Dry Stone Retaining Wall   Gravity Wall   Revetment

Dry Stone Retaining Walls

Considerations on dry stone retaining walls from our Engineer….

Here we look at some of the issues facing us and our clients in the misconception of ease of building a ‘dry stone retaining wall’ or correctly, dry stone Gravity Walls and Revetments – considerable differences, but often referred to be the same thing!

dry stone retaining walls – Build quality

In 2017 we received a higher than average number of enquiries regarding failed ‘dry stone retaining wall constructions.  Equally, we have been appointed to correct a large number of ‘dry stone retaining walls‘ – this term being generally used to describe highly specialised dry stone Gravity Walls and Revetments

Early 2018 continued to provide a number of contracts in correcting and rebuilding such walls by us to construction industry standards.  Perhaps alarmingly, 76% of these  walls were built in 2013 by other contractors

In 2017 to date we have demolished and repaired a number of dry stone retaining walls – all built and failed in their construction within the last five years.  We will be undertaking construction of four new dry stone retaining walls between November and september 2019/2020

dry stone retaining walls failure

The main reason for failure of such ‘dry stone retaining walls‘ we have found, is that of misinformed construction methods ie many of our clients were informed by their contractor, that such walls were ‘half a dry stone wall, stacked against the banking’, ‘a good breeze block stacked and mortared against the earth bank with stone facing’ or similar phrases

Dry Stone Retaining Walls require specialist construction techniques

dry stone retaining walls require specialist construction techniques and are not merely stones ‘stacked against an earth bank’ with rubble infill, tie stones or through stones. Their outer appearance  may look similar to a dry stone wall, but their internal structure and load bearing behaviours are very different from a typical dry stone wall construction

dry stone retaining walls  considerations  before and during construction

There are many considerations to be taken into account before and during construction, including load bearing calculations, soil mechanics, underlying drainage and geological considerations to name a few. Insist on these calculations, full considerations and at least a ten million pounds liability insurance, and a building contract 

A poorly constructed ‘dry stone retaining wall’ may not fulfill the purpose for which it was constructed, unless constructed as a true Gravity wall, of which there are many built circa 1800, still standing and performing well and built by informed stonework engineers

dry stone retaining walls specialist

Should you be looking towards constructing a dry stone retaining (gravity)wall or revetment, or indeed, correcting one, we would advise you appoint a specialist in this field.  Drystone Craft international TM are experts in constructing dry stone retaining wall, gravity wall/ revetment and have many years of extensive building experience in this highly specialised area of stonework construction.  We provide specialist excavation machinery, specialist geological/ water/ soil investigations, specialist staff and specialist engineered construction techniques used in the British construction industry

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