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Precast Concrete Applications - Earth Retaining Walls
When you think of a retaining wall, the most obvious type of application is when they’re used for retaining earth. This can range from a small garden wall of a few hundred millimetres to a large earth embankment.
Our job is to make sure that we’ve got a range of precast products that work in a variety of situations – and the knowledge to be able to help you work out what you need.
Types of Soil Retaining Wall
There’s a number of ways that earth walls can be designed and our product range covers all the bases. Our systems use concrete products at the centre of the design – there are three main types of retaining walls to choose from:
- CANTILEVER – L Shape
- KING POST – Post & Concrete panel
- GRAVITY – Interlocking concrete blocks
Cantilever Retaining Wall
A cantilever wall or L-shape retaining wall as we usually call it has two parts – a stem and a base. The vertical stem is designed to retain the material, in this case – soil. The horizontal base uses the weight of the earth to stop the wall from overturning and sliding.
Depending on the loads and ground conditions the foundation can vary from a compacted base and blinding layer to a reinforced concrete foundation.
King Post Retaining Wall
A King post wall consists of vertical steel columns which are inserted into the ground at regular spacing with horizontal concrete panels that span the gaps. There are a couple of options for the post foundations – pilled, augered or concrete blocks.
The best type will normally depend on the ground conditions on-site. Our pre-stressed panels are used for this type of wall, we can choose from four panel thicknesses, a range of heights and lengths cast to suit post positions.
Gravity Retaining Wall
A gravity retaining wall is probably the easiest type of wall to design – it uses the weight of the concrete blocks to hold back the earth. The concrete blocks don’t contain any reinforcement – unlike the other precast retaining wall products.
These types of walls can be incredibly heavy when the blocks are stacked on top of each other, this means that the foundations can be quite big for these retaining walls.
Foundation Design & Installation
The size of the foundation and best installation method will change from site to site and is dictated by:
- Overall wall height
- Retained soil height
- Additional loads – surcharge/angle of soil
- Ground condition/bearing capacity
- Drainage system
These five elements will be different on every project, once we know the scope of the project we can look at the best foundation and wall type to suit your needs.
With all wall types, we need to think about drainage and preventing water build-up behind the wall (hydrostatic pressure). Whatever system is chosen, it should make sure that the backfill in contact with the wall is free draining.
How to choose the right retaining wall?
With so many options to choose from, how do you find the right one for your project?
Information about the project can be very limited, so we ask five questions when we’re looking at a new retaining wall project – Who? What? Where? Why? How?
This may seem a bit simplistic, but the answers to these questions help us to build up a picture for what is required and the best way to build the wall.
One of the things we’re known for is suggesting new ideas and coming up with unexpected ways to solve your problems – we give practical advice that saves you time and money.
Precast Installation Services
We offer a full design and installation service to take the stress out of constructing earth retaining walls – our contracts team can take a project from start to finish.
Every project is different, so if you need something that you can’t see on our site – just ask and we’ll tell you if we can help.
Here are the services we can offer you:
- Site Surveys
- Structural Calculations
- CAD Drawings
- Precast Installation
- Joint Sealing
Need more information? Give us a call or send over an email and we’ll find the best person to answer your questions.
Design & Installation
We provide a full design, construction and precast concrete installation service for all of our products, enabling us to offer turnkey solutions.
Our dedicated team of structural engineers, groundworkers & precast installers have experience of delivering a wide range of construction projects and operate nationwide.