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BUILDING TECHNOLOGY

CARPENTRY
THEORY UNIT 13026
Retaining Walls
LEVEL 3

CREDIT 2

Purpose
People credited with this unit standard are able to demonstrate
knowledge of retaining wall construction.

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

Page. 2

CARPENTRY
RETAINING WALL
References :
Construction Technology, Volume 2 and 4. R Chudley. 1987
Cement and Concrete Ass. of NZ Bulletin IB OlO (1983)
Landscape Retaining Walls
BRANZ Bulletin No. 394 (2000) Low Retaining Walls
Cantilever Masonry Retaining Walls FIRTH
At the end of this unit you must be able to:
(a)

Describe the principles of retaining wall design.

(b)

Describe the construction of retaining walls in various materials, including ground


anchors and reinforced earth.

(c)

Describe the types and application of tanking materials and the protection of the
same.

(d)

Describe the installation of water stops.

(e)

Describe the technique of back filling and drainage.

(f)

Describe the use of temporary protection to excavated faces.

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

Page. 3

INTRODUCTION.
The function of a retaining wall is to resist the lateral thrust of mass earth, water pressure
and surcharges on one side of the wall without deflecting.
A.

RETAINING WALL DESIGN

Retaining walls must be designed to ensure that:


1.

Overturning does not occur.

2.

Sliding does not occur.

3.

The soil on which the wall rests is not overloaded.

The shape and type of wall used is determined by:


1.

Position of the wall in relation to the boundary, (if applicable).

2.

Height of the wall.

3.

Type of soil to be retained.

4.

Material to be used for the wall.

5.

Surface finish required e.g. A house basement wall will be quite different to a garden
wall.

6.

Type of drainage required.

A retaining wall is designed to support the weight of soil in the wedge between the angle
of repose and the back of the wall. The angle of repose is a natural angle which the soil is
self supported.
If ground water is not a problem, it is necessary to retain the soil from the angle of
rapture, , the angle at which the soil will break away if it is not supported.
Foundations The soil under the retaining wall will need to support both the
retaining wall and the overturning load placed on the wall.
To prevent the retaining wall from sliding, ribs are added underneath the foundation
footing.
Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

Page. 4

Hydrostatic pressure (active water pressure) must be prevented by:

weep holes or

field drain.

Surcharges (active loads)

Sloping soil

Building weight

Road or access way -

sloping away and above the retaining wall.


directly supported by a retaining wall or adjacent to.
placed above a retaining wall

Building consent

Retaining walls more than 1.5m high


or on the boundary will require a
building consent.

Retaining walls above 1.5m high


must be designed by a registered
engineer, except low garden walls.

Retaining walls with a surcharge.

Drive way

Stem
Ground level

Surcharge

Angle of
rupture
Angle of
repose

Weep hole
Field drain

Toe

Heel

Rip
(Alternatively positions)
if required to prevent sliding.

Batter

Slope one face of the retaining wall, this will reduce the amount
of materials used.

Batter the entire wall i.e. crib wall will reduce both the materials and footing
widths.

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

Page. 5

www.wikipedia.org

B.
TYPES OF RETAINING WALLS
1.

Mass concrete, brick or rock.


(Gravity Wall)

This type of retaining wall relies on weight,


(mass) thickness of the stem, and raked at
the front of the wall.

2.

Crib walls (Gravity Wall)

Gravity concrete wall

A system of headers and stretchers


(timber or pre cast concrete) laid
at a rake of 1 in 4 with a maximum
height of 5m, using 900mm headers.
Note:
It is not necessary to support
the wall on a concrete footing, however,
it is recommended for higher walls.

Crib wall

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

Page. 6

Reinforced concrete masonry


walls

Masonry units are used as permanent


formwork. Walls are usually thicker than
reinforced concrete, to allow space for
reinforcing and concrete.

Reinforced concrete
masonry cantilever wall

4.

Reinforced concrete wall

Engineered designed retaining


walls are available in a variety
of shapes and types such as:
(a) Cantilever
(b) Buttress
(c) Counterfort
The correct placement of reinforcing steel
is vital to the strength of the wall.
Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

5.

