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Building Gravity Walls



Documento Imprimible (.pdf)

Step 1: Site Prep and Excavation

  • Remove surface vegetation and organic soils
  • Per the approved plan, excavate base trench a minimum of 24 in.(610 mm) wide and 12 in. (300 mm) deep.*
  • Remove unsuitable soils and replace with compactible materials.
  • Buried block should be a minimum of 6 in. (150 mm). Check plans to see how much buried block is required.
  • Compact and level trench.

Step 2: Install Base Material

  • Per the approved plans, place a minimum of 6 in. (150 mm) of wall rock in the base trench and rake smooth.*
  • Compact and level base material.
  • Site Soils Engineer should verify that a proper base is established.
Gravity Wall Typical Cross Section

Ricorso di Base

Step 3: Install Base Course

  • Begin at the lowest wall elevation.Place AB units on base material, check and adjust for level and alignment of each unit.
  • Drain pipe is required for walls over 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall or are constructed in silty or clay soils. See approved plans for location and specifications. Refer to design details

Step 4: Install Wall Rock and Backfill Materials

  • Fill the AB hollow cores and a minimum of 12 in. (300 mm) behind the wall with wall rock.
  • Use approved soils to backfill behind the wall rock and in front of the base course.
  • Use a plate compactor to consolidate the area behind the block.Compact in lifts of 8 in. (200 mm) or less.

Step 5: Install Additional Courses

  • Remove all excess material from the top surface of AB units. This can be done when installing the next course of block, by sliding the block into place.
  • Stack the next course of blocks so that the vertical seams are offset from the blocks below by at least 3 in. (75 mm) or 1/4 the length of the block.
  • Check and adjust for level, alignment and the wall batter as the wall stacks up.
  • Fill the block cores and behind with wall rock then place approved soils as described in Step 4.
  • From course 2 and above use a plate compactor to compact directly on the blocks as well as the area behind the blocks. Compact in lifts of 8 in. (200 mm) or less.
  • Complete wall to required height. Click here for information on wall ending options.
  • Use 8 in. (200 mm) of impermeable fill on the last lift to finish off wall.


See Reinforced Wall Construction for more detailed information on these installation steps.


*For walls under 4 ft (1.2 m), an 18 in. (460 mm) wide by 10 in. (250 mm) deep trench with 4 in. (100 mm)of wall rock base materials is acceptable.
















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