Retaining wall



Retaining walls

Retaining walls are where the ground level is higher on one side of the wall than the other. The ground on the high side of the wall imposes lateral forces on the wall.  These forces try to push the wall over. If vehicles can drive close to the wall on the high side, then their wheel loads will also try to push the wall over. Similarly, if there are materials stored next to the high side of the wall, these will also increase the lateral forces on the wall. All these forces are taken into account in our retaining wall design.

Retaining walls are not normally covered under the Building Regulations, unless the failure of the wall would result in damage to a building. Therefore they are often poorly built and they suffer from a relatively high number of failures.

Retaining walls are expensive to construct and therefore they should be designed and constructed properly.

For low walls, a masonry wall is normally the best option.  As the retained height of soil increases, then a reinforced masonry wall becomes more economic.  Once the retained height reaches around 2.4m, a reinforced concrete wall is invariably a better solution.

Other retaining wall options include gabion walls and crib walls.  These are economic to build but take up more space.

We need the following information to design a retaining wall

information on the ground conditions

the difference in height between the higher and lower ground levels

the use of the land on the higher side of the wall (eg whether vehicles can drive close to the wall)

details of any buildings or storage areas close to the high side of the wall

details of any trees close to the wall

the length of the wall.

Please note that retaining walls are normally designed as free standing walls and therefore the length of the wall does not affect the design. However if the wall is longer than 6m then expansion joints may need to be provided in the wall to prevent thermal cracking.

Design information

All design work is carried out in accordance with BS5628, BS8110 and BS8002.

The calculations provided will be suitable for Building Regulation approval, if this is required.

Excavations may fall under the Party Wall Act Please seek specialist advice.