Twenty years ago Firth revolutionised the world of residential house construction with the introduction of the RibRaft® concrete foundation systems. They went on to become the most popular foundations in the country.

Now, Firth has done it again with RibRaft® X-Pod®, the next generation of foundations that are more eco-friendly and user friendly than ever before.

A sustainable future

Instead of using polystyrene blocks, as in the ‘original’ RibRaft® system, X-Pod® uses more sustainable components – plastic ‘pods’ and fixings that are 100% recyclable and made from 80% recycled material. On site the revolutionary new X-Pod® components are easier for installers to handle and work with – “they love it!” says Cam Lee, General Manager for Firth.

 “Our Firth Christchurch based team researched a replacement for the polystyrene void formers,” says Dominic Sutton, Head of Certified (Southern) for Firth. “Many products were analysed including cardboard, paper-mache and straw before the team focused their attention on recycled polypropylene. Recycled plastic is much stronger and therefore can stand up to the rigors of transport and installation.”

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The new system components have been purpose designed to be incredibly easy to transport and store. Pods for a 180sqm floor can be delivered on a single axle trailer vs polystyrene pods which would require an area comparable to a 20ft container, dramatically reducing storage when compared to standard systems. Another advantage of a RibRaft® X-Pod® floor is it that it can be coloured and polished –  and eliminates the issue of polystyrene beads on the surface of the concrete.

“For many years we have used Firth’s RibRaft systems,” says Simon Henderson, Director for RFL Foundations Ltd. “Since late 2016 we started working with Firth over various aspects of design and the development of the RibRaft® X-Pod® system. We tested prototypes and helped Firth arrive at what is a significantly stronger raft system that is far quicker and easier to install. Not only that but we no longer have polystyrene floating around the site and have to deal with the clean up and the disposal of it. RibRaft® X-Pod® is far superior from a commercial perspective and from and environmental one.” 

Simon also says that more and more foundations, particularly in Auckland, are being laid on poor quality ground as the need for more affordable housing continues. He says because of the strength of the RibRaft® X-Pod® the system it allows for these homes to be built where there may have been engineering difficulties in the past. 

Although not officially launched until November this year RFL have installed the RibRaft® X-Pod® foundations in 80 Kiwi Build homes, amongst others. “Normally you would think a product that has so many advantages would come at a hefty price but the nice thing is this is a premium product that comes at an affordable price.” 

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Embracing the future

“The X-Pod® story has resonated with many of our customers and their clients as they, like us, seek to live our lives with more thought about our impact on the environment,” says Dom. “The X-Pod® system is clearly a better choice for the environment and has already been used by Kiwi Build, Fletcher Living, aged care accommodation and a number of New Zealand’s leading Group Home Builders. Foundation installing companies, including New Zealand’s largest Reliable Foundations Ltd have already adopted the X-Pod® as their first choice for many regions of the country. We are confident that some 600 houses a year will be constructed on our new greener, stronger floor.”

 So, when you add up all the features and benefits of this innovative new foundation technology from category leader Firth, RibRaft® X-Pod® ticks all the boxes. It’s installer friendly and eco friendly and there’s no doubt RibRaft® X-Pod® is another winning formula from Firth. 

Firth’s RibRaft® X-Pod® green credentials

  • Utilises Firth Declare Label* concrete (Available in most regions)
  • Manufactured in NZ from 80% recycled plastic
  • An X-Pod® foundation uses less concrete and steel than a conventional RibRaft, which means lower embodied energy
  • Easily transported - reduced freight requirements and therefore lower CO2 emissions
  • Designed for zero waste - left over pods are 100% recyclable 

 Visit our new dedicated X-Pod® website

 * Declare Label Concrete
At Firth we believe that we need to look at the environmental impact of building materials, elements  and the building as a whole while ensuring durability and longevity of these buildings at the same time.
Getting Declare labels for our products has meant we can collaborate better with our suppliers,  distributors and our customers to recognize how we can design and build for the future to include durability, longevity and provide a sustainable pathway to repurpose our products.
The Declare Label is the result of an audit on the chemistry and source of all product ingredients to confirm that no noxious or harmful chemicals are present.