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In this short course, the theoretical aspects of retaining structures are studied first, followed by the analysis and design of common earth retaining structures. Students will practice the analysis and preliminary design of common earth retaining walls.

Course Outline
After attending this course, you will be able to:

Carry out preliminary design of rigid and flexible retaining walls
Assess the stability of an existing retaining wall under various loading and environmental conditions
Recommend strategy and approach on improving the stability of an existing  retaining wall
Conduct forensic analysis for the failure a retaining wall


Modern retaining structures that support soils at slopes steeper than their angle of repose, are constructed of a broad range of materials, such as masonry, mass concrete, reinforced concrete, pre-cast concrete, timber, metal, and geo-synthetics.  Retaining walls are classified based on their styles, such as gravity walls, semi-gravity walls, cantilever walls, counter-fort walls, crib walls, reinforced soil walls, sheet-pile walls and braced excavation.  Regardless the type and material of an earth retaining structure, two requirements must be satisfied in the design, i.e., the external stability and internal stability under various loading and environmental conditions.  In this short course, the theoretical aspects of retaining structures are studied first, followed by the analysis and design of common earth retaining structures. Students will practice the analysis and preliminary design of common earth retaining walls.


To explain the theoretical principles so participants can assess the internal and external stability, select design criteria and carry out preliminary design. 

Who Should Attend Engineers, technologists and technicians practicing geotechnical, structural,  environmental, municipal and transportation engineers,  designers, architects, construction managers, contractors,  infrastructure inspectors, owners, managers and other technical personnel interested in the design, analysis, assessment and rehabilitation of earth retaining structures.

Special Feature

You will receive the textbook Muni Budhu “Foundations and Earth Retaining Structures”, Willey 2007.

Program Outline

Day I - Introduction, Theory and Design Principles

Welcome, Introduction, Workshop Preview, Learning Outcomes and the Assessment Method


Earth Retaining Structures- Materials, Types, and Functions Theory and Principles

• Fundamental assumptions
• State of plastic equilibrium
• Rankine’s theory
• Influence of wall frictions
• Coulomb’s theory
• Point of application of earth pressure
• Seismic loading
• Drainage and seepage
• Frost action

General Design Considerations
• Foundation
• Active and passive earth pressure
• Backfill
• Drainage
• Internal stability
• External stability

Retaining Structures in the Canadian Codes of Design
• Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual (CFEM 2007)

Day II - Design of Retaining Structures

Rigid Structures
• Gravity walls
• Cantilever walls

Flexible Structures
• Reinforced soil walls
• Cantilever sheet Pile walls
• Anchored sheet pile walls
• Braced cuts

Day III - Case Studies, Workshop and Conclusion

Case Studies
Failures and rehabilitations of retaining walls;

Analysis and preliminary design of common types of retaining walls. Participants should bring a notebook computer with spreadsheet or a scientific calculator for calculations during the workshop

Questions and Answers and Feedback to Participants on Achievement of Learning Outcomes

There will be a one-hour lunch break each day in addition to a refreshment and networking break during each morning and afternoon session.

Daily Schedule:
8:00     Registration and coffee (Day 1 only)
8:30     Session begins                                                                                                                      
12:00   Lunch
4:30     Adjournment


Julie Shang

Julie Q. Shang, PhD. P.Eng. is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering  with  the University of Western Ontario.  She has over 20 years of experience in research, teaching and engineering consulting. She has extensive collaborations with academics and industries worldwide and has received research grants from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Ontario Centres of Excellence and other funding agencies.  Dr. Shang has offered short courses, research seminars and invited presentations on various topics related to the frontier research in geotechnical and Geoenvironmental engineering in Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Italy, China, Netherlands and other countries.  Dr. Shang is a present member of Canadian Geotechnical Society, American Society of Civil Engineers, and American Society of Electrophoresis, and has served as an Associate Editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal and an Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, ASCE in the past.

Prerequisites & Certificates

The participants should have basic knowledge of soil mechanics (typically offered in the 2nd or 3rd year civil engineering programs in universities and community colleges).

Certificates offered

1.8 CEU / 18 PDH

Cancellation Policy
To withdraw from a course, you must send a request, in writing, with the official receipt to our office. Fifteen or more business days in advance: full refund less $50.00 administration charge. Five to fifteen business days in advance: non-refundable credit of equal value for any future EPIC seminar within one year. Credits are transferable within your organization. In case of an unexpected event occurring after this time, you may send someone else to take your place without any additional cost.
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Here are some reviews of the training vendor.
The course was very well presented and the course instructor was absolutely amazing.
Reviewed by 2013
Our instructor, Stephen Lamming, was outstanding and a true expert in his field. He was able to complement the technical air monitoring information with practical real life examples which was highly beneficial. He is an excellent communicator and was highly interactive with the course attendees. This course was recommended to me because Stephen Lamming does an outstanding job. I was very impressed with this course and have subsequently recommended it to my colleagues.
Reviewed by 2012
Would have liked more interactive problem solving.
Reviewed by 2011

This course currently does not have any dates scheduled. Please call 1-877-313-8881 to enquire about future dates or scheduling a private, in house course for your team.

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