Technical News

Exclusively for Allan Block Design Professionals

December 2021

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ABU Online

Our Design Professional ABU Online events were created to help you with your retaining wall needs. Our local production and sales partners will be happy to schedule in person training on any topics you see below (call us if you are looking for those individuals) but feel free to use these to help with immediate needs.

training opportunities

Signup for our Webinars

All eligible for 0.1 CEU/1.0 PDH
60 minute sessions

Held at:
8AM, 11AM, 1PM or 4PM CST
on the date listed

Best Practices for SRW Design
Tuesday 12/14, 2/1, 2/8, 3/29

AB Walls 3D+Terraces
Thursday 2/3, 2/10, 3/31

SRW Inspectors Presentation
Tuesday 12/28, 2/22

Segmental Retaining Wall Design
Thursday 2/17

SRW Architectural Presentation
Thursday 12/30, 2/24

AB Fence and Installation
Tuesday 12/21, 2/15

Water Management and AB Walls 3D+Terraces
Thursday 1/27, 3/24

Complex Composite Structures (CCS) and AB Walls 3D+Terraces
Tuesday 1/14, 3/1

No-Fines Concrete and AB Walls
Thursday 1/6, 3/3

Terraces and Global Stability in AB Walls 3D+Terraces
Tuesday 1/11, 3/8

Above Wall Considerations in AB Walls 3D+Terraces
Thursday 1/13, 3/10

Seismic Consideration in AB Walls
Tuesday 1/18, 3/15

Submittals and AB Walls 3D+Terraces
Thursday 1/20, 3/17

3D Modeling and AB Walls 3D+Terraces
Tuesday 1/25, 3/22

Go To Webinar


Once registered for an ABU Online event, you will receive an email notification with a calendar invite attached. Simply open that calendar invite and save it to your calendar for easy access in the future. In addition, you should receive 2-3 email reminders about the event.

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to see all our great announcements and upcoming trainings.

Inspiring Project Ideas










In this Issue:

Case Study: I-95 Jupiter Exchange

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The I-95 Jupiter Interchange is a major gateway to the town of Jupiter and the rest of Palm Beach County. As part of the Florida DOT’s “Bold Vision” design approach to attract visitors and businesses to the area, they have invested a portion of the landscaping budget to fund roadside beautification projects, such as the I-95 Jupiter Interchange.

Fill Site  Cut Site

The plan for the I-95 Jupiter Interchange was to remove and revamp the landscaping to showcase the many native and exotic palms and flowering trees that are famous to South Florida. The design/build team of PaverScape and Cotleur & Hearing were awarded the project due to the aesthetics provided in their design with the use of the AB Aztec Collection.

Rob Cotleur focused on designing the walls as terraced structures with segmental retaining walls, as they are cost-effective and fast to install. Allan Block retaining walls have a consistent design and install process that makes it easy, predictable, and repeatable, yet still adaptable for each site.

Check out the full case study on our entire case study library.

Tools: 3D Modeling - The Future is Now

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When walls run for hundreds of feet, it can become difficult to visualize what a project will actually look like. Customers have come to expect more from design professionals and their tools. The Allan Block 3D Modeling Tool is an extension that connects our powerful AB Walls Design Software and the AB Retaining Wall Design & Estimating App with the popular 3D drawing software, SketchUp. Creating a 3D model is easy; simply import a file into SketchUp that you created using our tools. This file is in the form of a ruby script, and basically tells SketchUp how to draw the wall. Other features found in 3D modeling are:

  • Use the Allan Block Textures Library to add colors, textures, and patterns to the design in realistic visualizations.
  • Combine Multiple Walls effortlessly in one 3D design to show terraced projects, raised patios with courtyard patio walls on top.
Fence Jig
  • Create stylish designs by using the Favorites Library - A collection of the most used Allan Block models and accessories without losing time from searching SketchUp's vast library.
  • Realistic and Accurate 3D models with wall composition details to better visualize the anatomy of the wall.
Fence Jig

If you would like to learn more, you can schedule a free tutorial, sign up for our upcoming 3D Modeling webinars, or contact us at or call 800-899-5309.

Engineering Talk: Buildable Land and Aesthetics

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Nobody says “I want a retaining wall,” but they sometimes need one. Why?

Flat, usable land is getting more expensive and harder to find each year. This means that engineers and architects are turning to ever more creative solutions by making undesirable land more desirable with the use of retaining walls. Segmental retaining wall systems like Allan Block provide one of the quickest and economical options for aesthetically appealing retaining walls for both residential and commercial applications.

Fill Site  Cut Site

When projects require a retaining wall, a cost-effective solution is desirable; if it also enhances the visual appearance of the site, all the better. Allan Block’s retaining wall products have a range of collections to satisfy any aesthetics required. Options can be split-faced (AB Collection, AB Europa Collection), non-split faced (AB Aztec, AB Metro), and even environmentally friendly (AB Fieldstone). For added aesthetics, each collection can be installed using patterns to provide more visual interest.

