Retaining Walls


Instructions from Video:

Retaining Walls are used to hold back earth in certain areas of a design. In Envisioneer we can accomplish this in various ways depending on the version of the program you have.

In all versions of Envisioneer, you can use the Slope and Retaining Walls tools.

The site can automatically cut around a building. The location that it cuts around is set in the Document Settings dialog box. To set the location;

Select Settings>Document Settings

In the Document Settings dialog box, select Terrain in the options on the left. The Terrain options will appear.  Ensure the Auto-cut terrain around building option is checked. Beneath that set the location to Foundation, for our example in the video. Click OK to exit the dialog box and retain the new settings.

Now to add the slope to the terrain, select Insert>Terrain>Slopes.

The Slopes dialog box appears. A slope can be created by the overall Height of the slope or the Angle of inclination. A negative height will cut out the terrain and a positive number will add height to the terrain. For our example, a -8′ slope is required, set the option to Height and type -8′ and click OK.

To insert the slope you must indicate where the slope starts, by left-clicking. An arrow will appear indicating the direction of the slope with a dimension showing the length the slope will occur over. Left-click again to indicate where the slope ends or type in an exact length in the Commander and hit Enter. For the example model in the video 20′ was used, so the 8′ drop in elevation will occur over a 20′ run.

The slope is inserted and lines appear indicating the change in elevation. To cut out the terrain further, you can use retaining walls that will block the terrain from entering the area within the retaining walls. This is perfect for a daylight basement area that includes a walkout.

To insert retaining walls;

Select a wall that is already drawn in the model, it will highlight and nodes will appear on each end of the wall. Hover the cursor over the node at the end of the wall that you want to make longer to form a retaining wall. When you hover over the node, the cursor will change to a stretch cursor. It is ready to pick up the wall and make it longer. Hold down the left mouse button and stretch the end of the wall out to the new position. Do the same for the parallel wall to bring it out to the same point. The terrain can only be held back if the area is totally enclosed, therefore another wall is needed perpendicular to the two walls just stretched. Envisioneer offers a unique tool, Room Division, that will add the equivalent of a very thin invisible wall that we can use at the end of the walls to hold back the terrain in an area.

Select Insert>Floors>Room Division.

Left-Click to start the room division at the end of one of the stretched lines and then move your cursor to the other stretched wall and left-click again. A line will appear and the terrain will be removed from that area. When you create a room, a floor will automatically be placed in that area. It is the first floor type listed in the catalog, and in the example model, a hardwood floor. Select the floor and right-click to delete it.

The retaining walls can be any height, if you want to change their height, left click to select one of them and then holding down the shift key, left click to select the other so they are both selected at the same time. Right-click and select Properties.

In the Walls dialog box, select the Top and Bottom tab. Select the Slope option under Wall Top. Parameters appear to the right for the height of the a. Start Point (the green node on the model) and the height of the b. Stop Point (the red node on the model). The wall can slope down just like the terrain, in the sample model the values were changed to a. 3′ and b. 8’6. Once the values are changed click OK. The model will update to show the sloped walls.

Next, the area does need a floor. Select Insert>Floors>Floors by Picking Points.

Select the 4″ Concrete Slab from the catalog and move the cursor on to the drawing screen area. Left-click at each inside corner of the walls inside the retained area. Once all 4 corners have been selected, right-click and select Finish. The slab has the same finished height as the basement floor, if you want it to be lower, left-click to select the slab, and then right-click and select Elevate. A negative number will lower the floor. Type a value and click OK.

Building Essentials and Construction Suite users can use the Spot Points.

Select Insert>Terrain>Spot Points.

A dialog box appears to warn you that by selecting spot points you are converting the terrain into a TIN mesh and that will disable the automatic terrain tools such as slope. Click OK to accept the warning.

The spot command is now ready and you can left-click at points to indicate the height of the terrain at that point. You will notice that the Commander area reads the “Z” coordinate, and you can indicate a height of the terrain. Left-click on points around your model and pick points inside the retaining wall area as well. Once you have selected all of the points, right-click and select Finish. Once the points are inserted they can be edited to any height that required. Double click on a spot point that needs to be edited, the Spot Points dialog box appears listing the current elevation. Type in a new height of elevation as required and click OK. The point will be edited and the elevation lines will be altered to indicate the change in elevation.  Continue around the model, double-clicking on points as required for editing. The edited heights may appear jagged instead of a nice even slope. To alter this, select Settings>Document Settings.

In the Document Settings dialog box, select Terrain in the options on the left. The Terrain options will appear.  Move the slider to the right to set the TIN Smoothing to Fine. Click OK to exit the dialog box and retain the new settings.