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What is BS 8002 and why is it important for retaining structures

BS 8002 is a British standard that provides guidance on the design and construction of earth retaining structures. It covers different types of retaining walls, such as gravity walls, cantilever walls, anchored walls, reinforced soil walls, and gabion walls. It also addresses various aspects of soil mechanics, such as soil properties, soil-structure interaction, groundwater effects, and stability analysis.

BS 8002 is important for retaining structures because it helps engineers to select the most appropriate type of wall for a given site and loading condition. It also helps to ensure that the wall is designed and built in a safe and economical manner, taking into account the potential failure modes and environmental impacts. BS 8002 also provides recommendations on the inspection and maintenance of retaining structures, as well as on the remedial measures for damaged or deteriorated walls.

BS 8002 was first published in 1994 and revised in 2015. It is intended to be used in conjunction with other relevant standards, such as BS EN 1997 (Eurocode 7) for geotechnical design, BS EN 1992 (Eurocode 2) for concrete structures, BS EN 1993 (Eurocode 3) for steel structures, and BS EN 1996 (Eurocode 6) for masonry structures.

If you want to learn more about BS 8002 and its applications for retaining structures, you can download a PDF copy of the standard from one of these sources:






One of the main challenges of designing retaining structures is to account for the uncertainties and variability of the soil conditions. BS 8002 provides guidance on how to classify the soil types and assess their strength and stiffness parameters. It also provides methods for estimating the earth pressures and surcharges acting on the wall, as well as the effects of groundwater and seepage. BS 8002 recommends using a limit state design approach, where the wall is checked for ultimate limit states (such as collapse or overturning) and serviceability limit states (such as excessive deformation or cracking).

Another challenge of designing retaining structures is to consider the different modes of failure that may occur. BS 8002 identifies four main modes of failure: external stability, internal stability, overall stability, and structural adequacy. External stability refers to the equilibrium of the wall and the retained soil mass against sliding, overturning, or bearing failure. Internal stability refers to the integrity of the wall components and their connections against shear or tensile failure. Overall stability refers to the stability of the entire soil mass behind and below the wall against global failure. Structural adequacy refers to the strength and durability of the wall materials and their resistance to corrosion, weathering, or deterioration.

BS 8002 also provides guidance on how to select and construct different types of retaining walls, depending on the site conditions, design requirements, and aesthetic preferences. Some of the common types of retaining walls are:

Gravity walls: These are walls that rely on their own weight and geometry to resist the earth pressures. They are usually made of concrete, masonry, or stone. They are suitable for low to medium height walls with moderate loading conditions.

Cantilever walls: These are walls that are fixed at the base and free at the top. They are usually made of reinforced concrete or steel. They are suitable for medium to high height walls with high loading conditions.

Anchored walls: These are walls that are supported by anchors or tiebacks that extend into the retained soil mass. They are usually made of reinforced concrete or steel. They are suitable for high height walls with high loading conditions.

Reinforced soil walls: These are walls that are composed of soil layers reinforced by geosynthetics or metallic strips. They are usually faced with concrete panels or blocks. They are


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