Earth Retention Structures Explained

Earth retention structures are used in a variety of situations, from backyard gardens to urban city centers. It’s essential for skyscrapers and other large buildings to have earth retention structures in place to prevent a range of problems, such as protecting underground parking facilities or utilities installed beneath the earth’s surface. Let’s take a closer look at how earth retention works and why it’s an important concept in construction.

What are earth retention structures?

Earth retention involves stabilizing soil and rock during excavation. Contiguous piles, ground anchors and soldier piles may assist in this. Reinforcement concrete is also made to resist the earth’s pressure when necessary. These piles are utilized in order to keep dirt in the same place during building. They can either be temporary or permanent depending on the project.

Contiguous pile walls are each piled next to each other. These act as permanent earth retention structures. Soldier piles, on the other hand, are used as temporary shoring as they are quick to install and remove and are placed about six to 12 feet apart.

How do earth retention structures work?

Everything depends on the type of earth retention structure being used. Here are some other common structures.

  • Vertical faces: If you’re using temporary wooden piles, rock nails and soil nails are a favored alternative to a pile driver for placing these. When you dig deeper, you keep the earth stable by using its mass to help it remain in place. For a permanent installation, these act as ground anchors that are able to release grout at a variety of locations in order to hold it in place. The anchors will not come loose.
  • Concrete piles: Also referred to as continuous flight augering, this involves pumping the concrete directly into the hollow auger as it’s removed. Then a rebar cage is placed in the concrete upon extraction, all the way down to the bottom, as much as 100 feet deep. Sometimes I-beams may be used to improve strength.
  • Shotcrete: Earth retention structures may be overlaid using shotcrete, as is typically done with levees, drainage systems and watercourses. When shotcrete is used in shoring for excavation projects, rebar is added and secured when the retaining wall is installed. This is cheaper and faster than using concrete panels, while also being easier to shape.
  • Non-vertical slopes: If the embankment is reasonably stable, it may only need a bit more support to ensure it doesn’t shift during building when heavy-duty equipment is crossing over it. In these cases, a geogrid mesh is custom made to make the structure more suitable to the environment. This can be removed when the work is done or left as a permanent addition.

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