What does it mean – “Retaining walls”

What does it mean – “Retaining walls”

We often hear about retaining walls, and in engineering, we talk about it a lot, however, what does it mean to construct a retaining wall and what is the purpose of that?

In simple terms, a retaining wall is a structure that is there to prevent erosion or the slipping away of soils, or what we call “earth”, especially when the sites are ones with heavy amounts of earthworks which might require a resource consent from the Council. The reason for that is earthworks can result in instability and cause significant damage to the site and once the risks are identified, we must investigate and come up with feasible solutions to minimize the risks, or to mitigate the hazards which we foresee to have a potentially detrimental outcome to the site in the long term.

Whether or not the retaining walls require a consent will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the property, the location of the site, and if there are any existing structures on site which require our attention. If it is too close to the neighbors, so the retaining walls being considered are adjacent to one of the boundaries then it would require consent from the neighbors for the construction to go ahead.

It would be easy to understand, and it is common knowledge that the foundations of the retaining walls cannot be too close to the pipes, particularly the drainage systems which are connected to the mains, or else it would be a BAD outcome for all parties concerned. Of course, this is only a simple introduction to what it means to construct a retaining wall, and the specifics will be way beyond what is being described here.

However, in simple terms, say for example, if there is a landslip, which results in damage to some existing structures on site, then it might be necessary, depending on the conditions and extent of damage to the site, to design and construct a retaining wall to support the structures such as the car ports or sheds which we might expect to find on a piece of farmland, for example.

If your site or a client of yours requires a retaining wall on site, you are advised to send us the information for us to look at so that we can come back to you with a quote, and discuss the requirements further.

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