After years of research, a new extended version of the Terraforce Design Manual has been launched. The document was developed to guide engineers in designing segmented block retaining walls in accordance with design standards in various countries.

It involved the participation of professionals in three countries, who were now faced with extraordinary challenges to deal with.

Guide simplifies design, construction and costs

The guide deals with the theory of gravity retaining wall design and the theory of composite retaining wall design. The guide also has built-in links to use design tools to assist in the design, construction and supervision routines.

The guide includes cautionary notes, notes for contractors and a table creator to obtain design values for blocks and to help in estimating material costs. There are also links to the Maxiwall Pro software for the design of composite retaining walls and Terrasafe, their in-house design service.

The design guide: Quick overview

The guide starts off with a theoretical analysis and design procedure, with three worked examples for gravity retaining walls:

Section 1: A guide for Terraforce gravity retaining wall design by Wolf Technau of Hawkins, Hawkins and Osborne, page 6-65 (based on the original manual of 1992 and adapted by Terrasafe and Wolf Technau, 2022).

In addition, this document provides guidance for designing reinforced soil Terraforce walls:

Section 2: A guide for Terraforce reinforced soil retaining walls in accordance with BS 8006 and SANS 207:2011 South African National Standard: The design and construction of reinforced soils and infills, by Johan Joubert of Wave International, page 69-110.

The design of reinforced soil retaining walls can be a challenge if the design engineer is not conversant with retaining wall design and with standards such as SANS 207:2011 (based largely on BS 8006). It is a very comprehensive 245-page document explaining fundamental soil reinforcement mechanisms and principles, design principles and testing required for the design of reinforced soil structures.

The Terraforce guide will explain the design procedure and sequential steps that must be followed when designing a reinforced soil retaining wall in accordance with BS 8006, which is applied and accepted in several countries.

Engineers are welcome to download and study the online guide. Professionals can make use of the extensive information to confirm the output obtained from the new design software Maxiwall PRO, which can be downloaded for a modest fee here:

Professional design service

Designers and specifiers who are unable to produce their own designs with either of the mentioned tools, can contact the Terraforce affiliated design service, Terrasafe CC. For a modest fee, Terrasafe offers a basic cross-section design that can be extended according to the client’s wishes and as negotiated.


The Terraforce Table Creator (link below) will assist in preparing rough cost estimates for gravity retaining walls and should not be seen as an alternative to robust design input.


A short, illustrated PowerPoint presentation, setting out the recommended design sequence, can be downloaded here: PowerPoint Presentation (

For more information, contact Terraforce:
Tel: +21 465 1907

For more technical articles, sign up for our newsletter:

Subscribe to our free magazine on or join other discussions like these on, and

Subscribe to our Community👇

Stay Inspired, Stay Educated, Stay Informed

By subscribing you agree to receive our promotional marketing materials. You may unsubscribe at any time.

We keep your data private.