FAILED OR FAILING RETAINING WALLS
Failed, or failing retaining walls can lead to property damage, or even cause serious injury.
Catastrophic Failure (walls tipping over completely) is unusual; partly because the process often progresses slowly, and corrective action is usually taken before the catastrophe can occur. However, this is not always the case, and this type of failure has been known to occur.
How does Catastrophic Failure occur?
This type of failure is most likely to occur when the retaining wall is poorly designed; having very small footings and no reinforcing steel.
During a period of prolonged heavy rains, the soil behind the wall may soak up a great deal of water, and become heavier and more fluid; increasing the force behind the wall. Simultaneously, the ground beneath, and in front of the wall will become soft and slippery.
This undermines the stability of the footing and offers little resistance to the tipping wall.