3 min read

Stonebloc, The Timber Retaining Alternative

Retaining contractors traditionally use timber to build the majority of retaining walls. Timber was a cheap and easy to source construction material. Generic designs made specifying and building a timber wall easy. However, for all the convenience of using timber for retaining walls, there are more than a few downsides.

It is a slow system to install and it is labour intensive. It doesn’t look great, and it degrades over time. More recently timber prices have increased while availability has decreased. This has a real impact on contractors' business - without timber you can‘t build walls. If you can’t build walls, you can’t earn an income. Timber shortages and cost increases aren’t expected to let up in the near future either.

Traditional timber alternatives, such as Keystone and Allan block, aren’t really viable alternatives as the finished installed price is as much as 50% more than timber.

Our solution? Stonebloc.

Stonebloc is a gravity, precast concrete block retaining wall system with a unique split stone finish. From the beginning, Stonebloc was designed to be the true timber alternative. While the block costs may be higher than timber, the speed and ease of installation mean the finished installed cost is the same. The result? Happier customers and more productive, profitable contractors.

How do we do this? Through great product design. We think about the people who will use our blocks, and the places our blocks will be used. Our design approach is guided by the power of simplicity because simple products are fast to learn and easy to use.

Think giant LEGO and you’ll start to appreciate how easy Stonebloc is to use. Installation means simply stacking the blocks on top of each other in a running bond pattern. Take that to the next level - given you’re simply stacking blocks, external delays are all but eliminated.

No more waiting for engineers or council to inspect pole holes or progress inspections of the build. Concrete trucks no longer need to be ordered. Simply stack the blocks, and backfill.

What about foundations? In good ground conditions, a simple layer of leveling fines (sand, builders mix etc) is required. Getting the base layer of blocks sitting level is also essential to delivering a good-looking wall, but we’ve designed an installation stencil to make this faster and easier.

Building the wall is only one-half of the equation. You still need to know what to build where, and how to price it. So we solved that problem as well. We teamed up with the engineering department at Auckland University to have the product independently tested. From that came a set of build and consent ready designs for 0 - 12kPa walls, 0 - 2m high. We also developed a chainage calculator which makes quantifying and ordering blocks easier.

You may be thinking at this stage it all sounds too good to be true. It isn’t, and that's why Stonebloc has been specified on some of Auckland’s largest residential developments. However, it does take a change of mindset. Stonebloc is about boosting profitability for contractors by doing more with less labour. The reward for this is stronger, better-looking, and longer-lasting walls. This results in happier customers. Most importantly it eliminates the current uncertainty of timber, positioning you and your business to take advantage of every opportunity.

Looking to diversify away from timber? Contact us today.

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