Once around The-Block

With more than 25 years of experience, the makers of The-Block system believed they could make a substantial improvement in the modular block industry. With a background that encompasses the precast business, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, inventory management, along with listening to dealers, installers, and end users, much work, experimentation and engineering has resulted in The-Block (patented in the United States and Canada). It is a simple, forgiving one- or two-block system with an inherent flexibility enabling the construction of a myriad of projects and addressing various geographic situations.

The system developer is interested in looking for companies to become licensed to produce these blocks, whether they currently have block production facilities or not. www.the-block.com

Erosion Control: With the flexibility of this block design, a grid can be constructed as shown, and a retaining wall and a grid can be constructed together along with a breakwater.

Fences: The-Block’s advantages of being finished front and back and having a 0-degree batter potential allow for the construction of fences, including a fence on top of a retaining wall, using only this one block. Again, the fence can be constructed with masonry concrete reinforcing, as the rebar groove allows for horizontal rebar. The fact that the cores in the fence design all line up allows for vertical rebar placement with internal posts. With the size of the larger block and the ability to allow for double the rebar, you could quickly build an exceptionally durable fence (the exact strength has yet to be tested).

Retaining Walls: The small block (8-in. high x 10.5-in. deep x 13-in. wide) with geo-grid reinforcement allows engineered heights over 10 ft. For the large block (8-in. high x 18-in. deep x 13-in. wide), wall height engineering is under development. Both blocks feature rebar grooves horizontally to allow for masonry concrete construction. The wall batters of 0, 5 and 10 degrees are facilitated by the use of a dedicated key. The wall interlocks side to side and top to bottom.

The nature of the design also allows the blocks to interlock going back into the soil in a grid pattern for any depth required. With this design, a user can build totally interconnected, tiered walls. The small and big blocks work together seamlessly allowing any number of free-flowing curves, from tight to gentle, inside or outside. The small and large blocks are finished on both sides, enabling The-Block to rotate 180 degrees, addressing lead and lag.

Retailer Advantages: The ability of the block to do 0-, 5- and 10-degree batter with the key means only one or two blocks and a key to inventory. This is all that is required to construct a wall, a fence, a grid, a building, etc. Also, there is less weight per face, square foot per pallet, allowing for lower storage and shipping costs.

Manufacturing Advantages: Only two mould sizes means less frequent mould changes. The nesting attribute of The-Block allows for more face square footage per production pallet of block and shipping pallet of block. Architectural finishes, split-face, color, etc., are at the discretion of the manufacturer.

Projects to date: Using blocks now being manufactured on a two block machine, a larger board size would obviously be more economical for production (the nesting ability allows for higher face square footage production). Numerous retaining walls have been built with the small block design, which has taken off. The company is now developing and expanding applications for the larger block. Stream restoration and erosion control are also possible applications, and with the flexibility of the system, it seems a natural fit.