I would like to get expert opinions regarding a proposal. I am reviewing from a contractor to replace precast concrete wall panels with shotcrete wall. The wall acts as a retaining wall and the precast panels were specified to span between the soldier piles (with tiebacks), driven and anchored into the rock at a spacing of 10 feet. Shotcrete walls over 3-inch wood lagging have been proposed to replace the precast panels and they have been designed exactly the same way as reinforced concrete walls. Using ACI Code working strength design for 4000 psi concrete, and fs= 24000 psi steel, the reinforcing in the shotcrete walls have been determined using value of a = 1.76 . ( As= M / 1.76. d ) I do not feel comfortable accepting the same equations and numbers for a shotcrete wall as for a cast-in-place or precast concrete wall with all the quality controls and rigid specifications per ACI 318 Code concerning mixing, formwork, placement, vibration and curing. Could you please provide an expert opinion on the matter? What would be the reasonable values of coefficient to determine the reinforcing in shotcrete walls?
We often use shotcrete in lieu of cast in place concrete without using different design factors. Shotcrete is simply a method of placing concrete. Properly designed and constructed, the same reinforcing steel used for cast-in-place concrete or precast concrete should be able to be used with shotcrete constructed retaining walls. The only differences would be in the reinforcing detailing, in that the rebars should be tied in a configuration that makes them suitable for proper encapsulation with shotcrete. Avoid bundled bars or other conditions not conducive to proper shotcrete encapsulation. See “ACI 506R-90 Guide to Shotcrete” for guidance, except that it is possible to use much larger diameter bars than indicated in that document, as has been described in several articles. (See for example the article by James Warner on “Dealing with Reinforcing” in the Winter 2001 of Shotcrete magazine.)
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