Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

JAN 2016

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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When installing a retaining wall, it is critical to make sure it com- plies with local regulations. The National Concrete Masonry Asso- ciation offers certification courses as well as general guidelines for building segmental retaining walls, but city or county codes may be stricter than NCMA standards. Not every location has the same standards for retaining walls – permitting requirements can vary not just by state, but also by coun- ty and even by city. In one case, we discovered a city that has stricter requirements than the county it is located within. A few locations have some particularly unique requirements, which are explained in this feature. Even if the requirements for your location are outlined in this article, ALWAYS check local requirements before constructing a retaining wall, as regulations may have changed, even between time of writing and time of print. Local codes should be followed before the NCMA recom- mendations. LC/DBM is not liable for any code violations or penalties incurred by a contractor's reliance on the information in this article. NCMA Recommended Standards The National Concrete Masonry Association has made available some basic guidelines for the minimum recommended levels of de- sign and construction for segmental retaining walls. The 2012 International Building Code requires a permit for re- taining walls over 4' in height, measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall – not measured by exposed wall. Walls that support a surcharge and are less than 4' in height may also re- quire a permit. NCMA standards follow the recommendations and requirements from the International Building Code. When planning a retaining wall, after determining the location, size and grades, there are five factors to consider. First, are there any structures or utilities that could be located within the reinforced soil or otherwise impact the wall? If so, make the necessary accom- modations. Second, determine the location and types of loads to be retained. Third, determine all water sources in and around the wall, and reroute as necessary. Fourth, determine if a global stability Retaining Walls Done Right by Alli Martin, LC/DBM 40 LC DBM PHOTOS BY PAVESTONE EXCEPT WHERE NOTED

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