Corrugated retaining wall crack

Seems like I hit the motherload today. This is my second time on the forum for the same house. It’s a new construction that’s been on the market for over 500 days in an area where the inventory is low. Hmmmm. The photos show a crack in the retaining wall around the driveway. It looks very peculiar. There was another similarly shaped crack a few feet away from the first, just a little higher up. I figure there’s something in the construction I’m not seeing that would make this type of crack appear, but I don’t know what it is. I’m hoping a retaining wall expert can chime in.

A horizontal crack or cracks, typically, means pressure from behind the wall pushing toward the wall, is how I’ve looked at it most of the time.

And, that wouldn’t surprise me being that it is around the driveway…constant compaction…over and over and over…

Did you measure it for plumb…with a plumb bob or a level?

What’s up with the brick in the second pic? 500+ days on a new build? Looks more like 5,000 days!!

Hey Larry, I’m with you. I normally associate horizontal cracks with hydrostatic pressure, however, I’ve never seen them look like this before. I didn’t check with a level or plumb bob. Learning point for me. I’ll be going back to inspect the furnace, stove, and fireplace since the gas wasn’t on for the inspection.

Hey Jeffrey, There are some drainage issues. The house is built into a hillside so the water comes down and washes over the corner of the retaining wall; hence, the algae growth.

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All the more reason to make sure it gets into your report and referred out to a geological engineer or other qualified professional, Anthony.

Hey Larry, definitely gonna’ do that. I noticed several areas where the ground is starting to slide, both in the front and the rear.

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Looks like the retaining wall may be retaining excessively wet soil. Were there any drain holes at the bottom of the wall and if so, were they clear of mud/debris?

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Yes, there were drain holes, however, the majority were clogged or covered over with plaster/cement. I spoke with the client today and they’re considering skipping on this one. Good for them! (and me)

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