AB Contractor News

Exclusively for Allan Block Contractors

May 2023

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Make Your Job Easier with AB Resources

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Our motto at Allan Block is “Always Better”. Therefore, we are continuously working to improve our programs and services, which involves our AB Contractor Certification Courses as well. This has led us to create our new AB Advanced Residential Certification Course in which we focus on assisting you in using our tools and services to help improve your sales ability for the residential markets.

Our new AB Advanced Residential Contractor Certification Course focuses on gaining insight on the needs of homeowners and expanding the value that you can deliver to them and their projects. This is done through a 4-hour training session with our various tools available to you. This is great for the project managers and estimators who have previously attended out AB Contractor Certification Course. Some of the topics covered in a classroom learning include:

  • Understanding customer needs
  • Preconstruction meetings and their importance
  • Providing a professional approach & proposals to customers
  • Using your Allan Block Certification to your benefit
  • Leveraging your Allan Block resume

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Along with the classroom learning, we want you to receive experience and gain the comfortability and proficiency to use our many available resources. The AB Advanced Residential Certification Course will provide you a skill set in the following and more:

  • Scope of work & contract documents
  • Quote & ordering documents
  • AB Retaining Wall App
  • AB Courtyard App
  • AB Estimating Tool
  • AB 3D Modeling Tool
  • AB Custom Catalog Builder
  • AB Residential Submittal Builder

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Similar to our AB Contractor Certification Course, there are multiple levels in the AB Advanced Residential Certification Training. These levels are Qualified, Professional, and Expert. Progressing through these levels are different, however, in that we are focused on the growth in your sales ability and your progress by showcasing the different scope of work, submittal, and estimate documents along with the presentation of your projects.

For more information on Allan Block’s new AB Advanced Residential Contractor Certification course, check out the Contractor Resources Portal on our website or contact us directly at info@allanblock.com, or give us a call at 800-899-5309.

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Allan Block Contractor Resources

Find Everything you need - all in one place!

We have compiled all the information and resources you need, in a portal specifically made for you. Here you can find online training webinars, AB Contracter Certification Classes, estimating tools, rewards program information and much more!!

Enter the AB Contractor Portal


Featured Collection – AB Aztec Collection

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Allan Block retaining wall products have a unique variety of facing styles. Split-face looks are a common choice for style and aesthetic, but there has been a growing demand for a more molded, smoother option. AB Aztec has a modern and unique veneer that holds a beautiful and natural marble-type appearance. Whether it be a commercial or residential project, the look of AB Aztec is sure to grab attention.

Building an AB Aztec wall is no different than with AB Classics, so even if this collection is new to you, the installation method is exactly the same. If you’ve built any pattern walls with Allan Block, the AB Aztec Ashlar Blend makes for a perfect upselling opportunity. Check with your local distributor to see if AB Aztec is available in your market.

Want to learn more about this distinctive collection? Browse through our Residential Retaining Wall Manual, check out other AB Aztec projects in our Design Ideas Catalog, or visit the AB Contractor Portal for more details.


AB Tech Sheets!

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Each Allan Block project has a unique set of conditions. Are there terraces in the design? Is there a parapet? Or do you need to know specific information about building on slopes, water management, or rooftop landscaping? Look no further; we have you covered.

Allan Block has several AB Retaining Wall Tech Sheets available for you to reference when working with contractors and design professionals. Depending on the topic, each tech sheet can range from two to seven pages, all containing important installation and specification details. They are also divided into subcategories, either by “Engineering,” “Plan/Design,” “Build,” or “Testing” topics.

We also have AB Fence Tech Sheets available that outline sound abatement testing, installation in cold weather conditions, wind speeds and pressures, and much more.

For the homeowner and DIY enthusiast, AB Courtyard Tech Sheets are available to provide everything from basic install info to advanced applications and projects. Have them start small by learning the block shapes, how to modify them, and building their first seating wall. Before they know it, they’ll want to build one of the AB Courtyard Patio Packages. We have tech sheets for that, too!

