You've no doubt heard of using ICFs for walls and foundations, but did you know they work just as well for retaining walls? Chris Hurst of Zeropowerhouse Construction in Sonora, Calif., has used ICFs to build a number of retaining walls, including the 500-foot one around this multilevel parking lot (1). The project architect considered concrete block and cast-in-place concrete but chose ICFs because it was faster — a critical factor in light of the impending California rainy season and the potential for serious erosion at the site.

The footing included steel reinforcing, a keyway, and vertical rebar dowels 16 inches on-center (2, 3). It took Hurst's five-man crew four days to stack the ICFs (4), install reinforcing, brace the walls, and pump the concrete — a six-sack mix with pea-gravel aggregate (5).

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