Retaining Wall Construction & Inspection Checklist

To ensure that the basics of the retaining wall project are covered, use the following construction and inspection checklist. For a thorough procedure use this list as a guide to prepare your project specific checklist and to review the most common points. It may also be used during the bidding process or a pre-construction meeting to ensure that all special provisions are complied with. Always check the local building codes, document any changes to the plan in writing, and notify the retaining wall design engineer with any concerns on water management.

Review Construction Details & Procedures:

  1. Mark station points for top and bottom of the retaining wall elevation and change in wall direction.
  2. Identify changes in grid lengths, location of grids, and types of grid to be used.
  3. Determine and locate proper base size for each section of the retaining wall.
  4. Verify that the correct type and color of block has been ordered and delivered to the job.
  5. Verify that the foundation soil and retained soil conform to design requirements.
  6. Verify that infill soil meets design standards.
  7. Verify that compaction testing will be performed, who is responsible, at what intervals of locations along the retaining wall, and what coordination will be required.
  8. Determine what method will be used to verify construction materials, methods, and sequence of construction. (ie: written documentation of as built, full time inspector on site, photographic documentation.)
  9. Wall contractor is responsible for quality control of retaining wall installation per the approved plans. The owner or owner’s representative is responsible for engineering and quality assurance of the project.

Review retaining wall design plans for:

A. Compliance of site to latest site plan

  • Does the site plan and retaining wall layout coincide with current site conditions?
  • Have all slopes above and below the retaining walls been taken into account on the plans?
  • Do the section drawings match the topography of the job-site?
  • Have site utilities been accounted for?
  • Are there any recommendations for changes to the site plans to accommodate the retaining wall?

B. Review of reported soil conditions with on-site soils engineer

retaining wall global stability
  • Are on-site soils consistent with soil parameters used in retaining wall design?
  • Does the site show indications of multiple types of soil, and has this been accounted for?
  • Is there evidence of landfill areas on site?
  • Has the owner contracted with a geotechnical engineering firm for overall / global stability outside the retaining wall design envelope (H tall by the greater of 2H or He + L long)?

C. Review of above-grade water management with project civil engineer

  • Has surface runoff been accounted for in the site design?
  • Will this site be irrigated?
  • If storm drains become inoperable where will the water migrate to?
  • During renovation of land will temporary drainage be an issue?

D. Review of below grade water management with retaining wall design engineer and general contractor

  • How and where will drain pipe be installed?
  • Is it possible to vent drain pipe to daylight?
  • Is venting to a storm drainage system an option?
  • Will outlets be located and protected from blockage or damage?

E. Surcharges

  • Have all surcharges been accounted for?
  • During construction are there any temporary surcharges that should be accounted for?