Green solution used for retaining walls

15th February 2019 By: Halima Frost - Reporter

Green solution used  for retaining walls

RETAINING THE GREENERY A green-wall solution was found to make retaining walls more aesthetically pleasing

Geotextiles manufacturer Fibertex SA is working on a project that entails the supply of more than 12 000 geosynthetic sand container (GSC) bags that are being used as a green wall solution rather than using conventional retaining blocks.

The GSC bags – being supplied to a project in Salt Rock, on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast – are being designed in conjunction with civil contractors Siyamba Earthworx. The project – which started in July last year and is still ongoing – required retaining walls to be built around the property to allow for the excavation of foundations for a new house.

Fibertex GSC bags – a lightweight, durable and cost-effective substitute for traditional earth-retention systems – were used as facing for the reinforced walls of the installation. GSC bags are an attractive and efficient protection for slopes and also assist with erosion control, says Fibertex SA key accounts manager Jeremy Muthusamy.

The contractor has used these GSC bags as a medium for planting shrubs, which will eventually cover the entire structure to attain the green wall requested by the client.

Although site conditions were fairly good, he adds that it was important that the new construction did not disturb the existing infrastructure and retaining walls of three well-established properties bordering this plot.

“The Fibertex technical design team designed a reinforced wall suitable for site conditions and also to the client’s request for a green-faced structure with enhanced aesthetics,” he notes.

Fibertex nonwoven geotextiles, which are manufactured from highly ultraviolet (UV) stabilised virgin polypropylene (PP) or recycled polyester fibres, are gaining popularity in landscaping and building installations. The Fibertex geobag and geogrid system create an environment-friendly green wall, compared with conventional hard-facing concrete structures.

Further, the GSC bags are made from a strong and highly porous fabric, which is mechanically needle-punched together. By filling these bags with a free-draining medium, such as sand, a durable retaining structure can be built, which allows for the free passage of water through the structure.

Secugrid geogrids – with high modulus extruded monolithic bars and welded junctions – were used to minimise soil deformation under tensile loads over the lifetime of the structure in accordance with the engineer’s design requirements.

All variations of Fibertex GSC bags are manufactured at the company’s plant, in KwaZulu-Natal, to the consistent quality-control policy of the Fibertex group, which is held to stringent international standards.

“Fibertex UV stabilised virgin PP geotextiles are the only nonwoven geotextiles produced in Africa with certification for durability of more than 100 years, in accordance with the latest European standards,” concludes Muthusamy.