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Any added weight above the wall is called a "surcharge". Parking lots, swimming pools, and driveways are common surcharges. Light duty surcharges are designed at 100 psf (4.7 kPa). Heavier commercial surcharges (like trucks), run 250 psf (12 kPa) and up. More concentrated line loads may also be a factor (such as building foundations). Engineering is required in each situation.

  • 100 psf (4.7 kPa) Light Vehicle
  • 250 psf (12 kPa) Roadway


Slopes are measured "run to rise". A three-to-one slope goes back 3 and up 1.

  • Slopes Above
    Slopes above the wall add more pressure and will require more mass to resist movement. Engineering is required
Talus au-dessus

  • Slopes Below
    Slopes below the wall may create an unstable foundation. Check with local building codes for length of bench that may be required. Engineering is required.
Talus en bas


The amount the wall leans into the hill is called "setback". AB units come in multiple setbacks. Bigger setbacks provide better leverage and require less reinforcement. For taller walls use a story pole and level to check for proper setback. Setbacks increase when walls are built with radii. Comply with construction tolerances which are found in the AB Spec Book or approved construction plans. See the setback chart
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Global Stability

Global stability is an engineering analysis of the overall balance of a slope or hillside. Walls built on hillsides may affect this balance and stability. Cuts into a hillside will steepen the effective slope and shift the balance of the hill, thereby reducing stability. Walls built on top of slopes have the same effect. Engineering is required.
What to consider when assessing global stability:
  • Surcharges / Tiered Walls
  • Slopes
  • Soil Properties
  • Water

Stabilité générale
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