We are, and have been, designing and constructing permanent soil nail and shotcrete retaining walls. Typically, our designs consist of a primary nozzle-finished shotcrete facing to shore during our top-down construction, followed by a secondary shotcrete facing that is shot and sculpted once the full height of the wall has been excavated, drilled, and shot with the primary facing. We had a comment recently that only the secondary facing thickness can be used in our design for the wall’s flexural capacity because the shotcrete layers may delaminate. Our general practice is to pressure-wash the primary nozzle-finished shotcrete facing before our approved and experienced nozzlemen place the secondary layer. From our experience, this procedure has been very effective and we have not experienced any delamination between shotcrete layers on any of the millions of square feet of shotcrete we have placed this way. If installed correctly with our general practice, is there any reason the shotcrete layers would delaminate? If not, have any studies been done to prove this to our reviewer?
All of your points are valid, but the Engineer of Record or the owner makes the final decision on recognizing a composite system or ignoring the value of the initial layer. As your experience shows, shotcrete provides an excellent bond between freshly placed layers and properly prepared concrete or shotcrete substrates. There are many articles available in the Shotcrete magazine archives—found on our website, —that may provide the designer or owner more information to allow them to make their design decision.
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