Retaining wall failure


Retaining wall failure

You can see in the image above what happens when a retaining wall fails.

Retaining wall failure can create huge accidents, claims and upset the local residence.

To see how a retaining wall can fail watch the video below.

The video above shows a great example of what happens when a retaining wall is too light to do the job. You can see a few types of failure happening in front of your eyes. The main types of failure you can see are slippage and overturning.

Retaining wall modes of failure

You can also see how the sand falls away giving its angle of propose. The angle of propose in this example is quite steep. This angle can be much shallower in some soils putting greater pressure on the wall.

The small building is applying a surcharge load and you can how this falls into the ground as the wall fails.

As the wall slips and the sand begins to fall into the gap, you can see the wall overturn.

This is a great visual example of why retaining walls need to be designed. It also shows why it is vital to obtain good ground information.

The one condition you cannot see in this example is the ground-bearing reactions. Ground bearing capacity is also important as it can cause similar failure.

There are two important soil investigations needed for the design of a retaining wall. The soil being retained and the soil the wall is sitting on. Sometimes they are the same and some times they are different.

Another important factor is the height of the water table. Water behind the wall adds more pressure. This pressure can be reduced by introducing a drainage system at the back of the wall.

If a retaining wall is being constructed to fill land, you have greater control of what you can place behind the wall. In cases where the wall is being cut into the side of bank, you do not have as much control and it is important to understand the material.

British Standards

It is vital to understand retaining wall failure to understand how you can design the failure out. There are British Standard codes for this purpose. The main standards are BS 8002, BS 5628 : 2005 and BS 8110 : 1997

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Retaining wall design and price guide

We have a free design and price guide to support contractors and engineers with different types of retaining wall types and designs. Click on the link below and download your copy. It’s essential reading and may give you some ideas for your next project.

Download the design and price guide

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