Supporting Fill When Considerable Grade Change Exists

Supporting Fill When Considerable Grade Changes Exist

Everything in post frame (pole) building land seems to be predicated upon a clear level site. While many parts of our world (Upper Midwest) are fairly flat, most live where ups and downs, swirls and contours exist.

Reader ROBERT in RIVER FALLS writes: 

“I have a considerable slope from front to back where I want to place my garage. I will need to haul in considerable amounts of fill to bring to level. My question is what is the best way to support the fill on the back side. A concrete wall is expensive. Hauling in enough fill so it supports itself seems like it could lend itself to problems of erosion. Any suggestions?”

Our eldest son was faced with this situation 10 years ago when we help to construct his two story 24 by 30 combination garage/shop/in-law apartment near Maryville, TN. In his building’s small footprint he had just over five feet of grade change. His cure for this was to have a concrete block wall built on one side and one end to reduce how much fill would be required. With his lot continuing its precipitous fall in these two directions, it would have been impossible to ever bring in enough fill to have had a stable site.

Back in my post frame building contractor days, I erected a shouse (shop/house combination) at our property near Spokane, WA. With a dozen feet of grade change across 40 feet of building width, our solution began with digging (and digging and digging). You can read more of this story here:  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/.

In many instances the best scenario is to cut away from a high side, fill on low side. High side should be cut far enough back from building to allow for a 5% downward slope away from building and to allow equipment to get past building. Provided adequate space exists, the bank can be tapered to slope down towards the edge of slope away from the building. If space does not exist, a retaining wall (or terraced walls) can be placed to hold the hillside from caving towards building.

Ecology blocks can make for low cost retaining walls as well – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/04/ecology-blocks/

Whether your site is level or sloped, Hansen Pole Buildings can assist you in arriving at as close to an ideal of a solution as possible. Please dial 1(866)200-9657 to speak with a Building Designer today.

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