Cement Association. A unique bracing system provides a safe working surface while ensuring straight and plumb walls, a series of special-purpose blocks that make it easy to" create custom treatments such as bay windows and non-standard angles, and a patented plastic web that joins the tow polystyrene panels of each form. This "X" web eliminates on-the-job assembly, adds strength, has special grooves that ease installation of reinforcement bars, and provides a strapping strip on the inside and outside surfaces of each panel that can be used for quick and efficient fastening of interior and exterior finishes such as drywall or wood paneling. The plastic composition also virtually eliminates the transmission of heat or cold through the wall. Fire can consume a wood wall in just a few minutes. Tornado and hurricanes can do the same. The antidote: The Blue Maxx Wallsys-tem from AAB Building System Inc., which is based on hollow, lightweight polystyrene blocks used to frame a building and then pumped full of concrete. The blocks remain in place, creating a 6- or 8-inch-thick wall consisting of a solid layer of concrete sandwiched between two thick panels of expanded polystyrene insulation. This provides significant environmental, energy-saving and labor-efficiency advantages over conventional wood construction. The blocks stack and interlock without need of tools, and they consolidate five construction steps into one. First, they serve as easy-to-assemble insulated concrete forms known in the industry as ICFs that streamline the process of building foundations and walls. They also act as energy-efficient, R25 plus insulators that eliminate the need for extra wall insulation; as air and vapor barriers that replace the materials usually used for those functions; as strapping devices that can hold nails or screws for drywall or siding; and as secure, snap-in-place holders for reinforcement bars. The result is a five-in-one system that significantly reduces construction time. In addition, the system offers noise reduction capabilities that can lower the noise from an outside lawnmower to a whisper; a three-hour fire rating; and elimination of drywall cracks and nailpops. Basic insulated concrete forming systems have existed in Europe for several decades, and ICFs began entering the North American market in the early '90s. 561-745-2600 140 Intracoastal Pointe Drive, Suite 403 Jupiter, FL 33477 Internet: httpwww.sheehanrealty.com Sheehan Realty CORPORATION t....id PALM BEACH SHORES. 2-Story 4BR4BA yachtsman's paradise on Intracoastal, overlooking Peanut Island; V mile to P.B. miei. uocK tor 3U boat. Asking $995,000. jr- in -in - - A 1 - ; ----- ADMIRALS COVE. 4BR plus den WF home on quiet street near Clubhouse. Lovely patio wbeautiful view. Dock for 50' boat included. Priced right at $975,000. ADMIRALS COVE. Spacious 4BR4.5BA WF home. Marble foyer, formal liv. rm., din. rm., fireplace, wet bar, oak floors, dock wlift & much more. Asking $929,000. ADMIRALS COVE. Lovely 4BR plus den WF home Wdock for 50' boat. Open plan, fireplace, wet bar, security & sound system, healed pool & spa, outdoor grill. $1,100,000. , ,f ' i x 4 ,M,h-:- I (-. - -.- r:j. l ft s i s 1 GOLF VILLAGE. Like-new 3BR3.5BA Pinehurst model. Lots ADMIRALS COVE. 4BR plus den home overlooking golf & water on the 1 1th fairway. Lovely poolpatio woutdoor grill; master BR suite wpvt. spa area. Asking $550,000. GOLF VILLAGE. Well-designed 2BR plus den home wwhile tile, gourmet kitchen, marble bath, heated poolspa. Extra wide lot, water & fairway view. $539,000. of privacy, wonderful water view. Attractively priced at $499,000.