How Skimping on Price for the Sake of Winning a Tender Risks the Integrity of a Retaining Wall

Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality, but if a product is priced below market price, you must ask where the manufacturer has skimped on quality. Any architect or engineer knows that for a construction project to be successful and the results to last for years, quality materials must be used. This also pertains to the materials used in retaining walls.

Apart from a material’s quality, the correct installation procedures must be followed. Here too, any compromise on the quality of work for the sake of saving a rand here and there can severely compromise the sustainability and effectiveness of the retaining wall.

But it is not just about durability. It is also about safety. A retaining wall, as the name suggests, holds something back and provides structure. Whether it holds higher-lying soil or rocks back, or serves to create a planting space, it holds the material. This material is heavy, as is the soil or rock, which it keeps at bay.

Retaining Wall

The structure also functions to minimise the risk of landslides associated with heavy rains and poor drainage. A retaining wall serves a safety purpose as well. Compromising on the type of block used, the construction method and planning can compromise the safety profile of the structure. As a consequence, users of the premises or road are put at risk through the initial compromise on price, labour, expertise and time required to create a lasting and structurally sound retaining wall.

What is particularly alarming in South Africa, is the increase in retaining wall failures recorded since 2010 as reported in SAICE Civil Engineering (April 2018). Ignorance about the importance of structural integrity, engineering processes and correct installation can be the reason why some homeowners and contractors compromise on quality concrete retaining blocks (CRBs).

For some contractors it is about the opportunity to win a tender. Unfortunately, tenders are often awarded based on who is able to do the job at the cheapest price. In order to undercut other contractors and get the tender, the contractor who has quoted lower than the competitors must compromise somewhere. This can be on the CRBs, the construction method, usage of an engineer and compliance with building regulations. The question is whether lives and durability are of less value than money?

Keep in mind that if the structure comes down after heavy rains and damages property or causes injury to a person, the contractor may be long gone. Someone else then has to foot the bill. It is certainly not worth the compromise on price. To this end, don’t choose the cheapest contractor, and if you are a contractor, don’t skimp on quality materials for the sake of winning a tender.

Where to find quality retaining wall blocks in South Africa?

The answer is – right here at MVA Bricks. View our range of CRBs here and download the resource guides on product selection, installation and more.

Buy products that meet quality standards and are supplied by a trusted manufacturer. We meet the requirements, proven by our track record of successfully completed projects by large companies that have used our products. Our history dates back to 1995. With well over 20 years in the industry, we have the experience to help you choose products that meet your particular road, landscaping or construction project material needs. And our products have stood the test of time because we are committed to quality.

Our CRBs have been used in several large projects. An example is the Cummins Southern Africa Regional Distribution Centre & Filtration Plant project in Midrand where we delivered 26 000 MVA-7 blocks, used to install a retaining wall for an enormous building platform.

To wrap it up

The structural integrity of the retaining wall starts with the usage of quality CRBs. Buy from a supplier with a proven history of superior quality products. Get in touch to discuss your CRB supply needs.

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