Stephens & Smith Construction Volunteers for the Next Habitat for Humanity Project in Nebraska

Stephens & Smith - Habitat for HumanityPartnering with the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA) and the Insulating Concrete Forms Manufacturing Association (ICFMA), the Build with Strength Coalition is again working on an innovative residential project for Habitat for Humanity.

Build with Strength is a national campaign promoting sustainable, resilient and energy-efficient structures, whether commercial or residential. Build with Strength partnered with Habitat for Humanity in 2020 with a goal of fortifying affordable and sustainable housing across the U.S.

Backed by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), the Build with Strength Coalition of architects, builders, engineers, emergency services personnel, policymakers and others works with Habitat to help further its commitment to solving challenging housing issues.

A new project in Lincoln, Nebraska, involved using insulated concrete forms (ICFs) on a 1,400-square-foot, slab-on-grade, single-family home. ACPA member Stephens & Smith Construction was involved in the project, generously donating the pump and some of the company’s workers to construct and place the concrete in the forms.

Stephens & Smith Construction Co., a full-service concrete company located in Lincoln and Omaha, is no stranger to Habitat for Humanity, having worked on various projects for the past 50 years. Additional donors to the project include Capital Concrete of Lincoln, Central Plains Cement Company and the Nebraska Concrete & Aggregates Association (NC&AA).

The construction process itself first involved placing the footings, after which the team started constructing the ICF blocks. A separate storm shelter was even constructed inside the home. After the ICF blocks were placed and secured with bracing and blocking, Stephens & Smith Construction pumped 31.5 cubic yards of concrete into the ICF blocks.

During construction, the project itself did not pose any significant challenges, with the exception that the group of volunteers were inexperienced— they had never used ICFs. Fortunately, ICFs are very user-friendly, so the volunteers quickly learned the process.

“I believe the biggest impact is the awareness this project has created locally,” says Jereme Montgomery, business development manager for Stephens & Smith Construction. “Jeff Mulder with the Nebraska Concrete & Aggregates Association did a great job with open houses that allowed local decision-makers—such as builders and policy makers— to see what ICFs are and how they differ from typical stick-framed construction.”

Stephens & Smith Construction viewed this project as a unique opportunity they did not want to pass up. They were already familiar with Build with Strength Coalition and their national campaign to build ICF homes at 16 different locations across the U.S.

“Everything went great, and the pumper and its driver were awesome!” says Jeff Mulder, NC&AA Promotions Director. “This project showcases the great benefits of ICF. With the high cost of lumber, this alternative is also affordable.”

The Build with Strength Coalition and its partners, including the ACPA, look forward to more projects with Habitat for Humanity that will build strong communities through concrete construction.

“It’s an amazing feeling to know the industry will help to provide affordable homes that are comfortable and safe for those living in them,” says Christi Collins, executive director of ACPA. “Concrete can provide great peace of mind for homeowners.”

About Stephens & Smith: In business since 1971, Stephens & Smith Construction Co., Inc. is an employee-owned, full-service concrete company that serves both the Lincoln, and Omaha, areas of Nebraska. Recognized by Concrete Construction magazine as one of the top 100 most successful concrete construction companies in the nation, they employ over 200 employees with over 2000 years of combined service.