Tech Sheets

AB Metro Patio Wall Tech Sheets can be found by scrolling down the Reference Guides and Videos Installation page. Use these to learn about building the pre-designed elements built with the system.

Save time and find the right answers with our AB Tech Sheets. With everything easily found straight from the Catalogs page on allanblock.com, a few simple clicks will bring you to information central.

Certifications and Rewards

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Building season is here so send in your Allan Block project information to receive rewards and advance your certification!

Every Allan Block Retaining Wall, AB Fence or AB Courtyard project installed within this calendar year is eligible for our Rewards Program. Every year contractors have the chance to receive up to 3 rewards (Bronze, Silver and Gold) from a long list of options.

The Certification Program starts after a contractor attends an Allan Block Certification Course and builds their 1st wall. The certification program is a continuous achievement from Certified, Experienced up to Master Wall Builder to distinguish you from the competition.

Each project installed counts towards both programs. To send in your project info you can contact your local representative by phone or email otherwise email a filled out project information card to engineering@allanblock.com and we will do the rest. If you would like to discuss either program or need clarification call us at 800-899-5309.

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Hot Topic: Terraces – What are they and what you need to know

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Have you run into a situation on a customer’s site that would require a large grade change, but they aren’t thrilled by the prospect of a large wall of block? Terraces or tiered walls can be used to break up a tall wall, provide planting space, or even improve overall stability of the site. We often help designers and contractors like yourselves with these questions.


Proximity is key in determining if walls near each other are in a terraced configuration. So, what is the critical dimension to know? What matters is the horizontal distance (D) from the toe of the lower wall to the toe of the upper wall. We then compare that distance (D) to the height of the lower wall (H1). If the distance (D) is greater than 2x the height of the lower wall(H1) it can be considered an independent structure and won’t influence the other. However, if the distance (D) is less than 2x the height (H1) of the lower wall, must be designed and constructed to account for the additional loading of the upper wall.

Once you have determined what you kind of situation you are working with, still pay attention to common construction best practices. Things like proper compaction, block embedment, and water management are critical to the success of any terraced wall project. Below are some bulleted points to keep in mind and reference the Allan Block Best Practices Manual Chapter 10.

  • Elevation: The top of the lower terrace should be at the same elevation as the bottom of the next terrace.
  • Block Embedment: Grade the soil between the terraces starting at the back of the lower wall and sloped to bury at least one full block of the upper terrace. Proper embedment should always be considered for all tiers of the structure.
  • Compaction: Greater attention to compaction and compaction testing should be placed on the foundation soils below the upper terraces and in transition areas where the wall splits from one wall into two. Settlement can occur if not compacted properly and cause aesthetic concerns.
  • Water Management: Toe and heel drains shall be routed as to not exit on the lower terraces. Drainpipes shall be extended to provide a path for water to be channeled away from the wall structure. Pipes at exit locations shall be marked to facilitate identification of where water is draining from.

If you have any questions about terraces or want to discuss a project you are working on please reach out to the engineering department at 800-899-5309 x3 or send an email to Engineering@allanblock.com.

Inspiring Projects

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Creative backyard spaces can be designed to provide areas your customers can enjoy for years with family and friends. Retaining walls can turn sloping yards that are underutilized spaces into whatever can be dreamed up. When you create these beautiful spaces, make sure to take pictures to use on your website and social media and then share with us so we can promote to all our followers.

 New World Courtyard Wall

Courtyard Patio Project

We want to showcase you and your Allan Block projects! Send us your project photos for a chance to be featured on our social platforms. Share them with us via email, Dropbox or wetransfer.com to gerri@allanblock.com.

Allan Block Corporation
7424 W. 78th Street, Bloomington, MN 55439
Help & Support Center: (800) 899-5309
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