4 Factors That Influence the Design of Retaining Walls


Some homeowners may be reluctant to hire a structural engineer when they want to build an extension to their homes. Such individuals may not be aware of the complex forces that are considered before selecting the best structural design for that extension. This article discusses some of the forces that a skilled structural engineer considers when designing a retaining wall for a foundation.


The retaining wall can overturn if the lateral forces that are acting upon it exceed the strength or retention capacity of that wall. The structural engineer therefore computes the magnitude of the lateral forces that are expected to act on that wall. He or she then designs a retaining wall which is capable of resisting those anticipated lateral forces.


It is also possible for the retaining wall to slide out of position if its frictional resistance doesn't exceed the push that is exerted by the surrounding soil. Structural engineers select the most appropriate design for the base of the retaining wall so that the wall won't be overwhelmed to the extent of sliding out of position.

Bearing Failure

All structures exert some pressure on the ground upon which they stand. The same is true for the retaining wall that will protect the foundation of the home extension that you intend to build. It is possible for the soil underneath the wall to collapse in case the bearing capacity of that soil is exceeded by the wall built on it. Structural engineers do their best to prevent this from happening. For instance, they can stipulate that the builder should strengthen the soil by adding lime to it in order to increase its bearing capacity.

Wall Material Failure

The retaining wall should be built from materials that are capable of withstanding the bending and shearing forces that the wall will exert upon itself. The structural engineer thinks carefully about the composition of the materials that will be used. For instance, he or she can select the best concrete mix that will enable that wall to stand strong despite its own weight.

As you can see, any structural design depends on an analysis of several technical factors that may be beyond the grasp of a layperson. It is therefore unwise for you to design your home extension without involving a structural engineer if you lack the technical skills to address the different forces that will be acting on that home extension. Avoid taking unnecessary risks. Hire a structural engineer so that your home extension will be safe for you and your family. 


11 July 2017

Repairing my dad's old fixie

I really want a cool old fixie like some of the people at my university have, but they are actually more expensive than I had first thought. Then I was going through the shed at home, and I found a really old rusted bike my dad used to use. The bike needed a lot of work, so it's been a project for the last few months to get it working properly and get it looking great again. This blog has all of the repair and restoration steps that I have used, and pictures of my progress as the project progressed.