Case Studies

Limestone paving at Back Of The Walls, Southampton

Project – Paving outside new student accommodation at Back of the Walls, Southampton
Job spec – More than 1,000m² Purbeck Cap limestone paving slabs with a Bush hammered finish
Client – McAleer & Rushe



Suttle Purbeck Stone completed a large-scale project supplying limestone paving slabs for the exterior of a new student accommodation complex.
Austen House, an £18m 356-residence build by McAleer & Rushe, is being run by The Student Housing Company, and will be used by students at both the Southampton universities.
Sawyer Matt Suttle said: “For quarry manager Nick Crocker to have secured this contract was really exciting. It made for a good opportunity to invest in new machinery to automate the processes involved, which will serve us well in future.”
After delivering tonnes  of limestone in sheets, specially finished with a Bush hammer, the slabs were then fitted along the exterior of the residence by contractors.
“We’re really happy with our finished product, and it’s a great sense of achievement to have completed such a large contract,” Matt added.


California Quarry invested in a new GMM Sirio – a single-head texturing and polishing machine, which has more than doubled the output capability at the site. It has also been a bonus for health and safety as the new machine eliminates hand/arm vibration that was an issue previously.
The journey of the limestone, from quarry to city streets, involves many steps. Purbeck stone is laid in beds, and is excavated by prizing up sheets using the toothed bucket of an excavator. Then, blocks are selected for primary sawing, which cuts the widths of the paving. After this, it’s turned on its edge, so the saw can cut the pieces into distinct slabs. From there, the slabs are taken to the new texturing machine where they’re laid out, textured, and finally taken to a squaring saw. The slabs are then loaded onto a pallet ready for delivery.