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Reinforced Wall Construction

Document imprimable.pdf

Step 1: Site Prep and Excavation

Foundation soils at the bottom of the base trench must be firm and solid. If the soils are made up of heavy clay or wet soils, or the areas have been previously excavated, remove entire material and replace with granular base, compacting in 8 in.
(200 mm) lifts or less
  • Remove all surface vegetation and organic soils. This material should not be used as backfill.
  • Excavate behind the wall to accommodate the design length of the geogrid. Refer to the approved plans for exact length.
  • Excavate base trench at the wall location. Dig the trench, per the approved plans, a minimum of 24 in. (610 mm) wide and 6 in. (150 mm)deep plus the required amount to accommodate the buried block.
  • Buried block should be a minimum of 6 in. (150 mm) or 1 in. (25 mm) for each 1 ft. (300 mm) of wall height. See approved plans for exact amount needed.
  • Compact and level base trench to 95% of Standard Proctor.


Vue d'une fondation d'un mur armé.
Vue d'une fondation d'un mur armé.

Step 2: Install Base Material



The base material can be any compactable granular material. Allan Block recommends a well-graded aggregate, with a balanced mix of grain sizes, ranging from 0.25 in. to 1.5 in.
(6 mm to 38 mm) diameter.
  • Per the approved plans, place drain pipe at the back of the trench the length of the wall. The drain pipe will need to be vented to daylight or to a storm sewer system. See approved plans for location and specifications.
  • Per the approved plan, place a minimum of 6 in. (150 mm) of base material in the base trench and rake smooth.
  • Compact with a mechanical plate compactor.
  • Check the entire length for level, and adjust as needed.
Installez et compactez le matériau de fondation.
Installez et compactez le matériau de fondation.

Step 3: Install Base Course

  • Begin at the lowest wall elevation.
  • Place all units top side up with the raised front lip facing up and forward on the base material.
  • Check and adjust for level and alignment of all AB units. Check block for level frequently from side-to-side and front-to-back. Verify the proper position of all AB units by examining a string line across the back of the blocks or by sighting down the back of the raised front lip.
  • Make minor adjustments by tapping the AB units with a dead blow hammer or by placing up to 0.5 in. (13 mm) of coarse sand under the units.
  • Irregularities in the base course become larger as the wall stacks up. Careful attention to a straight and level base course will ensure a quality finished wall..
  • Use approved infill soils to backfill behind the wall rock and in front of the base course.
Placement de la première rangée.
Placement de la première rangée.

Step 4: Install Wall Rock and Backfill Material

  • Fill the hollow cores of the base course and 12 in. (300 mm) behind the block with wall rock. A compactable aggregate ranging in size from 0.25 in. to 1.5 in. (6 mm to 38 mm) in diameter, and containing less than 10% fines is recommended.
Mettez le gravier concassé.
Mettez le gravier concassé.

Step 5: Compact

Compaction of the material behind the block is critical for a quality wall.
  • Use a mechanical plate compactor to consolidate the wall rock, then compact the backfill material immediately behind the block. Compact in a path parallel to the wall, working from the back of the block to the back of the backfill material. Click here for additional details on compaction.
  • Check the base course for level and adjust as necessary.
  • All backfill soils must be compacted to a minimum 95% Standard Proctor. Use equipment appropriate for the soil being compacted
  • Remove all excess material from the top surface of all AB units. This prepares a smooth surface for placement of the next course. This can be assisted when installing the next course of block, by sliding the block into place
  • Every course after the first course requires compaction starting on the block.
Compactez le gravier concassé dans les blocs et à l'arrière de ceux-ci.
Compactez le gravier concassé dans les blocs et à l'arrière de ceux-ci.

Step 6: Install Geogrid

Refer to the plans for placement of grid; this example starts on the base course.
  • Cut sections of geogrid to specified lengths. Check manufacturer’s grid specifications for strength, and roll or machine direction. Refer to the approved plans for exact size and location
  • Install the layer of geogrid by placing the cut edge to the back of the raised front lip and roll the layer out to the back of the excavation area. The excavation area must be fully compacted and level.
  • Stack the next course of block on top of the geogrid, so that the blocks are offset from the blocks below. Each new course should be positioned so that the vertical seams are offset by at least 3 in. (75 mm) and are tight against the front edge of the units below. Perfect running bond is not required.
  • Sight down the wall line to check for a straight wall. Blocks may be adjusted slightly to form straight lines or smooth flowing curves.
  • Pull on the back of the grid to remove any slack. Stake in place before installing wall rock and approved infill soils.
Placez le géogrille.
Placez le géogrille.

Step 7: Backfill and Compact

  • Install wall rock in block cores and 12 in. (300 mm) behind wall. Use approved infill soils to backfill behind the wall rock in the reinforced zone.
  • All wall rock and infill soils within 3 ft. (0.9 m) of the wall must be properly compacted using a mechanical plate compactor. Compact in maximum 8 inch lifts (200 mm), this time starting on the block and working in a path that runs parallel to the block towards the back of the reinforced zone. Compact all materials to a minimum 95% Standard Proctor.
  • Never operate compaction equipment directly on geogrid.
  • All heavy equipment must be kept at least 3 feet (0.9 m) from the back of the wall. Wall designs typically do not account for surcharges from heavy compaction equipment. Even a properly installed and compacted wall will rotate forward when extreme surcharges from heavy equipment are applied to the top of the wall during construction and final grading.
  • Check and adjust for level, alignment and the wall batter as the wall stacks up. It is acceptable to shim under blocks to compensate for a build up of tolerances or an out of level base condition. Asphalt shingles or geogrid work well when shims are required. The maximum allowable shim thickness per course is 1/8 in. (3 mm).
  • Remove all excess wall rock and ridges or slag material from the top surface of all AB units. This prepares a smooth surface for placement of the next course. Plate compactors operated on top of the block will remove most slag material and prep the block for the next course. When installing the next course of block, sliding the block into place will also remove any slag material.
Compactez par couches de 20 cm.
Compactez par couches de 20 cm.



Le matériel lourd doit être utilisé à au moins un mètre de l'arrière des blocs.
Garder l'équipement lourd un mètre loin de l'arrière des blocs.

Step 8: Install Additional Courses

  • Repeat steps 6 & 7 to complete wall to height required, installing grid where needed per the approved plans.
  • Use 8 in. (200 mm) of impermeable fill on the last lift to finish off wall.
  • Click here for information on ending and topping off the wall.
For information on Allowable Construction Tolerances see the AB Spec Book.

Placement des rangées suivantes.
Placement des rangées suivantes.

Reinforced Wall Structure



Reinforced Zone

The reinforced zone is located directly behind the block in two sections, the consolidation and the compaction zone. Both zones require compacting in maximum lifts of 8 in. (200 mm), to 95% Standard Proctor. Refer to the specifications in the approved plan for compaction requirements in these zones for each project.

Consolidation Zone

The consolidation zone runs from the back of the block back 3 ft.(0.9 m) into the infill soil. Only mechanical plate compaction equipment shall be allowed within the consolidation zone.

Compaction Zone

The compaction zone runs from the back of the consolidation zone to the cut in the slope. Heavier compaction equipment can be used in this zone provided no sudden braking or sharp turning occurs.

Vue transversale du mur armé
Vue transversale du mur armé
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