Concrete Homes Making Inroads In New Orleans

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After failing to stir up much enthusiasm for concrete as a more hurricane-resistant building material for housing, New Orleans-area concrete promoters are now racking up successes, and enlisting builders in their promotions.

October 02, 2000

New Orleans and southern Louisiana must now deal with an infestation of Formosan termites, an especially nasty variety that is now lunching on everything from historic wood buildings in the French Quarter, to treated wood telephone poles, to underground cables and wiring, and even live oak trees. Housing consumers seem to be taking note, and so are builders.

After failing to stir up much enthusiasm for concrete as a more hurricane-resistant building material for housing, New Orleans-area concrete promoters are now racking up successes, and enlisting builders in their promotions.

It must be the bugs.

Although a number of insulated concrete form (ICF) custom homes have been built in the area over the past few years, the recent decisions by several larger builders to feature ICF homes is precedent-setting.

The Concrete and Aggregates Association of Louisiana (CAAL) recently enlisted the services of a professional marketing agency, Marketing APS of New Orleans, to develop a comprehensive television advertising campaign touting the benefits of residential ICF construction in overcoming both Formosan termites and hurricanes. As a result, awareness of the option of ICF construction is increasing among consumers. And the area''s builders seem to be taking note.

Imperium Builders of New Orleans has made a commitment to build at least 15 ICF homes in its Fairway Estates development, and the Portland Cement Association has enlisted Emperium in its regional builder program, which assists large builders and developers in overcoming resistance to ICF construction.

And on the north side of Lake Ponchartrain, John Schroder of Deep South Development also plans to build 15 ICF homes in his Forest Brook development in Mandeville, La. Schroder has agreed to work closely with Paul Agrisiano of Marketing APS to combine forces with the existing CAAL advertising campaign and PCA''s regional builder program.

Meanwhile, in nearby Pontchotula, builder Jerry Sharp of TriParish Properties plans to build 35 single-family ICF homes and several duplexes in Hammond, La. Tri-Parish, like the others, will also coordinate with the CAAL television campaign and PCA''s regional builder program. In fact, Tri-Parish is so convinced of the appeal of ICF construction that the firm plans to use the technology to build 62 townhouses in Perdido Key, Fla.

CAAL has also developed partnering relationships for ICF construction with several area charitable organizations and Parades of Homes.

Obviously, these builders now believe ICF construction has a future in Louisiana. Amazing what a little bug can accomplish that monstrous storms never could.

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