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Published: Thursday, 3/23/2006

Professionals Prefer Segmental Retaining Walls

(NU) - Design professionals and landscape installers prefer to use products that meet the aesthetic requirements of a diverse market, provide cost savings and provide long-term durability.

According to the National Concrete Masonry Association, segmental retaining wall systems, or SRWs, are meeting or exceeding these expectations within both commercial and residential markets.

A recent market research survey by L.C. Williams & Associates, a Chicago-based public relations and research counseling firm, revealed that design professionals, commercial and residential developers, landscape installers, and material suppliers prefer SRWs over other retaining wall systems. These professionals chose SRWs over natural stone, timber and poured concrete.

What factors affect a designer's choice of materials? Survey respondents consider cost effectiveness, aesthetics and durability as the top three factors when selecting a retaining wall system.

Using a five-point scale, where one is low and five is high, survey respondents rate the aesthetic quality of SRWs at 3.86, exceeding the aesthetic rating for both timber, which scored 2.73, and poured concrete, which scored 2.85.

Respondents equate the durability of SRW units to that of traditional poured concrete and rate SRW durability higher than that of timber by two points. The SRW's durability rating also surpasses natural stone by nearly half a point. Factoring in the aesthetic quality and durability of each wall system, respondents say SRWs are also more cost effective than timber and poured concrete wall systems.

Research further indicates that within the next year, design professionals are more likely to use SRWs than other retaining wall systems. NCMA believes SRWs best meet the needs of the commercial and residential construction industry.

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