UK-based Redi-Rock has recently designed a range of blocks that meets the challenges posed by engineers and architects while at the same time keeps up with the global green appeal.
Redi-Rock, a UK-based industry leader in large block retaining walls and landscaping solutions, has recently launched a range of blocks that has been designed to meet market demands for products that are sustainable, have built-in engineered strength, are adaptable to climatic conditions and are architecturally and aesthetically appealing.
“Architects throughout the world are challenging suppliers to create aesthetically pleasing construction products that complement the landscape,” says Neville Gaunt, managing director, Redi-Rock International. “A growing, yet equally challenging requirement from a green global perspective is that these products should also be sustainable in the environment. When faced with this growing trend and the need to design and build with strength, there are often compromises that have to be made.”
Redi-Rock has recently designed a structurally engineered range that aims to address all these requirements. Made from 100 per cent unreinforced concrete, the blocks mark a paradigm shift in the ‘block’ arena, being 0.5 sq m of face rather than the worldwide standard 200 mm by 100 mm for blocks. The blocks have a self-interlocking design, look like natural stone and weigh one tonne each.
Elaborating on the product, Gaunt says: “At the heart of the Redi-Rock product range is an innovative, engineered, instant walling system that is versatile enough to achieve height of over 4 m without using geogrid and without compromising strength.
“Looking like a massive version of the children’s toy Lego, it is a mega ‘concrete lego’ for engineers, allowing complete design flexibility, with a varied colour choice. The solution has all the standard advantages attributed to offsite manufacture, as the blocks are predesigned and made from unreinforced precast concrete.
“The blocks are designed for use in any landscaping project, being ideal in situations where space is limited and are fast to construct in all weather conditions, as they are dry-laid using a small installation team.
Varied application areas
Although retaining walls seem a specialist market, these walls exist in all forms of construction and building activity and have varied application areas. These include coastal defences, harbour and marina walls, shoreline on lakes or inlets, traffic management, canals and waterways, security force protection, infrastructure including railways, roads, highways and bridge abutments, erosion control, subsidence, property landscaping, golf courses, housing – buildings and foundations. Other applications include landscaping garden and perimeter walls as the product range includes free-standing, columns, coping and steps.
As the products all have an interlocking feature, and are dry-laid, the solutions can be for permanent or temporary projects – perhaps even marking the end of smooth concrete barriers used for security or roadside protection.
“Designers, who are more familiar with gabion construction, conceptually visualise Redi-Rock as a concrete gabion. The solution can be considered on a wide variety of applications from sea walls to tees on golf courses and therefore limited to some extent by one’s own imagination,” he says.
Simple design process
Most projects are made easy with Redi-Rock’s simple design process, and even the most complicated projects can be accommodated by its solutions, he says.
“Providing solution capability to engineers and architects is a unique feature of our system and this is backed up with comprehensive engineering design details. Detailed design charts and supporting calculations, together with AutoCad drawings for each element and wall cross-sections are part of the comprehensive package provided. All this is supplemented with installation manuals and standard construction details, which can be readily adapted to suit site requirements. In essence, the Redi-Rock aim to provide a full project solution,” says Gaunt.
“Most walling projects are firmly entrenched on the critical path of a project, making them a headache on even the best-managed sites. However, thanks to the modular design of the Redi-Rock solution, installation is quick and completed in phases, and can be carried out independent of the overall project programme or, at worst, only becomes critical during particular phases. Installation, typically, involves a two-man team and an operator using standard construction vehicles – a forklift or equivalent is the only requirement.
“Thus, installing the wall is quick and the blocks can even be lifted into place straight from the delivery truck, eliminating dual handling of materials on site. The physical size and dry-laid feature means that installation rates of over 10 sq m of wall per hour are easily achievable,” adds Gaunt.
Flexible design changes
“Project plans are rarely unchanged as even if small changes can have a major impact on time and cost – especially with regard to retaining walls,” he continues. “With Redi-Rock, however, you can build almost as fast as it takes you to break it down. Designs can be changed quickly using state-of-the-art software and because the blocks are dry-laid, the same blocks can be used in a different configuration. So while the change may have a time impact, it won’t cost any more in materials.”
“With the current rate of construction activity in the Gulf and the need for high quality, sustainable solutions, there is always a place for a cost-effective product offerings. Landscape architects in the Gulf have been quick to understand and relate to the opportunities that Redi-Rock solutions offer. No longer are they tied to long installation time-frames using traditional building materials that are more reliant on high levels of skilled and semi-skilled labour,” Gaunt explains.
The company has a long history in North America but has recently expanded its operations worldwide. UK specifiers – who are traditionally slow to accept new concepts – have quickly acknowledged the capability and now several manufacturing locations are making products for a variety of project solutions. In the European market, the company has recently agreed contracts with Irish and French manufacturers and the Bertolin Group, a highly respected construction and engineering group in Spain.
With the company’s plans to expand into the Gulf, Redi-Rock’s concrete lego is soon expected to be a common feature in the region, Gaunt concludes.