Page. 7

Ground anchor reinforced concrete


For high retaining walls
pre-stressed ground anchors
are drilled into (a considerable
distance) the retained ground
and grouted to form an anchor.
The stressing of the anchor is
affective when the grouting has
attained sufficient strength.
Acknowledgement to
R.Chudley & R. Greeno

Ground anchor support

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

6.

Page. 8

Reinforced earth retaining wall


A retaining wall system consist of pre-cast concrete panels tied to the
ground with galvanised steel straps. The straps are laid out and encased
in and held by the compacted back filling soil.

www.reinforcedearth.com,

7.

www.terraforce.ie/design_alternatives_reinfor...

Cantilevered timber retaining wall

Acknowledgement to
Carter Holt Harvey Timber

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

Page. 9

WORK SHEET 1
1.

2.

What is meant by:


(i)
angle of repose
_______________________________________________________
(ii)
angle of rapture
_______________________________________________________
(iii) hydrostatic pressure _____________________________________________________
(iv) Surcharge ______________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Briefly explain the function of a retaining wall? _________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

3.

List three considerations when designing a retaining wall.


(i)____________________________________________________________________________
(ii)___________________________________________________________________________
(iii) _________________________________________________________________________

4.

When is it necessary to obtain a building consent for a retaining wall construction?


______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Why is a rib sometimes added to the underside of a retaining wall foundation?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Show a clear cross section sketch of a cantilevered pole retaining wall.

5.
6.

7.

Explain the difference between a counterfort wall and a buttress wall.


______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

Page. 10

8.

Show a clear cross section sketch of a crib wall headers and stretchers.

9.

Describe and with the aid of sketches, the construction of a reinforced earth retaining
wall.
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________

C. TANKING
Retaining walls constructed as part of a building must be tanked (waterproofed) before
any back filling is done.
Materials used:
Mastic asphalt
A layer or layers of hot trowelled asphalt (bitumen and fillers) applied to the outside
of the retaining wall.
Reinforced bitumen sheets
A sheet of reinforced high quality bitumen approximately 3mm thick which is heat
sealed to the wall and at all joints.
Multi-layered polyethylene and rubberized asphalt
A self adhesive membrane very quickly and easily applied to horizontal or vertical
surfaces.
Bitument/latex emulsion
A brushable emulsion which must be applied in at least two coats at right angles to
each other.
Butyl sheeting Usually used as roofing but can be used for tanking.
Protection
The surface of the tanking must be protected with sheets of hardboard, fibre cement,
etc before back filling.
Penetrations
Follow manufacturer instructions when sealing pipes etc that may penetrate the
tanking.

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

D.

Page. 11

WATER STOPS A rubber or PVC strip used to waterproof joints in concrete walls
or slabs.
Two main types of waterstop:
1.

those located in the wall or slab.

2.

those which are surface mounted.

Both types require accurate placing and supporting while the concrete is poured.
The sketches below show some problems that my occur in the placing of waterstops.

E.

BACKFILLING AND DRAINAGE


Backfilling (Granular fill)
Scoria 25/7 (scoria size 25 mm to 7 mm) or 50/20 (50mm to 20mm must be laid in
150 - 200mm layers and compacted carefully with a compactor.
An alternative to granular fill is Formflow 2000 x 1000 x 90 mm sheets.
Drainage
65mm or 110mm drains pipes or field drains must be installed at the base of any
tanked walls to prevent hydrostatic pressure against the wall.

F.

TEMPORARY PROTECTION TO EXCAVATED FACES


Excavated soil face must be protected against eroding, caused by surface water
running over the excavated face.
To prevent the face from eroding, divert all surface drainage away from the excavation
or cover the soil face with polythene or bitumen sprayed hessian to keep the rain water
off as possible.

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls

Page. 12

WORKSHEET 2
1.

2.

3.

Describe how you will prevent an excavated face from eroding.


______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Show a clear cross section sketch of a dumb bell type water stop.

Clearly sketch a cross section of a reinforced concrete masonry retaining wall


1.2m high and show the position of the following:
main steel
rib
top soil
back filling (include granular size)
filter cloth
geotextile filter
drain pipe
tanking

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Revised 2012

Unit. 13026 Theory; Retaining walls


Safety to the MAX !!??

Department of Building Technology Unitec

Page. 13
Best option

Revised 2012