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Plant special: Slope hugging panels supplied by Mabey

Millwood Homes has opted for a panel system rather than traditional timber formwork to build a concrete retaining wall on a £4.6M housing development at Kingskerswell, near Torquay.

The 200m long concrete wall is set into the sloping site, and forms an integral part of its terrace. It has been designed to follow the natural contours of the site rather than a straight line, so incorporates numerous angles and dog-legs, presenting a challenge for concreting that led to the contractor choosing a panel system from Mabey Hire. “We’ve used this system many times in the past and it’s basically foolproof and very easy to use,” said Millwood site manager Simon Quaintance.

The lightweight panels are joined together with a simple clamp connector that aligns them and pulls them together with a single hammer-blow.

“It goes together like Lego. The clamp connectors close the panels right up.”

Simon Quaintance, Millwood Homes

“It goes together like Lego. The clamp connectors close the panels right up so there are no gaps, and Mabey supplies adjustable corners and make-up pieces so you can create any angles you need,” said Quaintance.

At Kingskerswell the formwork is being erected to a maximum height of 3.7m and is fitted with an integral scaffold which allows safe access to the top of the formwork. The concrete wall is being constructed in four 50m sections. The project − a partnership between social housing landlord Teign Housing, Aster Group and Millwood Homes − is due for completion in mid-2010.

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