Collapsing retaining walls

Collapsed retaining wallA retaining wall is a structure that holds back soil or rock from a building, preventing movement or erosion.

As many properties in Cyprus are built on sloping land, they have retaining walls, constructed from reinforced concrete, that (should) prevent any movement.

The most important consideration in their design and construction is that the retained material is attempting to move forward and downward due to gravity, creating pressure behind the wall. If the wall is built incorrectly, or the stresses imposed on them have been miscalculated they will collapse.

When a wall collapses, it can have serious consequences as you will see in the photos below.

Luxury Properties in Cyprus: With collapsing retaining walls

Click on any of the photos below to get a larger picture.

A retaining wall about to fail

A couple more years and this will collapse

Pissouri is built on the top of a hill. Many 'luxury properties' are built on loose soil and have retaining walls to prevent them moving.

See how this one has buckled causing the steel reinforcing rods to spring out. It will not be long before this one collapses unless remedial strengthening work is carried out.

A luxury properties retaining wall and apartment block

An 'interesting' method of supporting a block of apartments

To prevent the property on the left from collapsing, the developer has built reinforced concrete beams between the apartment block and the neighbours retaining wall.

It's difficult to know whether the apartment block is holding up the wall or the wall is holding up the block of apartments. What do you think will fail first - the retaining wall - the concrete beams - or the block of apartments?

If you buy a home with a view, there's every possibility that it will be ruined by a developer building in front of you!

Collapsed retaining wall

Structural failure

The properties behind this wall started to collapse as you can see on the following page. The owners' 17 year battle with the property developer responsible continues to this day as you can read on the 'Chloraka Sunset website'.

(The directors of the company that built this wall are also directors of the company that built the wall in the following photograph).

Collapsed retaining wall of a newly built luxury home

The walls of Jericho

The collapse of this retaining wall of a home in the Pine Villas development in Pissouri wasn't caused by marching Israelites blowing their trumpets, but by just five minutes of heavy rain. 'Act of God' blurted the developer, presumably a reference to the Old Testament Bible story.

But after much media attention the wall was repaired - whether it will withstand the next heavy winter rains remains to be seen.