Rock chalk: a cost-effective deep fill aggregate


Bulk fill rock chalk is ideal for use in the construction industry due to its strength, versatility, porous quality and cost-effectiveness.

It is especially relevant in the current climate, where the demand for recycled fill aggregates is outweighing supply and alternatives are being sought. Bulk fill rock chalk can be effectively used as a deep fill engineering material and TJ is engaging with clients to promote it as one of the most competitively-priced primary aggregate options.

Butser rock chalk, which is sourced from TJ’s quarry in Butser, Petersfield, is chalk that is akin to limestone rather than standard chalk, meaning it’s a very strong and hard wearing material.

The chalk is utilised in several forms – crushed chalk, ‘as dug’ chalk, gabion rock chalk and agglime chalk. As well as being very strong, rock chalk is also porous, which makes it ideal for construction projects where good drainage is key.

The as dug chalk – or bulk fill rock chalk – is ideal for construction projects as a primary general fill aggregate. It is most commonly used for fill, laid over terram to raise and level natural ground ready for a Type 1 sub-base. This is TJ’s most popular chalk product and is great value for money because it is locally sourced whereas alternatives such as limestone, granite and basalt would have to be quarried from the Mendips and Midlands and transported to the South by rail, which leads to inflated cost.

The ‘as dug’ chalk is used as a temporary base or infill for construction projects and works well for these purposes as it is naturally hard. The gabion rock chalk is used within wire baskets as support for soil banks. The agglime part of the chalk is a powder-like material that is spread over agricultural fields to make the ground more fertile.

Butser Quarry

  • TJ purchased Butser Quarry in 2017 and quarrying began in 2018.
  • The team at Butser are able to extract, crush, load and deliver as much as 1,450 tonnes of chalk in a single day!
  • Butser is home to a number of vehicles that are used to extract and process the chalk including an excavator, crusher, shovel loader and bulldozer.
  • A TJ truckload of chalk equates to around 20 tonnes’ worth!
  • Butser Quarry employs five full-time members of staff.
  • TJ supports the work of the Environment Agency who regularly carry out land analysis of the quarry. TJ is happy to comply to ensure high quality materials are being sourced and provided to our customers.

Large-scale projects

TJ submitted an aggregate supply bid for a £3m retail project on Hayling Island. They suggested using crushed rock chalk for this project as it was the most suitable aggregate for the job due to its cost-effectiveness, strength and local availability. TJ sourced and delivered 1,200 tonnes of rock chalk, which was delivered daily for the duration of the foundation stage.

“We needed a cost-efficient aggregate product that was going to perform above and beyond. When Simon Dunsford, Senior Sales Manager at TJ Transport, offered me the Butser Rock Chalk aggregate, I knew it would do the job. Within a day I had a 20 tonne load delivered. It’s unlike most chalks I’ve used before, this stuff is harder and goes down really well.”

Retail client

TJ also worked with civil engineering company Blanchard Wells to advise and supply materials for a base layer for a new Civil Engineering Training Centre in Lee-on-the-Solent. TJ coordinated the delivery of 600 tonnes of rock chalk, which was produced to specification, to the site in 30 eight-wheel tipper loads. This was completed within a week.

“We’ve used the services of TJ Transport for many years, on many projects. We’ve received a good service from them every time; they’re always very helpful on the phone and in person. I’ve used chalk on many residential, commercial and infrastructure projects before, so I was comfortable working with it. So when Steve Grant, Commercial Director at TJ suggested the Butser Rock Chalk aggregate for our capping layer, I knew it would be perfect for the job.”

Derek Marks, Blanchard Wells

A bit of history…

There’s a rich history of rock chalk being used for construction in the local area. TJ’s Chairman, Terry Higgins, recalls seeing chalk from Portsdown Hill being used in the early stages of the construction of Port Solent, a 36 hectare waterside development site occupying what used to be the shallow, impounded Paulsgrove Lake and surrounding derelict land. A concrete retaining wall was constructed and approximately 600,000m3 of chalk – the chosen imported fill material – was placed to a maximum thickness of 5m for land reclamation behind the wall.

Our service to you

Not only can we offer you a superb product that can be used for your groundwork and construction projects, we also offer a great all-round service to go with it. We can:

  • Offer you information and guidance about the product and advise on quantities prior to purchase.
  • Deliver the bulk fill rock chalk to your site at a date a time to suit you – this can be as soon as next day delivery.
  • Have our fleet of vehicles readily available to deliver your order whatever the quantity.
  • Work with you to devise a delivery schedule so you receive the order in batches as and when you need it.

Find out more about TJ Transport and our rock chalk. Get an online quote or get in touch to discuss or place an order.

Source: geoscienceworld.org