"The book is basic in the sense that it begins at the beginning and is entirely self-contained. It is also comprehensive and contains detailed descriptions of Foundations and Retaining Structures. The aim has been to make the subject matter broadly accessible to advanced students, whilst at the same time providing a reference text for graduate scholars and research scientists active in the field.
A foundation is the element of an architectural structure which connects it to the ground, and transfers loads from the structure to the ground. Foundations are generally considered either shallow or deep. Foundation engineering is the application of soil mechanics and rock mechanics (Geotechnical engineering) in the design of foundation elements of structures.
A retaining structure designed and constructed to resist the lateral pressure of soil, when there is a desired change in ground elevation that exceeds the angle of repose of the soil.
A basement wall is thus one kind of retaining wall. But the term usually refers to a cantilever retaining wall, which is a freestanding structure without lateral support at its top. These are cantilevered from a footing and rise above the grade on one side to retain a higher level grade on the opposite side. The walls must resist the lateral pressures generated by loose soils or, in some cases, water pressures.
The wall face is often of precast concrete units that can tolerate some differential movement. The reinforced soil's mass, along with the facing, then acts as an improved gravity wall. The reinforced mass must be built large enough to retain the pressures from the soil behind it. Gravity walls usually must be a minimum of 50 to 60 percent as deep or thick as the height of the wall, and may have to be larger if there is a slope or surcharge on the wall."