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Document imprimable.pdf
Develop an accurate understanding of the job site before beginning any design, engineering, or construction on a project.

Site Geometry

Develop an accurate PLAN of existing physical features. Observe the soil type and condition, site geometry at the wall location and immediate surroundings. Note the natural drainage patterns. Identify all physical features surrounding the proposed wall location. Note key elevations, lot lines, utilities, structures, vegetation, etc. Conditions above and behind the wall will determine how high the wall can go before reinforcement is needed.
La géométrie du chantier
Note the site geometry above and below the proposed wall location.


  • Soil conditions behind and below each retaining wall have a direct effect on the strength needed in that retaining wall. The pressure from behind the wall will vary substantially depending on the soil type. In general, a wall built in clay soils will require more reinforcement than a wall of the same height built in free draining sand or gravel soils.

  • Check the soil type and conditions at the base of each wall for adequate bearing pressure. The soil below a wall needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the wall resting on it. When moisture is present, extra precautions may be required to provide a stable base.

  • If the soils at the base of the wall have been disturbed - i.e. excavated and replaced - it is imperative that these soils are properly compacted before construction begins. It may be necessary to remove poorly compacted or soft, wet organic soils at the base and replace them with stable, well-compacted soils prior to wall construction.

  • Use the soil classification chart to identify the basic properties of the soil at the site. These soil properties are approximate. For a thorough soil analysis, have a qualified geotechnical engineer conduct a site inspection.

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