American Society of Civil Engineers

Implications of Modern Design Codes for Earth Retaining Structures

by B. Simpson, (Arup, 13 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 4BQ, UK. E-mail: and T. Hocombe, (Arup, Blythe Gate, Blythe Valley Park , Solihull, B90 8AE, UK. E-mail:
Section: Load and Resistance Factor Design, pp. 786-803, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Earth Retention Conference 3
Abstract: The paper discusses the implications of recent developments in codes of practice related to retaining structures, concentrating on European and American codes. In contrast to traditional working stress design, recent codes are generally based on a Limit State approach, with safety margins specified by partial factors. Both European and American developments have factors applied to loads, but while the American preference (LRFD) is to apply factors to resistances, such as bearing capacity, Eurocodes use a mixture of factors on resistances and on material strengths. Comparisons are provided for trial examples, a gravity wall and a propped embedded wall. It is shown that the precise way in which the factors are applied can have significant implications for the design result. The design to Eurocode of a new underground station for high speed trains in Florence is presented, illustrating some of the choices to be made in preparing calculations to satisfy code requirements.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Retaining structures
Soil structures