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soils pressure

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I have been asked to design a basement wall with a 12' retained height of
soil.  There has been no geotechnical review of the residence, but the
architect, who has done other work in the area, tells me the cut will
probably stand almost vertical.  If this near vertical face is just a couple
of feet away from the wall and the backfill is a free draining fill, will
the fill be able to achieve full lateral soil pressure against the wall.
The architect/contractor/owner wants to use the floor diaphragm to restrain
the top of the wall.  If the full lateral soil pressure is achieved then the
diaphragm doesn't have the capacity to restrain the wall.  I have suggested
a geotech be brought in to look at the excavation and make recommendations
at that point, but of course that hasn't been received very well.  If the
full soil pressure is not activated will there be any pressure at all and
how is it calculated.

Any ideas?

Joseph R. Grill


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