Structural engineering of Australian retaining wall, inspection requirements, construction drawings

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

Retaining walls are structures used to provide stability for earth or other materials and are commonly used to hold back soil banks. The structural engineering design of retaining walls varies across Australia. A geotechnical assessment is required for all retaining walls especially in clay sites. Drainage considerations are undertaken by the design structural engineering to ensure long term performance in retaining walls.

Types of retaining walls

Gravity structures - limestone retaining walls

The gravity wall depends upon its weight to retaining soil. Limestone retaining walls are a type of gravity walls commonly used in the Perth Region. The interlocking blocks that are used to construct the limestone retaining wall can be either natural blocks or reconstituted limestone blocks.

Limestone retaining walls can be used in a wide range of applications and have a long durability. The type of retained soil is especially useful if required to supports imposed actions such as light vehicle surcharge loading.

Cantilever walls

A cantilever retaining wall often is often constructed using reinforced concrete and utilises cantilever action to retain the mass behind the wall from assuming a natural slope. Stability of this type of retaining wall is achieved from the weight of the soil on the heel portion of the base slab.

The design and construction of retaining walls will depend on the application, site classification and budget.

Panel and post retaining wall

Also known as concrete sleeper retainer walls, usually consist of concrete posts or steel beams cast into a concrete footings. The retaining is achieved with concrete panels inserted between reinforced concrete post or galvanised I beams.

This type of retaining wall is easy and quick to install in sand sites. Also this type of retaining wall isn't recommend within 1km from the ocean and to ensure durability, is it critical that the steel I-beams are galvanised.

Concrete Block Retaining Wall Systems

Retaining wall using concrete masonry blocks are straightforward to construct and since there is a wide range of colours and textures available, there are a range of options for retaining walls, planter boxes and feature walls. Concrete masonry retaining walls are typically constructed in Australia using 150 series blocks or 200 series blocks.

The concrete masonry cores are steel reinforced and all cores are filled with grout.

Structural Engineering Process

At Engineering Plans Australia, we have made the structural engineering and certification process easy by standardising the engineering details for a wide range of retaining wall for Australian conditions.

Engineering Plans Australia is a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) and can provides structural certification for projects in in the Brisbane Area. We are a Registered Building Practitioner Victoria (RPBV) and can provide the structural engineering certification form projects in the Melbourne Area.

Our online store contains standard engineering details that can be purchased in minutes. With every new project, we have a quality assurance process in place to ensure that the standard engineering detail is suitable for the particular location and wind loading.

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