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IMIESA March 2019


Environmental Engineering

Gabion boxes and mattresses are flexible and able to endure for decades when founded in optimum conditions.
Louis Cheyne, managing director of Gabion Baskets and a qualified construction materials specialist, expands on the best approach.
By Alastair Currie

Erosion is an insidious threat that can have devastating consequences. Examples include landslides and the undermining of structural foundations, leading to subsidence and collapse. Then there are the environmental impacts that have much wider implications for sustainable ecosystems, such as the loss of productive agricultural land, and the washing away of homes bordering river and sea frontages. Within this context, gabions and their allied interventions, like mattresses, provide highly effectively countermeasures.

Since they’re naturally permeable, gabions ensure controlled seepage when combined with geotextiles that prevent soil loss through and around these structures. The starting and end point for environmental engineers is a practical understanding of soil mechanics to verify the right weight and strength requirements.

“Compaction is an essential factor, as is
the designed moisture percentage added
during construction to ensure maximum soil
cohesion of the foundations and backfill,”
explains Cheyne.

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