All who create landscape have a great responsibility, for they form the space in which we live. Our function is to facilitate that task. For over 30 years, CED has developed and extended its range of natural stone products that has become the basis of good design with long-lasting results. We keep extensive stocks in all our depots, but we will arrange the manufacture of almost anything - as long as it is natural.
Stone cannot be made - it exists. One designs in accordance with the qualities of a particular material. In CED, we have the responsibility of giving the right advice to assist all to achieve a good long term result. When it is beyond our capability, for we are not consultants, we will suggest where help may be found. Our desire and need is for stone to be used so successfully that good examples abound that can be followed. Looking at past practice, there is much excellent work that has survived in top condition for a hundred years or more. Delightfully for us all, these materials often look better the older they are and there exists still a lively market in reclaimed flags, setts and kerb. However, the same aim at best practice applies just as much to the choice of aggregate for precast concrete or pebbledash, footpath gravel or resin formulations for paths and drives.
Natural Stone paving is beautiful but to make a good choice much needs to be considered - we have to know if it is for private or public use, inside or out, traffic or pedestrians. Before even thinking about the colour, are there disabled requirements, problems of oil, fat, wine, coffee, skid resistance, frost and salt, deliverymen or skateboarders? And that is just a start. (Please ask for our checklist of such matters or see our considerations page.)
How is a stream or a beach to look? To create a natural appearance is an art in itself. We look for the materials to make it possible, bringing them from throughout Britain and from faraway places.
We are now reaping the benefits that come with greater volumes. Many prices are down, often astonishingly. Not only is stone the winner on a whole life comparison, but it is often simply cheaper in the first place. We supply much British and European material but we also have the pleasure of importing from some of the developing countries that have great craft skills. Thus we add to their wealth and aid an improvement in their lives.
It matters not whether our clients are specifiers, contractors or suppliers in the builders merchant, D.I.Y. or garden centre trades, we seek correct and effective use of the products we sell and will assist whenever we can.
We aim to be reliable and honest and have many staff with years of experience. But nothing stays still and the pace gets quicker. We keep adapting to new opportunities and it is most rewarding to see that natural stone is now the first choice.
We hope you enjoy this website and continue to encourage us to break new ground in every area of the business.
Civil Engineering Developments Limited was formed in 1959 to devise applications for calcined flint within resin technology, but it was soon clear that the venture was unfortunately beyond the resources of the family. It was in 1978 that Michael Heap recognised that the company had the basis to become a supplier of specialist aggregate and stone.
The family's involvement with stone, specifically flint, dates back to the middle of the 19th century, supplying raw flint from France to the ceramic industry by ship and canal boat. When similar flint became available in Essex as a by-product from chalk extractions for cement manufacture, Michael's grandfather A.L Walley installed a small processing unit at West Thurrock in 1931. When his death soon after was followed almost immediately by both sons, Nora Walley, then a 23 year old budding tennis player, bravely took over the management. Flint supplies from France were cut off by the war and West Thurrock production became vital to the ceramic industry. Many other applications for calcined (cooked) flint were developed in the 1950s and 1960s and the business prospered but after the closure in the late 1970s of the last local cement works, the calcined flint production business was sold.
From very small beginnings, CED has grown by fulfilling market needs within the field of natural materials ranging from technical uses for fine dried aggregates to beautiful pebbles and huge boulders. By making the relatively unusual readily available, CED has enabled landscape architects to effect exciting designs for lakes, rivers and specialist water features. In the field of paving, first by buying and holding in stock large quantities of reclaimed granite setts, kerbs and York flags, these materials became practical for specifiers to consider, and secondly, by actively marketing a whole variety of new stone. CED has prompted, encouraged and led the moves to improve the hard surfacing of public and private areas alike.
Now with five depots spread nationwide, together with a broad exciting range of products, CED has the foundation prepared to deal with the growth in demand which it has itself done so much to foster and which is so welcome in the improvements being made to urban paving. At last it is again recognised that stone is not only aesthetically pleasing but it is often cheaper when compared on whole-life costing.