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CROSS Safety Report

Collapse of blockwork retaining wall

Report ID: 162 Published: 1 October 2009 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

An 18m length of a 29m long by 140mm thick 2m high dense concrete block retaining wall collapsed hours after being backfilled.

Key Learning Outcomes

For construction professionals:

  • Be aware that brickwork is generally not suitable for retaining wall construction

  • The design and detailing of a retaining wall should be carried out by a suitable qualified engineer

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Report 134 is almost identical to a collapse that a reporter was called out to inspect.

An 18m length of a 29m long by 140mm thick 2m high dense concrete block retaining wall collapsed hours after being backfilled. No one was injured however a car parked close by was written off. What is also a little worrying is the fact that the kerb to the highway is just over 2m away on the retained side.

There was no engineering input, the bricklayer had taken it upon themselves to come up with a suitable construction and had decided to cut movement joints at approximately 6m centres after construction.  This did not help matters as the failure appears to have propagate from these joints.

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