For retaining walls taller than 3 to 4 feet, building codes generally require a building permit and structural wall design prepared by a qualified engineer. Independent civil engineers (P.E.) licensed in the state of the project must prepare these final wall designs. VERSA-LOK and local representatives can provide contacts for engineers with segmental retaining wall experience who are licensed in your state. Design professionals who aren’t doing the structural engineering of the wall (such as a site civil engineer, architect or landscape architect) can retain a SRW engineer to provide the wall design prior to bidding the installation.
Some site civil engineers choose to act as the engineer of record for retaining walls on their site and do the final wall plans in-house. Alternatively, specifiers often require the wall engineering plans to be provided as part of the retaining wall construction package (design/build). In such a case, the specifier provides the retaining wall product type, location, layout, grading and soils information. Bidding contractors estimate the materials, labor and final engineering costs. When a contractor is awarded the project, they then retain a qualified, licensed engineer to prepare the final wall design. For large, complex or critical projects, we suggest an experienced SRW engineer be retained directly by the owner or owner’s representative to prepare the final wall design prior to construction bids.
Engineering Design Methods and Software
For residential, commercial and local agency projects, the Design Manual for Segmental Retaining Walls (3rd edition) published by the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) is typically considered the industry standard design method, unless project specifications indicate otherwise. A brief overview of this design methodology is provided here: Engineering Methods
NCMA also publishes an associated software application, Segmental Retaining Wall Software Version 4.0 (SRWall 4.0), that implements the Design Manual for SRWs methodology. This software, along with an embedded PDF of the design manual, is available at www.ncma.org. SRWall 4.0 has a free 30-day trial mode for evaluation purposes. The software is not proprietary and does not contain any product manufacturer’s specific data. Product data can be either input by the design engineer from published data or imported from a vendor data file (VDF) provided by the product vendor (see below).
For state highway agency projects, the 2010 AASHTO Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges published by AASHTO, Washington, DC is typically considered the industry standard unless project specifications indicate otherwise.
Vendor Data File (VDF) for Wall Designs
The VERSA-LOK Vendor Data File (VDF) can be downloaded from a link that will be emailed to you. Just fill out and submit the form below. This VDF contains VERSA-LOK product data only for NCMA's design software, SRWall 4.0. This is a data file only and is not the design software itself. The SRWall 4.0 design software can be purchased from NCMA here.