Retaining walls provide a way to sharply change levels to create optimum flat usable areas on a site where space is limited.
It is always tricky to do any kind of construction on a steep slope, but the challenge escalates even more when it is close to other property boundaries or when the space is very narrow. In a residential setting, wanting to create usable flat areas, much of the garden space may be taken up by banks and steep slopes that link them together.
This is where the beauty of versatile retaining walls, such as the Terraforce retaining system, comes in. Retaining walls provide a way of changing levels sharply, which is especially useful if space is tight. Stairways and ramps can also be integrated to facilitate quick access to the workable spaces created.
Retaining wall replaced
This was evident at a house in Camps Bay, where homeowner Sue Schalit noticed that her original stone retaining wall was showing cracks and slight forward movement. Concerned that it would collapse and cause damage to the garden and neighbouring properties, she hired Mike van Wieringen, a geotechnical consultant, to inspect the wall.
“His report not only verified movement, but also revealed that the foundations were inferior,” says Schalit. “He recommended a Terraforce wall as it has the least impact on our garden and is an exceptionally strong retaining wall solution.”
The new wall was designed by Fred Laker, an engineer at Terrasafe, a professional wall design service offered by Terraforce, and Schalit contracted Dassenberg Retaining, an approved Western Cape Terraforce installer, to build the new retaining wall.
Challenging construction site
According to Georg Brand from Dassenberg Retaining, the site was not an easy one to access and it offered very limited work space. “All the materials had to be carried to the workstation by means of bags down three staircases. Spoils had to be carried up to road level. The whole process was very labour-intensive,” he explains.
Furthermore, to ensure additional strength and due to the height of the wall, the lower section of the retaining wall had to be reinforced with Y12 steel rebar.
The wall was completed in less than three months and Schalit was very impressed with the Dassenberg team and the resulting wall. “The team from Dassenberg was incredible, working in tough circumstances, carrying tons of rocks up by hand. The wall is extremely neat and I am very happy with the result,” she comments.
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