Terraforce launches a professional design service that provides first-class engineering, management, and specialist technical service to users of any of the Terraforce products.
Holger Rust, owner of Terraforce, Cape Town based pre-cast concrete licensor, specialising in modular, hollow core concrete blocks, is passionate about professional design:
"right from the start, when Terraforce was founded in 1979, we have been involved in assisting specifiers with design services in the form of purpose made tables, design manuals, excel spreadsheets and a windows based design programme. Occasionally our engineer also provided a full design service, now and then including the supervision of the site, when requested to do so by the client."
This dedication to professional services and the development of first-class products has paid off over the years, Terraforce products having become well known in many parts of the world. Of course, as Terraforce grew into a successful company, competitors started up in various corners of the country and while Holger agrees that competition should not be viewed as a threat, he feels that most people in business understand that, “competition is good for business and for the consumer, imitators and copycats are not.”
Holger adds that throughout the years a string of imitators, operating in many locations, came and went, leaving behind a trail of on-site disasters: “Lacking a sense of ethics and values, most of them are and where strangers to terms such as statutory requirements, surcharge loadings, potential failure planes, interface shear capacity, pull-out and crushing resistance, lateral earth pressure or progressive backfill erosion. The lack of any SABS/SANS standards at that stage made things even worse.”
Early in the 1990’s Terraforce, as a response to this situation, started a catalogue of failures with photos and investigation of causes. This collection was later adopted, with small changes, by the Concrete Manufacturers Association of South Africa (CMA). In short, the document cautions that due to insufficient professional design and supervision, segmented block retaining walls can occasionally suffer from these shortfalls:
a. Insufficient constructed mass – no or negligible design input.
It is important to note says Holger that sometimes a combination of causes may be the trigger for these shortfalls.
In the absence of a ready-made SABS/SANS specification for concrete retaining blocks (CRB’s), Terraforce turned to the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) in California for a comprehensive evaluation report in compliance with NCMA specifications. Dr. Richard Bathurst in Kingston, Ontario conducted the necessary testing and with Colin Alston of Alston and Associates, compiled our latest design manual. “Over and above that we set up a number of recommended installers in all parts of South Africa. They have undertaken to guarantee their workmanship and undertake to follow our guidelines and standards”, says Holger.
He adds that these measures have to a degree put a damper on the scourge of sub-standard workmanship among some manufacturers and installers: “The various excellent publications distributed by the CMA over the years have also made a big difference. Recently an SABS/SANS (508/2008) standard has finally been published and will hopefully make a difference.”
Holger says that the recent spectacular failure of a large wall in Namibia (built by a competitor and brought down by lacking drainage after a storm) has prompted Terraforce to launch Terrasafe, “to protect our good reputation as best as we can.”
Phone: +27 (0)21 465 1907
Fax: +27 (0)21 465 4047
Mobile: 083 658 1056