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Rock retaining walls

Jim Harris

Member
Messages
3
Points
0
In our city of North Ogden, UT, we do not have an ordinance regarding the regulation of rock retaining walls. Builders and citizens are free to stack rocks and large boulders without any requirements for engineering, height limitations, stabilization, etc. Can anyone direct me to established ordinances which can provide us with some enforcement options?
 

Brent

Cyburbian
Messages
107
Points
6
We have a set of development standards (incorporated into our zoning ordinance by reference) that address grading and retaining wall standards. Any walls under 4' are considered "landscaping." Once you hit 4' of height, we require a detailed structural plan with a P.E. stamp before a building permit may go out. This requirement came in response to a 25' retaining wall (on private property) in town that has failed 3 times in 10 years. The owners attempted to sue the town for permitting it (turns out it was done originally without a permit).

That's about as detailed as it gets over here - hope that helps.
 

Tomas Lipps

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
The stability of a rock retaining wall depends on the knowledge and skill of the mason or masons involved. It is notoriously difficult to calculate as more must be taken into account than its mass, that is to say its volume and weight; for instance the way each individual rock is oriented and how the assembled rocks are bonded or 'knit' together. With regard to the failed wall mentioned by Brent: twenty five feet is tall for any sort of retaining wall. I wonder if the wall was retaining or intended to retain, a cut bank or earthen fill; if the rocks were laid with or without mortar and, if the wall was mortared, were weep holes incorporated in tyhe masonry to relieve the build-up of hydrostatic pressure behind the wall? I suggest that a skillful mason and a structural engineer working in collaboration should be able to develop a definitive set of specifications for a structurally sound rock retaining wall, don't cha think?
 

Brent

Cyburbian
Messages
107
Points
6
Why re-invent the wheel? It is much easier to require a structural stamp from a P.E. on any proposed wall (per the Uniform Building Code), that way every new wall should be structurally sound. BTW, if a 25-foot high wall that retains the slope for a residential road on both the uphill and downhill sides is not a "retaining" wall, what the hell is it?
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,552
Points
42
Dan, you could have named this "The Druid Thread" b/c whenever the solstice occurs I have his almost uncontrollable urge to stack really big rocks in circles...and there are places where I don't have to have a PE stamp my plans:-D
 
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