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Building? An engineer must design a retaining wall that’s higher than 1m

There is no user manual for all aspects of homeownership, from moving, to taking occupation and to maintaining and understanding common and uncommon defects. Albert van Wyk has more than 38 years’ worth of building experience and has put all he has learned into a concise, easy-to-use reference book entitled, The Proud Home Owner. He has granted HomeTimes exclusive access to republish portions of his book to help homeowners make better decisions around buying and selling, as well as maintaining their properties.

Retaining walls

The maximum height that you are allowed to fill up against a 220mm brick wall without pillars is about 1m. An engineer must design every retaining wall that is higher than that. Do not use a cement prefabricated panel wall to retain any soil. These panel walls are not designed for that.

Weep holes in retaining wallsweep holes

These holes or pipes should be provided in the wall to prevent the build-up of water in the filling on the high side.

They must be installed at different heights, with the first one about 200mm from the top.

Threshold to outside doorsdetail of threshold to outside door

Make sure that this is correctly done, or rain water will get in underneath the door. This is a common construction mistake because contractors are not sure how it should be done. This is done when the screed is laid and finished with the flooring.

Garage doordetail of garage door

Next time: How to save energy through the materials you choose

For more, and to order your copy of The Proud Home Owner, click here, or visit Gauteng Home Inspections if you’re building, buying or doing maintenance


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