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Intact Structural Frame

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Intact Structural Frame

Noah Devorshak, head of national commercial sales at UFP ISF, LLC, the Universal Forest Products (UFP) affiliate that manufactures and sells an innovative, new commercial building system called the Intact Structural Frame™ system (ISF) recently reported the world’s first application of ISF. Home to this cost-effective, light commercial construction system is a 7,000 sq. ft. retail space in Longview, Texas, developed by Tyler Hinsley Partners 2, Ltd. Architects and builders are already doling out praise to this versatile new product that could revolutionize commercial building.

So what is Intact Structural Frame? Developed by the Earthbound Corporation, ISF is the union of engineered wood and an innovative full-height anchoring system with advanced hold down technology. Unlike traditional anchoring systems, which connect walls to the foundation, ISF connects a structure’s roof to its foundation. This creates a firm “exoskeleton” that can help stand up to high load requirements in areas prone to frequent seismic, wind and snow activity. As a result, both architects and builders are afforded more flexibility in their material and design selection.

Some benefits of ISF can include:

  • Minimized construction delays due to inclement weather
  • Reduced concrete and insulation costs
  • May lower operating energy costs
  • Increased R-values
  • Ease of renovation
  • Potential LEED points
  • Consistent construction details for all geographical locations
  • Reduced need for interior columns and load-bearing walls

Devorshak first planted the seed to the Longview site’s eventual architect Kirk Acheson of Total Engineering Services at a convention in Austin. “He’s the one who actually took the product to the developer. That’s when they first saw it as a viable solution for their project,” said Devorshak.

Traditionally, when building commercial retail spaces, developers use industry mainstay framing methods such as concrete blocks or steel. What the Intact Structural Frame offers over these methods, according to Devorshak, is a complete, practical alternative that shaves up to three weeks off build cycles.


“We were able to offer the client a cost-effective solution, reducing prices versus block and steel while shortening the frame time,” Devorshak continued.

After meeting with the developer in mid-May last year, construction was under way by mid-July with the ISF portion in place by the end of the month.

Potential customers that could benefit from using the ISF product include national brands with freestanding retail structures.

“For a developer, the goal is to get your building built, get the tenants in and start generating revenue,” Devorshak explained. “The fact that we were able to speed that up, that’s great for them. Take a look at these national brands that are building around 100 to 150 new stores a year. We can decrease the construction time on these properties by two to three weeks a store, creating a lot of additional revenue.”

Since the Longview project is the first site anywhere to use ISF in its construction, it’s fair to say it won’t be long before others follow suit, especially when a builder considers the savings they’ll realize. This fact alone served as the primary reason through which an affiliate of Universal Forest Products came to work with the Earthbound Corporation, signing a licensing agreement to be the sole distributor and manufacturer of the Intact Structural Frame.

“When the housing bubble burst, we looked for opportunities to grow our business in the ISF market,” said Devorshak.

Insert the deal with Earthbound, and UFP ISF, LLC was born. This new company then found strategic opportunities with companies like LP Building Products to help actively pursue architects, engineers, national brands and some of the country’s largest general contractors across the country with design-build capabilities.

“LP has been fantastic,” Devorshak said. “They have such a wide variety of products, plus the fact that they listen to new ideas that national clients are interested in is an invaluable attribute.”

A variety of LP’s engineered wood products were used in the Longview ISF project, including LP® SolidStart® LSL. Laminated strand lumber installs like traditional lumber, but is straighter, stronger and can handle long spans, which make it an ideal counterpart to the Intact Structural Frame, said Devorshak.

LP SolidStart also offers grades up to 1.75E, the industry’s highest grade of LSL.

Ultimately, ISF may be on its way to one day replacing the use of CMU and structural steel framing, forever changing the face of freestanding commercial construction.

“We were impressed with all the science behind the product. There’s engineering codes and guidelines we have to follow,” said Devorshak, meaning ISF isn’t just a shot in the dark. “It’s a revolutionary, new way to build, both quickly and cost-effectively, and may just be the future of commercial building.”

For more information on the Intact Structural Frame, go to:


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Universal Forest Products, Inc. is a holding company that provides capital, management and administrative resources to subsidiaries that design, manufacture and market wood and wood-alternative products for building materials retailers and wholesalers, structural lumber and other products for the manufactured housing and residential construction markets, and specialty wood packaging and components and packing materials for various industries. It has subsidiaries that provide framing services for the residential construction market in some parts of the country, manufacture and market products used for concrete construction, and offer lawn and garden products, such as trellises and arches, to retailers nationwide. Its consumer products operations offer a large portfolio of outdoor living products, including wood composite decking, decorative balusters, post caps and plastic lattice. Founded in 1955, Universal Forest Products is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich. Its subsidiaries operate facilities throughout North America. For more about Universal, go to

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