Many projects in BC are built on sites with slopes. Sometimes level areas need to be created by the construction of soil retaining walls. Any wall greater than 1.2m in height is required to have Engineering input in it’s design and construction. Cast in place concrete retaining walls are under the jurisdiction of Structural Engineers and are called structural walls. Any wall that is built with blocks, green facing material or shotcrete require a Geotechnical Engineer to oversee design and construction. Walls designed by a Geotechnical Engineer are called gravity walls and use some sort of soil reinforcement to create and maintain the integrity of the soil behind the wall and the facing material.
Retaining walls require building permits under the BC Building Code, and require a Schedule B. LEA oversees placement and compaction of fill, placement of soil reinforcement material, and proper fitting of the wall facing material.
LEA provides recommendations on the suitability of retaining wall types during the design phase of a project. There are practical considerations to be made during the design phase of a retaining wall project. Gravity Walls are generally cheaper to build than Structural Walls, and most projects use Gravity Walls where possible. Sometimes site constraints make the construction or installation of Gravity Walls impossible. In these cases, LEA recommends Structural Walls.