The problem with MSE walls-a case study in support of integrated geotechnical engineering design

F. H. van der Merwe, C. Warren-Codrington and F. Pequenino 2017.


Mechanically Stabilised Earth (MSE) walls have a growing application in place of conventional retaining systems for varying reasons, most notably economy and constructability. However, there have recently been a number of failures or instances of poor performance of these systems throughout the southern African region. An evaluation of these indicates that there are two fundamental causes for poor performance. Th e fi rst relates to the nature in which MSE structures are planned, designed and constructed. Th e second relates to the need for the geotechnical designer to develop a clear understanding of the subsurface condi-tions, together with a need for routine verifi cations of the ground conditions, design, construction and materials during the process of construction.




Plate Load Testing (PLT)

Dynamic Replacement

It is essential that professionals charged with the responsibility of planning, designing and implementing MSE retaining systems understand the application, limitations and costs associated with such technologies, which are ever developing and advancing. Th is responsibility is often exacerbated by difficult subsurface conditions, restricted right-of-way and marginal sites with challenging topography, variable climatic conditions and other environmental constraints.

Key Words: 

Mechanically Stabilised Earth (MSE),  



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