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Balwin Properties' eco-conscious choice: Terraforce walling in Richwood

The TerraforceĀ® wall design for the steep wall in the De Aanzicht residential development in Richwood, Western Cape, was carefully planned by KCE Consulting Engineers to harmonise with the environment. This design incorporates a mixed pattern of Terraforce blocks, allowing for vegetation to be integrated into the near-vertical terraces and “shelves” with plant pockets. The project was executed by Terraforce Recommended Contractor, Decorton Retaining Systems.

Mixed pattern Terraforce wall design, for easy planting of a steeply inclined wall.

Mixed pattern Terraforce wall design, for easy planting of a steeply inclined wall. (Image: supplied)

Located in the north-eastern quadrant of the new residential development by Balwin Properties, this retaining wall serves as a buffer between the engineered platforms on the lower level and the protected nature conservation area to the east.

Nigel Barr of KCE Consulting Engineers explains that the challenging terrain, which includes slopes of up to 12 meters high with soft rock outcrops, required an innovative approach. The Terraforce system was chosen for its ability to combine access, planting, and stormwater management while achieving an aesthetic and functional result.

The overall retaining system consists of two parts. First, a series of soil-nailed terraces stabilized with gunite shotcrete forms the initial lateral support system for the embankment. In front of this support, terraced Terraforce retaining structures were constructed, providing an aesthetically pleasing cladding for the embankment while also offering planting pockets, accessible terraces, and maintenance access routes.

Mixed pattern retaining wall embankment with plants.

Terraforce was the preferred choice due to its popularity in gravity solutions in the region. The rock face finish of the Terraforce blocks aligns well with the natural environment and seamlessly blends into the landscape. Additionally, the familiarity, reliability, and availability of these blocks made them an obvious choice. The design flexibility of the Terraforce system was crucial in adapting to the intricate shapes of the terraced embankment.

The project involved the installation of 1620 square meters of Terraforce walling, and the planting of the wall was completed in early 2023, with the vegetation thriving and achieving the desired effect.

Project Team:

  • Client: Balwin Properties
  • Architect: DHK Cape Town
  • Engineer: KCE Consulting Engineers (Civil & Structural engineers on the project)
  • Quantity Surveyor: Balwin Properties in-house
  • Main Contractor: Balwin Properties
  • Sub-Contractor: PK Civils (Civils and walling contractor)
  • Sub-Contractor: Geociv Group (Lateral support contractor)
  • Installation by Terraforce Recommended Contractor: Decorton Retaining Systems
  • Blocks supplied by Terraforce licensed manufacturer: Klapmuts Concrete


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Reversable hollow-core retaining blocks

4 Huguenot Avenue Oranjezicht
Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa

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