40 years on: a force to be reckoned with

2019-05-09T13:18:56+00:00May 3rd, 2019|News|

Quality and technical excellence has been at the forefront for Terraforce since 1979.

Terraforce, the well-known Cape Town based pre-cast concrete manufacturer that specialises in modular hollow-core concrete blocks, has maintained a strong foothold in the South African concrete retaining wall market.

2019 marks the company’s 40th anniversary of engaging in the earth retaining and erosion control industry. Initially as a supplier and installer of wire mesh gabions, Terraforce soon switched to the more sustainable concrete block method of their own design that was pioneered in 1984. Proven as a solid choice, and with only one competitor in this sector situated in Europe, their business has grown steadily and is now represented by dedicated licensees on all continents around the world.

Terraforce has established thriving production in Canada, the US, Brazil, Australia, Turkey, India, Europe and United Arab Emirates. Their product presents one of the most energy efficient segmental retaining wall systems and requires low hardware input for manufacture, has low transport costs and low inventory requirements at sales outlets.

Being hollow, yet strong enough, they require less concrete to do the job when compared to solid block systems. The blocks are also plantable and if irrigation and maintenance is set up properly an installed wall can be completely covered in vegetation.

Terraforce knows that robust research, testing and design guidelines are indispensable, not only as a service to their customers, but also to keep the ‘free-riders’ at bay. Over the years a number of laboratory tests (crushing resistance, inter-block sliding resistance, block geogrid connectivity tests and block geogrid shear resistance), three design manuals and a wealth of supplementary information has been conducted and published.

In 2004 its first design software was launched, and soon many of their clients requested the design service. Terrasafe, which provides first-class engineering, management and specialist technical service to users of any of the Terraforce products, was launched in 2011. In 2018 the company launched its state-of-the-art design software, Maxiwall, a design tool for experienced professionals.

Terraforce is currently completing a comprehensive design course for gravity and composite retaining walls, in compliance with SANS 207 based largely on BS 8006. Therefore it was necessary to verify some of the findings of the aforementioned tests conducted in 1991 and 1995 in South Africa and Canada.

Curtin University in Perth, Australia, under the guidance of Johan Joubert of Wave International, recently submitted a report on their 2018 laboratory tests aimed at determining shear strength between closed-face Terraforce blocks and geo-grids in accordance with ASTM-D6916-18, which is a performance test based on the strength between segmental concrete units (with and without geosynthetic reinforcement) used in design of reinforced soil retaining walls. The report endorses the shear strength between the blocks and geo-grid material.

Going forward, Terraforce plans to consistently reiterate their position as an ethical business by practicing in fair competition, truthful representation and honest advertising. Above all, the company continues to develop on their knowledge base and skills to the highest levels of excellence. In light of this commitment, they are looking further into achieving green certification from a reputable green body.