The company was founded by Holger Rust in Cape Town in early 1979
Visiting van Dyk Stene in Vredenburg, South Africa


Terraforce celebrating 45 years in business


It takes a certain kind vision and foresight to give life to a promising idea, and it takes courage and perseverance to run with the idea and take it to its deserved heights. This is precisely what Holger Rust, director of Cape Town-based company Terraforce® has achieved over the past 45 years, since he founded the company in Cape Town, early in 1978.


By the 1990s Terraforce® precast cement blocks and the company’s eco-friendly construction practices were well established in South Africa, with nine licensees producing in all major centres. Today Terraforce® blocks are available in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, United Arab Emirates, India, Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho, Morocco and recently Egypt, and block sales now reach into the millions.


The Terraforce® company’s motto, “go green, go clean,” is lived out wherever we can. We believe that in life and in business, it is the only truly sustainable option for our planets’ future. Not only has this been an integral part of our marketing approach from the beginning, it goes beyond strategy. Founder, Holger Rust, has always been passionate about sustainable living and using green products. It is this passion that steered him toward creating a product that allows a concrete retaining wall to blend with its surroundings, whether for environmental or aesthetic reasons, reinforcing is often the neglected aspect of maintaining an essential balance in urban or rural environments.

Terraforce® designed the original interlocking and reversible hollow core earth retaining blocks over 40 years ago with living green in mind. They are incredibly versatile, but the most significant aspect of these blocks is that, by being fully permeable, reversible and plantable, they offer a sustainable solution to anyone who needs to consider landscaping or erosion control on site, as an alternative to impermeable (and often unsightly) solid concrete methods.


In 1979 Terraforce® began importing wire mesh gabions from Spain, becoming involved in the construction of gabion retaining walls and erosion control measures. During this time inspiration struck, and founder, Holger Rust, realised that a more cost-effective and practical method of earth retaining was needed in South Africa. Once the first Terraforce S blocks (which in the beginning weighed 50kg) were produced on a small home built “egg layer” block machine, the company has never looked back. In 1984, when the first license agreements were signed, daily production reached 400 blocks and eventually combined Terraforce® block sales, equaling over 6000sq.m per month, were achieved in Cape Town alone.

Terraforce® has continued to expand and mature, as Rust has striven to continue to frequently innovate and improve feasibility/case studies, evaluation reports and design software, as well as expanding the Terraforce® product range to include lighter retaining blocks, an accessory block for stairs or seating and two erosion control or hard lawn paving blocks.


World map of Terraforce licensed manufacturers
By the 1990s Terraforce blocks were well established in South Africa, with 9 licensees producing in all major centres. Today Terraforce blocks are available in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, United Arab Emirates, India, Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho, Morocco and recently Egypt, while block sales now reach into the millions.


It is not just sales figures that tell a success story. Terraforce® installations have garnered numerous awards for the company in recent years, most notably the coveted Bayer Trophy, awarded biannually to top class projects in the construction industry by the CMA (Concrete Manufacturers Association) Awards for Excellence. In the category Concrete Retaining Walls, Terraforce® has been awarded the premier trophy no less than 6 times.

The company continues to sustain customer satisfaction and uphold our reputation of service integrity.

  • In 2004 a network of recommended installers and contractors was initiated, who undertake to guarantee their workmanship.
  • In 2011 Terrasafe was founded as a professional design service for Terraforce® retaining walls.
  • In [year] Maxiwall Pro, design software for Terraforce® products, was upgraded.

These innovations have all proven to be successful and are contributing to upholding the sound foundation on which the company is founded.

Rust is satisfied with his decision of pursuing a sustainable business model, through extensive, and sometimes expensive, product testing and research in laboratories, here and overseas. This dedication to multi-functionality and sustainable development is part of the reason that Terraforce® has been recognised and grown significantly, locally and overseas.

He says, “I was warned that making too much information freely available on our web site would encourage the reverse engineers, the free riders of our times to jump on the band wagon. This has happened to some extent, with even a leading corporate citizen among the suspects, but overall, their activities are not long lasting and have not been able to hamper our sustained growth, even in the current recession. For me that was the most rewarding confirmation, that a combination of innovation, quality and commitment, are the most powerful driver of a long-lasting business.”

For more information on TERRAFORCE Products: Contact Us

Our Awards

Holger Rust, Jeremy Leighton and S.P. van Blerk with the Awards in 2006
Holger Rust, Jeremy Leighton and S.P. van Blerk with the Awards in 2006


CMA LogoSince they were first staged in 1985, the Awards have become the undoubted highlight of the precast concrete industry’s calendar. The competition is based on recently completed projects in which technical and aesthetic excellence, among other aspects, are critically assessed by a panel of independent judges drawn from the professions.

Held biennially and open to all members, the event provides an excellent vehicle for Southern African designers and project developers to establish themselves as trendsetters across several disciplines, and in doing so, to gain national recognition.









More coming soon...