Considering A Structural Engineer For Retaining Wall Design And Construction

Retaining wall designs is a challenging task. Without the right expertise, knowledge, and retaining wall engineering basics, it can lead to expensive damages to the property. Retaining wall failures can also lead to hazardous injuries and death. Thus, it is always recommended to hire a licensed and insured retaining wall engineer for design and construction. This ensures a safe, efficient, and budget-friendly retaining wall solution.

What is a retaining wall all about?

It is the structure of the building that is used to maintain the soil at two distinct heights, created by cuts and fills. The soil is retained laterally and withstanding the lateral loads applied by the pressure from the earth. The American standard retaining structures deals with building walls that are less than 15m in height, and greater than 80mm. Furthermore, the walls need to be 70o or more to the horizontal, thereby excluding masonry structures. 

Guidelines for DIY handyman walls

When a stable low-risk bank is considered for retaining, there is no need for any structural wall. For DIY home handyman walls, several suggested guidelines and protocols for design and construction need to be followed. For instance, factors like drainage, backfill, wales, batter, and depth of posts play vital roles. One shouldn’t rush after faster and cheaper ways as it invites more trouble in the future. Therefore, the right structural engineer must be hired for the task.

Why consider a retaining wall?

The importance of retaining walls is present everywhere, whether it is a residential property or a commercial one. Retaining walls are used in a wide range of areas in properties like:

  •   Public facilities, including sporting clubs, hospitals, medical facilities, and educational facilities
  •   Public works like roadways and rail overpasses
  •   Industry and mining
  •   Business properties
  •   Garden areas, lawns, parks, farming (hillside)

Approval from a structural engineer is a must

While dealing with retaining walls in a residential property, the approval of structural engineers is mandatory. The experts have an in-depth understanding and knowledge of retaining wall engineering. This makes him/her make professional decisions better and more efficiently. The structural engineer can assess whether building a wall on the property line with the neighbor is a good decision, establish a basement, garden landscape, construct a home under stumps, fill and retain soil for a bigger backyard, and the list continues.

Choosing the right structural engineer

The majority of retaining wall builders work hand-in-hand with structural engineers while designing and constructing. In case, a builder doesn’t have one, it is mandatory to hire one before getting the approval of constructing and designing a retaining wall. A structural engineer associated with retaining wall builders is acquainted with different types of retaining wall design and construction. Moreover, it is also suggested to hire only experienced engineers because errors in the construction and design of retaining walls can be hazardous.


Contrary to the belief, retaining wall construction and design is a time-consuming and complex procedure. Without a basic understanding of retaining wall engineering, things might end up bad, costing lives and fortune. Thus, it is always a better option to get hold of a professional structural engineer with skills and expertise in the field.