Large retaining walls are becoming part and parcel of civil engineering, but that does not mean they are as successful as you would like them to be. In fact civil engineers consider these walls as being the most risky because of how often they fail. While, they may be easier to put together and set up, there are too many risks involved that puts civil engineers off. Here are some of the main causes of retaining wall failures and why engineers hesitate.

High Failure Rate

Retaining walls have a larger failure rate and this puts them in a disadvantaged position immediately. It has a lot to do with how they are constructed and how they are unable to deal with the pressures that are put on them. Now, the rates that are established state it is only 1 retaining wall every 1000 that is going to fail.

This might not seem high, but in the world of engineering this is a significant issue and one that is going to cause problems for those who are trying to find a solid option that is going to last.

Size Causes Weakness

A larger retaining wall tends to be more prone to falling apart and that is never fun to deal with, yet in many cases a larger option is the only way to go for the team that is behind the project.

Therefore, the large retaining wall is often going to see failure before anything is given a chance and that is never easy to deal with for the team.

A lot of the times, larger retaining walls are refrained from because of this reason alone as certain environments are not conducive for a larger retaining wall.

Poor Communication

This is one of those reasons that most people would assume does not take place, but there are a lot of people involved in the project and when the communication lines start to cross up, the retaining wall does not get put together as it should have been and the results are awful in the long term.

When the communication is fine, the large retaining wall is able to do well for itself, but when the communication is off, the wall does fall apart over time no matter what is done.


One of the main causes has been pointed towards water and how it tends to weaken the retaining wall. It is not the water that is the sole reason for the retaining wall started to weaken and therefore falling apart, but it does have a major role to play as it chips away day after day.

Over time, the water tends to do a lot of damage that has to be corrected before the wall falls apart completely. If the water levels are not assessed properly, the damage will come in thick and fast. This is why engineers have to be careful of the direction they go in with the project.

Too Much Analytics Involved

One of the reasons that is cited for this being a reality has to do with the analytics that are involved with number crunching going on into what is being done with the retaining wall. This can be frustrating as there is nothing worse than numbers being used as the sole reader into whether or not the retaining wall is the right option and how it is going to be put together.

When only numbers are being used, it can lead to a false image being produced where the engineers assume everything is fine when it is not.

These are just a few of the main causes of retaining wall failures that have to be kept in mind before a decision is made one way or another. While, it might sound the most appealing option, these main causes of retaining wall failures should be enough proof to indicate how this is not an option most people should be going for in the modern age. Civil engineers and their project teams are looking to stay away unless they are positive about the results and are able to make sure all the checks and balances have been done in advance before a decision is made.