Retaining Wall Design

When building a retaining wall, the qualified engineering professionals at CSI will design a wall that performs well over time.

Retaining Wall Design

Retaining wall design is complex and must take numerous factors into consideration. The geotechnical engineering professionals at Consulting Services Incorporated (CSI), an engineering firm headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, are equipped to provide sound engineering solutions for both retaining wall design and retaining wall inspection.

There are a number of elements that go into the design of a retaining wall:

  • Safety with regard to the prospect of the wall overturning

  • Required wall height

  • Groundwater conditions

  • Soil characteristics

  • Timely and cost-effective construction

Generally speaking, a retention wall serves to hold back vertical soil that would, minus the retention wall, slide, collapse or slump to its natural slope. Binding two levels of soil elevation often occurs when the terrain slope will not work for the purpose of a project, particularly when structures such as a road overpass will be constructed.

It is critical that the nature of this work must be done professionally. Most states mandate through building codes that retention walls which are over about 4 feet tall be designed by a professional engineer. Clients of CSI have the benefit of working with an engineering firm with great experience, an average of over 15 years in the field. The expertise throughout CSI provides clients with confidence that the retaining wall design will be sound.

Gravity will continue to move the retained material down slope, requiring retaining wall design to calculate lateral earth pressure on the wall from its top to its lowest depth. If not addressed correctly, the wall can push forward and/or collapse.

Groundwater is another element that must be considered in retaining wall design. If groundwater is not dissipated by a drainage system, this will increase pressure on the retaining wall. Consulting Services Inc. will do site review to determine whether or not a drainage system needs to be designed. This can be done in a number of ways and the professional consultation with CSI will determine what works best for the client's project.

General retaining wall design steps include:

  • Wall alignment, geometry, function, aesthetics and budget parameters

  • Geotechnical investigation of subsurface with appropriate testing

  • Wall load and side analysis

  • Design directed by AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Design requirements

  • Checks for external stability and movement

  • Perform internal stability checks for wall components

Consulting Services Inc. has invested in ongoing professional development of our team and we are a team that has been credentialed by a number of professional organizations dealing with various elements of geotechnical design. We are proud of our team, virtually familiar with every terrain throughout the Ohio Valley and in most states east of the Mississippi River, and committed to communicating well with our clients throughout the work we are asked to perform. This has resulted in many of our clients bringing further projects to us. Our strong client relationships have also brought us numerous referrals. Consulting Services, Inc. has grown to be known for our depth of knowledge and abilities, our work ethic, up-to-the-minute technology and uncompromising integrity.