Contractor ABU (Allan Block University) Online is picking up the pace during the winter months. Check out the topics and dates below and register today for the online events that best fit your schedule. These events happen once a month and on the third Tuesday of each month all year long. Simply click the link below for each of the events that best fits into your day:
In addition, our Allan Block 3D Modeling Tool, which works with our AB Apps, continues to assist professionals who want to bring their hardscape projects to life. Check out our introduction to the tool every Friday at 1:30 PM CST.
Allan Block 3D Modeling Tool
With technology growing ever more powerful, customers have come to expect more from professionals and their tools. Project drawings created by hand are a thing of the past; being replaced with computer aided designs. Allan Block is taking the opportunity to take our existing estimating and design tools and extending their reach into three-dimensional project drawings.
AB 3D Modeling Tool - What is it and How does it Work
AB Aztec Collection is similar to our AB Collection of products as it offers the same block sizes and shapes, but offers a new molded face to give the appearance of a smooth block. This allows it to be built using one block shape or combining them to build AB Aztec Ashlar Blend Patterns.
The AB Fieldstone Collection is our 2 piece block system that offers a facing unit and an anchoring unit, which is made with recycled materials. The facing unit is available in a couple different series: Cascade, Sierra, Colonial and Heritage. Check and see if this look is what your customers are searching for.
AB Fieldstone - Sierra
AB Fieldstone - Sierra/Colonial
AB Fieldstone - Heritage
AB Fieldstone - Sierra
AB Fieldstone - Colonial
AB Fieldstone - Cascade
Have an awesome project you want us to promote and show in our materials? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terraced walls are very common, and can add to the character and overall function of any site. The wall and site designer will take many things into consideration when designing a terraced structure, like individual wall heights and setbacks between wall, soil parameters, slopes above and between walls, grid lengths, global stability, etc. The contractors building the walls need to consider these things and many others that we will discuss here.
Here are a few basic things to keep in mind when building a terrace structure:
If the upper wall is built more than twice the height of the lower wall, the lower wall, in most cases can be considered as an independent wall, and is not considered a surcharge for the lower wall. In this case, the grid lengths are often 60 to 70% of the lower wall height.
If the upper wall is built closer than twice the lower wall's height, then the lower wall must be designed to carry the surcharge of the upper wall. In this case, the grid lengths for both walls are often 60 to 70% of the combined walls total height.
Depending on the setback of the walls, it is not uncommon to extend the top layer of grid to go under the leveling pad of the upper wall. This provides added stability to the entire structure, and strengthens the soil beneath the leveling pad to resist wall settlement.
Compaction is very important in all retaining wall construction but especially in terraced walls. If the soil compaction in the lower walls are not done adequately, the upper walls will settle and potentially cause aesthetic issues or worse, structural issues that may require a rebuild.
The design engineer will often call for a higher level of compaction for the soils directly below the leveling pad of the upper wall, but the contractor must compact all the surrounding soils all the way to the bottom of the excavation to ensure that over the long-term the upper wall does not settle and cause issues as mentioned above.
A contractor that has built single walls in the past may want to bid them in a similar manner, but here are a few items to consider when bidding the construction of a terraced wall:
There most likely will be longer grids then you are used to, and thus more excavation and more storage space required for the soil removed.
You will have more leveling pads and first courses and cap units to install. These three construction items take longer then simply installing the wall block, and you may want to account for that in your bid.
Heal and toe drains need to be installed for each terraced wall, and a detailed plan needs to be put in place to ensure that all the upper walls are properly drained for the life of the wall structure.
The bottom line for designing and building terraced walls is to plan ahead. Knowing your grid lengths, your compaction requirements, and your drainage plan (among other things), will make the construction go smoothly, and the wall structure will last a lifetime.
Contractor Program: Why Attend an AB Contractor Certification Course?
It's training season again; everyone's favorite time of the year! With the cold, snowy months of winter upon us, it's the perfect time for training. That means everyone - whether you're a newcomer or a seasoned veteran alike - our Allan Block Contractor Certification Courses offers an opportunity for learning and improvement.
For those who have not yet attended a certification course, there are many reasons to do so. By attending an Allan Block Certification Course, you will learn the proper techniques to install a segmental retaining wall. You will also learn the fundamentals behind retaining walls and have a chance to acquire experience handling our products before you even step foot on a job site. After this course, you will also become an AB Certified Wall Installer after building your first wall. This not only provides a means for you to stand out from the competition, but also opens doors to projects on which a certified contractor is specified.
The more often you come back to attend a course, the more you will learn too. These courses are an all-day event. That means there is a lot of information to take in. Even an experienced or master wall builder will walk away picking up and learning something new. We recommend coming back for a course at least every 5 years. Our industry continues to grow and expand. With this growth comes many advances, new techniques, and new products. The certification course is also a great chance for you to bring your design professional partners to so they can stay up to date with the advances within the industry.
As a leader in the industry, Allan Block has developed these programs and tools to help you acquire the skills, knowledge, and resources you need to develop and grow your business and reputation as a trained & certified wall installer. The more we see you attending our courses, the happier we are knowing that you are helping the industry achieve the goal of Zero Wall Failures. No matter the engineering and work that goes into the design of a wall, it all comes down to you as the installer to ensure that the walls you put up will stay standing. That is why we want to do everything we can to help you succeed.
