A new type of brick appears ready to revolutionize how retaining walls and sea walls are built.
Designed by Golden local Bob Simonson, RASblox was recently patented in the U.S. just over a year ago and received its Canadian patent in May.
Simonson built a retaining wall on his Ottoson Road property to showcase the viability of the product and its effectiveness, looking to take the next steps to bring the brick product to market.
“We had to prove to industry and engineers and potential customers that we could actually test the blocks and assemble them as planned,” said Simonson.
“We needed to prove that we could actually produce the blocks and that they would actually fit together like we hoped. We were very successful with that.”
RASblox are manufactured with precision and are fitted together tightly, in comparison to other industry leading blocks. They’re cast blocks which are hollow, with two sets of moulds involved to build a wall.
The concept of the blocks is to efficiently building walls, dikes and other structures and is designed to create monolithic structures that are strong and durable.
The blocks offer a more flexible system than traditional blocks and work well in extreme terrain for assembly.
The blocks have been a project a decade in the making for Simonson, who has worked in the construction industry for years and wanted to rectify some of the failings of traditionally built retaining structures that he had begun to notice.
“I was watching the construction of retaining walls and thinking how slow and inefficient they were and then one of the retaining systems actually failed and they had to put big steel piles in and then cast the concrete wall in front of the original system,” said Simonson.
“I was just thinking, there had to be a better way to make these things stronger and more efficient and durable.”
RASblox is currently looking for an industry partner and some investors to take them to the next stage.
“There was never any doubt that this was a viable concept, it’s just a question of how much money are we willing to invest to get to the commercialization phase,” said Simonson’s wife Leanne, who has been working with him on this project over the last 10 years.
“We’ve gone way out on a limb to get to this point and it’s super exciting to know that it can go to commercialization on such a large scale.”
The project has received support from the National Research Council and Harris Rebar, as well as Ryan Jackson Contracting.
More information on the project can be found online at the website rasblox.com.