Fill Site  Cut Site
Fill Site  Cut Site

Contractor Talk: Geogrid Penetration

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Geogrid reinforced walls have a larger footprint than other wall types, which means there is a greater chance of grid interacting with other site features, such as grid obstructions and grid penetrations. We always recommend that you work with the geogrid manufacturer for their advice, but here are several types of grid penetrations depending on the application that we have been involved with.

Geogrid diagram

Grid penetrations vary in size and severity but most cases they are simple obstructions like small fence posts or root balls for plants and trees. In cases where partial geogrid modifications are required, it is permissible to make a small cut in the strong direction, cutting the weak filaments of the grid to accommodate the obstruction.

In some instances, larger geogrid penetrations are required for things like concrete post footings and storm water drop structures. Larger structures like these require the wall installer to build a frame in the geogrid around the structure to pass the loads beyond the structure. The frame is typically constructed with a ¾ inch galvanized continuous threaded bar on each side of the opening. The cross bars can be constructed using 4 inch (100 mm) galvanized pipe. The geogrid is then connected to the bar by either wrapping around the bar or by some means of mechanical connection.

Geogrid diagram

A common challenge for retaining wall construction occurs when a fence is built above the retaining wall after the wall is constructed. In most cases the post footing for the fence has to be hand dug to try to mitigate damage to the geogrid. It is not recommended to use a power auger in these situations as the auger will cause a lot of damage to the geogrid and it also has the potential to pull the grid out of its intended location. In any situation when a vertical obstruction occurs, planning ahead is important to minimize the impact on the geogrid layers.

A unique situation where the obstruction runs parallel with the retaining wall, like storm water drainage pipes, can be accommodated as well. When the obstruction is larger than the geogrid space provided, it is permissible to splay the geogrid around the obstruction. The angle of splay should not exceed 5:1 and a minimum of 4 inches (100 mm) of space should be allowed between the obstacle and geogrid.

For more information, contact our engineering department at (800) 899 5309 ext. 3 or

Geogrid diagram

Hot Topic: Training Syllabus

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As another hardscape season comes to an end, we here at Allan Block are shifting gears. A vital focus at the end of the year is always training. As in many professions, engineers and architects require Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to maintain their licenses and Allan Block is making obtaining those CEUs “Always Better”.

For over 30+ years Allan Block has been developing an in-depth training program, compiling a list of desired topics, and providing an ideal learning environment. Each class lists its IACET training requirements for Continuing Education Units as well as highlighting the key elements covered. Some topics that you can expect to see include:

Check out our training syllabus online in our Designer Resources page to register today. All the topics outlined can be used as subjects for lunch and learns. If you would like to schedule a Lunch and Learn session for your team, take a look at our Lunch and Learn Registration.

For more information, or if you would like to schedule training, feel free to contact our engineering department at (800) 899 5309 or

Engineer Spotlight: Kyle Huerd

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All the engineers that we have spotlighted over the years follow Best Practices closely, but few have the in-depth knowledge like GeoWall Designs. Founder, Kyle Huerd knew before he started his engineering career that he wanted to be involved in both the construction and design aspects of projects.

Geowall Logo

As a 6-year U.S. Army veteran, Kyle decided to head back to school to meet his life and career goals. He graduated in 2012 from the University of Minnesota (Duluth), Go Bulldogs, with his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Like most college students in their senior year, he was cramming for finals and skipping meals in the process. After completing his last exam, Kyle found himself wandering into a free lunch and learn conducted by who else but Allan Block. A few weeks later Kyle started with us, and we were lucky enough to have him with our team for five wonderful years. Kyle enjoyed the family-like appeal of the company but found a great opportunity in the construction industry and thus started his own company GeoWall Designs in 2018.

Today GeoWall Designs provides preliminary and final designs as well as oversight for many aspects of the construction industry. With licenses in over 17 states and an increased effort towards Geo investigations, GeoWall Designs is becoming a leader in the geotechnical service and design industry. GeoWall Designs is always looking to support the Best Practices within the industry in all phases of a project. When asked how Allan Block has helped him develop as an engineer, Kyle stated that “The training and knowledge that I received working with Allan Block is next to none”. GeoWall Designs has also partnered with Earth Retention (formerly ERS) which works to provide U.S. based construction supplies to most areas of the continental US.

For new engineers, Kyle recommends “be a sponge.” Soak up as much information as you can by asking questions on both the theoretical principles and practical construction techniques of projects. He also expressed his appreciation to the contacts and partners he has made over the years, emphasizing his gratitude to his employees who make GeoWall Designs the company it is today. Career goals now involve being able to provide a fun workplace where as many families as possible can succeed. Kyle has really embraced the spirit of Allan Block, being “Always Better”.

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