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There have been numerous failures of geosynthetic reinforced walls. The majority of these failures occurred in the private sector.

This article does not look at the forensic of wall systems that failed due to exploited redundancy combined with ignorance or careless attempts to “economize” the structure. Instead, it explains why a common belief that the public sector’s design is overly conservative is a risky generalization. It may result in significantly less redundancy in the design code used in the public sector thus allowing for substantial reduction of long-term strength of the reinforcing geosynthetic.

If accepted, a new mode of failure that has not yet been seen will likely be realized: rupture of the reinforcing geosynthetic. Oddly, this mode may be a result of a modified public sector’s code. Rupture of reinforcement in the public sector may inhibit the acceptance of geosynthetic reinforced soil technology.

This article warns against a tendency to reduce the current safety of structures designed using the public sector guidelines. This may make the performance of walls in the public sector on par with that of the private sector.

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