Cantilever and Restrained Retaining Wall Design Software


SoilStructure Cantilever Retaining Wall (CRW) is practical and one of the most popular retaining wall design software in the U.S.  We have users in over 17 States & 3 countries and most contact us to get more licenses as soon as they purchase new computers or add more employees. You can use the cantilever or the restrained wall design option. It only uses the English unit system at this time.  CRW has all the geotechnical checks often mentioned in your soil mechanics book & the latest seismic earth pressure approach.  It also uses the requirements of ACI 318-11 and IBC 2012.


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Updated September 21, 2014

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Time & Seat

When you have a retaining wall project to design, you have a collection of checks to satisfy. Some of these checks are stability like sliding and overturning.  Other checks are per ACI 318-11, like minimum reinforcement, shear and moment capacity. However, a multitude of geotechnical checks are also needed.  These include settlement, wall deflection and global rotational stability. They also include reducing Kp for sloping ground in front of the retaining wall and increasing Ko in the backfill zone for overconsolidated soils. Yet, will still need to do more geotechnical analysis.  Since we are using Rankine method, cohesion is allowed in the passive zone.  If you are embedded in cohesive soils, why not take advantage of some cohesional strength?.  You can combine friction and cohesion beneath the footing base & passive and cohesion in the footing embedment  region.

SoilStructure Retaining Wall Design Software considers the soil effects in retaining wall design.

Two Reasons Why You Should Start Using This Software Today

This program is the only retaining wall design software that combines geotechnical checks and structural design calculations as one complete treatment of design. This is the only rational  way to design restrained and cantilever retaining walls.

Tall Retaining WallSoilStructure Retaining Wall software has the following unique capabilities:

  • Taking into account the response of bearing pressure when axial dead & live loads are present
  • Computation of retaining wall footing settlement due to distortion & consolidation settlement
  • Checking for global stability of passive soils if the materials are cohesive
  • Design of shear stem key @ the top of footing – bottom of stem interface
  • Calculation to check of whether Active or At rest or in between earth pressures apply to the stem
  • Calculating passive earth resistance when passive soils are descending
  • Calculating at rest earth pressure when the backfill soils are overconsolidated and inclined
  • Option to include all 3 common surchargespoint load, line load and strip load
  • Creating P-M interaction diagram for each stem wall section


Medium Height Retaining WallIn addition, the following design checks for a cantilever or restrained retaining wall are made:

  • Reinforcement for Base Shear Keyway
  • Shear & Moment Design for Concrete Stem(s)
  • Applied force at the top of restrained wall
  • Shear & Moment Design for Heel Slab
  • Shear & Moment Design for Toe Slab
  • Design of optional footing keyway as a bracket
  • Temperature & Shrinkage for Stem and Footing
  • Inclusion of detailed Tables, Charts, References and Dynamic Diagrams
  • A compact, detailed and color report with reinforcement cross section that is drawn to scale
  • A 7 to 9 page report (depending on surcharges and stem sections) can be printed in PDF or on ink. Just enough details to document your design.

SoilStructure Retaining Wall V2.0 references ACI 318-11, ACI 530-11, IBC 2012 and CBC 2013 codes plus several international geotechnical publications. Option is given to use friction angle & soil unit weight or the equivalent fluid pressure.  We encourage the users to pick friction angle/unit weight option as these are fundamental properties that are measurable in the geotechnical lab.  Three parallel windows are displayed to reveal the effects of your input. Users are assumed to be skilled in the “manual design” of retaining walls.

We fix the stem at the base and pin it at the top for the restrained wall check. The program will give you the lateral force at the top of the wall.  We also suggest you check a cantilever condition of all restrained walls, since the wall may be backfilled early by the contractor.

Feature Comparison Table

Feature Vendor 1 Vendor 2 Vendor 3 SoilStructure
Retaining Wall
1. Descending passive slope option No No No Yes
 2. Two soil layer option (Active & Passive) No No Yes Yes
 3. At Rest earth pressure – level backfill Yes Yes Yes Yes
 4. At Rest earth pressure – inclined backfill No No No Yes
 5. At Rest earth pressure – overconsolidated soils No No No Yes
 6. Footing settlement calculation No No No Yes
 7. Rotational stability check No No No Yes
 8. Stem-Footing shear key design No No No Yes
 9. 2013 Seismic Earth Pressure Method No No No Yes
 10. Graphics for stem shear & stem moment Yes No Yes Yes
 11. Point load surcharge – numeric and chart output No No No Yes
 12. Line load & Strip load surcharge Yes Yes Yes Yes
 13. Graphic & numeric output for surcharge loads No No No Yes
 14. Wall P-M interaction diagram for each stem No No No Yes
 15. Bearing pressure under front & back of stem No No No Yes
 16. Temp. & Shrinkage w/proper spacing requirement No No Yes Yes
 17. Check on max. spacing of vertical stem bars No No No Yes
 18. Check on using Ka or Ko based on wall deflection No No No Yes
 19. Factoring ultimate passive resistance No No No Yes
 20. ACI Code Reference for stem, heel and toe design No No Yes Yes
 21. Moment applied @ top of stem No No No Yes
 22. Option to model slope creep force/swelling soils Yes Yes Yes Yes
 23. Cost for retaining wall software on one computer $350 $350 $500 $395

Typical Report

Example Report

Sample Screen Shots

Retaining Wall Screen Shot 1 Retaining Wall Screen Shot
 Retaining Wall Screen Shot 3  Retaining Wall Screen Shot 4
 Retaining Wall Screen Shot 5  Retaining Wall Screen Shot 6

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