Southwestern United States
Retaining Wall Failure Investigation
Shortly after the site was developed, a terraced, mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall failed. The MSE wall, with heights up to 63 ft tall, consisted of precast concrete facing panels and soil backfill interlayered with geogrid reinforcement. SGH investigated the failures’ causes and assisted the owner in evaluating repair options.
Highlights of our investigation include the following:
- Reviewed design and construction documents, manufacturer’s literature, reference standards, building codes, and expert reports
- Visited the site to document post-failure conditions
- Developed and implemented field and laboratory investigations, including locating and making observations at test pits, detecting leaks in adjacent pressurized water-bearing utilities, and testing soils in the area
- Performed a microscopic examination of a failed 2 in. dia. buried polyvinyl chloride irrigation line in our laboratory
- Assessed the effects of soil type, relative compaction, moisture content, and shear strength on the wall failures
- Analyzed the stability of the as-designed and as-built wall configuration
- Developed a detailed sequence of events, including construction activities and weather to help identify factors contributing to the failures
- Evaluated repair options for the MSE wall and provided recommendations for buried utility repairs
Structures | Advanced Analysis | Applied Science & Research
Repair & Strengthening | Geotechnical | Failure Analysis | Microscopy
Key team members
706 Mission Street
Together, a new forty‑three story tower and the historic ten-story Aronson Building offer 146 condominiums and many amenities, such as a fifth-floor club level and resident programs and services. SGH consulted on the building enclosure design for the project.
SGH was retained by prospective owners to identify seismic vulnerabilities and develop conceptual retrofits and cost estimates for the hotel. After the building was purchased, SGH designed a seismic retrofit.