Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Many homeowners are not aware of the fact that current code (International Residential Code) require engineering design for any retaining wall supporting greater than 2-ft of unbalanced fill (Section R404.5). As a result, many government agencies (local code enforcement on the city and county level) require permits for walls. In Georgia, as an example, permits are commonly required for walls which are greater than 4-ft. in height. As a result, some walls receive an inspection after they have already been constructed and landscaped. Common problems with these walls include: 1.) No design for the wall, 2.) wall placed on soft soils, 3.) lack of proper internal and surface water drainage ( missing weep holes or drainage at the base of the wall and sprinklers at the top of the wall), 4.) incorrect wall construction. As a result many of these walls require demolition and/or repair. Permitting a wall can go a long way in preventing this problem.