August 30, 2018

Best Practices for Zero Retaining Wall Failures - Understanding Site Soils

Understanding site soils is necessary before constructing any retaining wall, and can lead to an efficient, structurally sound design.

For commercial projects, a geotechnical report should include parameters and recommendations for sub-soils.  On most residential projects, some more assumptions may be necessary when assessing soil.  Just remember to be conservative in design to avoid potential problems.

If poor soils are encountered during construction, consult with the owner and geotech for their removal and replacement recommendation. The on-site soils engineer should ensure they meet or exceed design soil parameters. For more information, see sec. 3.1 Foundation Soils in the Allan Block Spec Book.  (ref. BP, Chapter 6.2)

Allan Block is working to achieve our industry initiative of Zero Wall Failures. With our Best Practices Manual and experience in the industry we are trying to expand the knowledge base for the design of segmental retaining walls (SRW's) by communicating and educating the professionals in the industry.  To see the full Best Practices Manual, visit to download today and keep an eye out for more industry Best Practice recommendations here.

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