Check out our upcoming class listing or contact your local Allan Block sales rep to find out when the next class in your area will happen. We can't wait to see you there!
When submitting a project for a permit, how long does it take for you to compile all the necessary documents? What if there was a way to find all of the documents in one place that is fast and easy to use?
The Residential Submittal Tool will allow you to create a free professional document you can use to differentiate yourself from your competitors when presenting your final package. This tool allows you to access a wide range of products and colors that are available in your area making it quick and accurate to use. It can even make it easier going through the permitting/approval phase for each project since the product and design information is all in one place and clearly laid out.
Using the Residential Submittal Tool is as simple as going to the Allan Block Website and entering in your name and location. After that, you will simply select the products and accessories you would like to include, then enter in an email address you would like it sent to. It will generate your own custom-made Residential Submittal Package, containing everything you selected and will even show stunning projects already built for each color available making it easy to choose the right one for your project.
Hot Topic: Here Comes Home Show Season - Lets Attract Those Customers!
Though many of us are in the winter season, exciting opportunities are still ahead with future Allan Block projects. Off-season months are prime occasions to participate in home shows. Both residential and commercial clients are eager to plan their spring prospects. Give them all that 'wow factor' to prove that Allan Block is the product they should choose for their retaining wall, fence, or patio.
Have product on-hand. Nothing is more effective to a patron than seeing what they want in action. Provide an interactive space where they can touch, move, and experience how the patented Allan Block system works.
Have an iPad or laptop ready to go with the Custom Catalog Tool on allanblock.com.Using this tool you can walk a customer through application ideas showing project photos, products with color options, and more. It will then send them a digital brochure with just what they were asking about instantly via email.
You can also use the AB Apps for Walls or Courtyard.Once they've gotten a chance to view firsthand what Allan Block is all about, and they want to plan a future project. Where do you go from there? Have the AB Apps ready to assist in what they're envisioning. Enter their design and submit it to the Design Center with everything they need that can be sent straight to their email. Not only does this validate how easy it is to work with Allan Block products and programs, but it also solidifies potential bids for you!
Keep brochures, literature, and reference cards nearby.A lot of times, people at home or trade shows want something to take home and refer to later. Work with your local dealer or AB Sales Rep to have some brochures in hand like our Design Ideas Catalogs or Courtyard Installation Guides to give away, and have some Residential Retaining Walls to allow further visual aid to the blocks you're featuring.
Get creative with signs and posters. Amp up your space with eye-catching AB Courtyard Posters, display signs, or even some vinyl banners your AB Sales Rep can help you with. Draw the crowd's interest by having strong attention grabbers at your booth.
Keep these things in mind and implement all these resources available to you to have a successful show, with many more in years to come.
Master Wall Builder: Jeff Cornish - LC Lawn and Landscape
With 2019 behind us and 2020 off to the races we're here with another Allan Block Master Wall Builder showcase. Today's highlight takes us to the rolling valleys of Lewiston, Idaho were Jeff Cornish and his company, LC Lawn and Landscape, have been servicing for 25 years. LC Lawn and Landscape does work in the commercial market, but their main focus is in the residential space where they can get creative with their grade change solutions.
When it comes to veterans in the industry, Jeff meets every bit of the definition. He started his career when he was in high school building railroad tie walls and has since put up some of the most beautiful segmental retaining walls in the Northwest United States, some of which are replacing his old wood walls. LC is a full landscaping company which includes two divisions: one for hardscapes, and one for curb, sprinkler, and hydro. He says that the way these two divisions work together is part of the reason the company is so successful. But what Jeff accredits most of LC's success to, are the amazing teams he has.
Willy Brooks and Eric McElrath are two long standing members of Jeff's team. Willy has been with the company 21 years, while Eric has been on board for 19. Willy and Eric are both Allan Block Master Walls Builders as well, and Jeff can't praise them enough. Jeff believes that the amount of experience needed to build master-class walls is often overlooked. To learn more about how to properly install Allan Block walls Jeff, Willy, and Eric each attended contractor certification courses put on by Derek Jones with White Block Company Inc. The Allan Block Contractor Certification Program is a great way to get started down this road and with one class and enough experience, you too can become a Master Wall Builder like Jeff and the others at LC Lawn and Landscape.
Jeff is very proud of how his company handles their residential projects. When I asked what makes his walls so special, Jeff said, 'It's because every block gets placed perfectly, and that he tries to incorporate some sort of unique personality into every one of his walls. This could mean adding a row of AB Lite Stones in between a wall of AB Classics, adding the three-face AB Rocks near the top of the wall to add some definition, or even adding AB Courtyard pillars on top of the wall to act as transitions to step-up and step-down. Another specialty of LC Landscapes is their block stairways that are second-to-none. The attention to detail, creativity, and beautiful transitions really do make each and every LC wall stand out.
We would love to see every Allan Block installer or contractor strive to match the skill and experience that Jeff, Willy, and Eric have, and we appreciate the amount of work they put into making sure every wall of theirs is perfect. We are very fortunate to have such talented installers out there making Allan Block look so good and it's all thanks to companies like LC Lawn and Landscape that we have the reputation we have today. So again, I want to thank Jeff, Willy, Eric, and everyone else at LC Landscape for everything that you've done, and we look forward to all of our future work together.
Allan Block Corporation 7424 W. 78th Street, Bloomington, MN 55439 Help & Support Center: (800) 899-5309
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