The last few years have seen a huge rise in the use and availability of concrete sleeper retaining walls in New South Wales. With timber becoming a more expensive commodity directly due to its declining availability, people are turning to the environmentally friendly option of the concrete sleeper. With an availability of finishes and colours available, customers can still achieve the look and feel of a timber retaining wall without all the associated problems of a timber retaining wall. No more rotting, warping, twisting or attacks by termites.
We are noticing that with the effects of deforestation over the years, trees are being harvested sooner than they would have in the past to try and meet demands. This is resulting in a less mature timber and we feel that the timber being produced is not standing the test of time as it may have in the past. So, a new timber sleeper retaining wall installed today may only last 5-10 years and we have seen them deteriorate and lose their new appearance in as little as a couple of years.
Another issue we have seen in the past with the timber sleeper retaining walls being installed is that they have been used in closely developed residential estates or properties and we are now seeing some of these walls fail and the issue then becomes access to get in and replace the failed wall. Sometimes installers are faced with 900mm of access and no possible way to get machinery down to the wall. The installation cost of the new wall is increased straight away because the labour content to manually dig holes and or carry materials down to where they are needed. More labour required = time on site = more cost to the consumer.