Level III: Advanced
This test is in two parts which must be applied for and paid for separately. Candidates must hold a Level II / Intermediate certificate before applying for Level III /Advanced Certificate. Part A must be marked and passed before appling for Part B (Timed test – Retaining Wall).
Candidates must build 54 square feet of curved wall plus an additional 54 square feet incorporating one of the features below. The wall must be at least 4 feet high. Part A is not a timed test, it is built on the candidates own time and therefore must be built to a very high standard. Previous test candidates estimate that it takes 100 to 120 hours to build both features (2 ½ to 3 weeks).
Test candidates must confirm that the test features are the unaided work of the candidate. The features will be marked by Examiners on the next test day. The candidate must pay the application and fee to the Stone Trust prior to beginning work on their features. The candidate must then submit at least 3 photos of each feature showing work in progress. The features must be completed at least 6 weeks prior to the next test day, at which time the features will be examined.
Part A is marked out of 40. Each feature must score at least a 13.5 for a total of 27.
It is common for one of the features to pass and the other to fail. If this happens Part A must be reapplied for in full. However the feature that passed does not necessarily need to be rebuilt, though it will be re-examined.
The 2nd feature must be one of these three options:
1) 54 square feet of high wall
2) 54 square feet of wall incorporating a lunky
3) 54 square feet of wall on ground with a slope of 20 degrees or more
Specs for Curve wall:
• Very smooth even curve to the wall on both sides
• Smooth even batter on both sides (the batter must be the same on both sides)
• A common mistake is for the wall to bulge above throughstones
• Very tightly built wall with very few wide joints
• Cope stone must fit tightly around curve
Specs for the Lunkie:
• The minimum hole size is 20” x 20”
• The wall ends that form the sides must be very well tied back.
• At least one through stone (tie stone) is needed on each side of the lunkie hole.
• The size of the lunky is not subtracted from the square footage of the wall.
• The lintel may not protrude
• Lintels must be strong, sit well, and have good bearing area on the supporting stones
Specs for the High wall:
• The minimum height is 6’ to the top of the copes
• Must include at least two courses of throughstones
• 1:8 batter is recommended, base width of wall must allow for this
• Even batter achieved on both sides
• Excellent line and straightness in needed
Specs for the 20-degree sloped wall:
• Stones and courses must be set level
• Foundation stone must be stepped and entirely below ground surface
• Through stones must all be an equal height above the ground
• No running joints
• Cope stones generally should be set vertically
Once a candidate has successfully passed Part A they can then move on to Part B which is a timed test building a retaining wall. Part B must be taken within one year of passing Part A or the candidate will have to re-apply from the beginning. If a candidate fails Part A, they must re-apply for this section, submitting the relevant fee each time, before moving on to Part B.
Part B consists of stripping down and rebuilding 49 square feet of retaining wall (measured on the face) in a 7-hour time period under the presence of examiners. The wall must be at least 4 feet high to the bottom of the copes, and should retain backfill to the bottom of the copes. The wall must be built straight without bulges or hollows. The Stone Trust Center currently has test stints for this level. Both sections are outside and tests are rain or shine events, so candidates should prepare accordingly.
Part B is scored out of 90 with 60 being the minimum passing score. Each section of the wall must also meet a minimum mark to pass. If a candidate fails Part B, there is no restriction on the number of times they could reapply for this section within the year since passing Part A, providing the relevant fee is submitted with each application.
Images of tests:
Below are images of several tests, some passing and some not, as noted. The first 3 images are Jared Flynn’s passing Part A test features.
The next three images are Brian Post’s first attempt at Part A. This test wall did not pass as detailed in the captions.
The next 3 photos show Brian Post’s second successful attempt at the Level III Part A test, about 6 months later. Brian rebuilt the curve and the entire coverband and cope, but did not rebuild the lunkie as that had passed. The lunkie did have to be re-examined, but since it had passed there was no reason to rebuild it.
Photos of the Level III Part B test are below.
Part B tests for Level III are held outside at The Stone Trust Center.