AB Contractor News

Exclusively for Allan Block Contractors

May 2024

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In This Issue

What's New: New AB Estimating Tool Videos

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Estimating Tool Overview

Check out our New AB Workshop Videos! To see a complete list of videos please check out our Reference Documents for Contractors

Estimating Tool Outputs

ABU Online
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 Contractor Certification Classes, estimating tools, rewards program information and much more!!

Enter the AB Contractor Portal


Application Highlight: Building a Straight Wall up a Slope

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Segmental retaining walls have an inherent setback or batter to the walls. This reduces the pressure behind the walls and makes it possible to potentially build taller gravity walls. This setback is a wonderful thing; however, it does create a small inconvenience when building a straight wall up a slope. What happens is, when a wall is being installed the wall will start to “move away” from a straight line as it goes up in elevation.

Effects of Block Setback

Not to worry, Allan Block has a solution laid out in our Tech Sheets to eliminate this scenario, Building Straight Walls Up a Slope. This tech sheet provides the installer with a method to adjust the wall line to match up with the desired straight line as they step up the wall.

Installing the Second course

Check out the tech sheet for more information or reach out to your local Allan Block representative with questions.

Featured Collection: AB® Collection

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The AB Collection stands as a long time favorite enduring favorite in our segmental retaining wall lineup, cherished for its timeless façade, ease of installation, and enduring appeal. This system exudes a classic split-face aesthetic, offering a range of block sizes and pattern designs to suit various project needs. Its versatility extends from residential to commercial landscapes, accommodating reinforced walls, roadway (DOT) projects, terraces, stairs, gravity walls, even parapets or double walls.

One of the standout features of this collection is building a project with the AB Ashlar Blend®. Incorporating the four module block sizes into the wall elevates any project with the appearance of meticulously hand-laid stone, creating a visually captivating, seemingly random pattern. The installation process involves additional steps and attention to detail, but culminates into a breathtaking final result. Renowned as our most widely produced block collection globally, the AB Collection consistently delivers reliability and aesthetic splendor, transforming flat landscapes into functional, visually appealing spaces.

Classic - Water Application

Classic - Terrace Application

Contractor Talk: A Simple Solution for a Tight Spot

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Gravity retaining walls are best used in good soil conditions where they can hold and retain the soil behind them with their own weight. Remember, a gravity wall relies only on the weight of the block facing which comes with height limitations as outlined in our Gravity Retaining Wall Charts. We all know that when geogrid is introduced, additional space is needed behind a wall. What if you don’t have that space? Think how often you have the following:

  • You are up against the property line.
  • There is an existing patio, sidewalk, or driveway that is above the wall.
  • The customer has a tree that cannot be disturbed.
  • Potential utility lines are behind the wall.

We still need a wall but how do we add weight to stabilize the wall without using geogrid? A simple solution is to use a double wall application. This is easily done with Allan Block since the front wall is placed with the lips up as usual, but the back wall has the Allan Block units flipped upside down to match the setback, detail shown.

Double Block

Using geogrid reinforcement is the most economical way to reinforce a wall, however, when you don’t have the space or your up against a property line, these double-sided Allan Block walls can expand our gravity wall design ability and allow us to construct slightly taller structures without reinforcement. Prior to installation, review site considerations and the surrounding environment to make sure this decision is an economical and cost-effective solution for your customer before going ahead and doubling the block count.

Contact the engineering department here at Allan Block at 800-899-5309 ext.3 if you have any further questions regarding building your double block gravity wall structures.

Contractor Program: Build To Be Certified

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Last quarter, we discussed the process and advantages of becoming an AB Certified Contractor. This starts by attending an AB Contractor Certification Course and completing the hands-on segment with your local representative.

Now, let's imagine you've successfully completed the course, aced the test, and participated in the hands-on portion with your local rep. What comes next? The final step is constructing an Allan Block wall with a minimum height of 3 ft (0.9 m) and comprising at least 300 units (full size or equivalent). Once you notify your local sales representative, they can handle the necessary paperwork with Allan Block Corp., and your Allan Block Certificate will be on its way. That's when the real excitement begins.

As an AB Certified Contractor, your journey continues as you build walls with Allan Block. With the projects you build, you can now recieve free Rewards from Allan Block. By letting your rep know or submitting them yourself with our AB Submittal Card, you can start the rewards rolling in.

Make sure to also ask for your project and training resume you build with each project entered.

AB Rewards Program

Hot Topic: Web Based Estimating Tool

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As a contractor, time is money, and accuracy is key when it comes to estimating projects. That's where the new web-based AB Estimating Tool comes in. It's not just another piece of software; it's a game-changing tool designed to streamline your estimating process while ensuring accuracy and professionalism every step of the way.

So, what exactly does this tool do, and how can it benefit you?

The AB Estimating Tool is your all-in-one solution for project estimation and proposal preparation:

  1. Seamless Accessibility: Instant access via any device with an internet connection.
  2. Educational Resources: Access to a wealth of educational resources, including links and videos tailored to your specific needs.
  3. Customizable Settings and Product Selection: This tool allows you to customize settings based on your role and which product you are using.
  4. Professional Output: In just a few clicks, you can create professional-looking estimates that impress clients and win projects. Receive a comprehensive package, including typical details, proposals, and complete with cover pages.
  5. Compliance with Industry Standards: By ensuring that your estimates meet industry standards, you can instill confidence in your clients and demonstrate your commitment to quality and safety.
  6. Customizable Addendums: Tailor your proposals to fit the specific needs of each project and client, enhancing clarity and transparency.

In today's competitive market, standing out from the crowd is essential. The AB Estimating Tool empowers you to do so by helping you create accurate, professional-looking proposals that showcase your expertise and attention to detail.

By leveraging the AB Estimating Tool, you can:

  • Save time on estimating, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
  • Enhance the accuracy of your estimates, minimizing costly errors and rework.
  • Educate yourself and your clients on project considerations, fostering better communication and collaboration.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to quality and safety, building trust with clients and stakeholders.
  • Win more projects and increase your bottom line.

Take advantage of the New AB Estimating Tool’s powerful features and see the difference it can make in your contracting endeavors. Elevate your proposals, elevate your business, and leave the competition behind.

Check out our AB Workshop Videos for more information on this tool.

If you would like a tutorial of the tool, please email engineering@allanblock.com.

Project Photos Needed

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Allan Block walls are being built all over the world in great applications to create the designs and structures needed for the project. We love to see what is being built so we can promote it for inspiration for other contractors and designers. Please email us with any AB projects you have done so we can add to our library or update our manuals. Its great free advertising to have a job you have built be promoted directly from Allan Block! Make sure to use on your website and social media and then share with us so we can promote to all our followers.

AB Classic Terrace

AB Classic Close up

Send us your project photos for an option to be featured in our materials. 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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