Technical Newsletter
Issue 33

Supporting a Best Practice Approach to Design with Enhanced Software

Over the last 30 plus years the Segmental Retaining Wall (SRW) industry has seen rapid acceptance throughout North America and many other countries. During that time the industry has progressed from individual manufactures working by themselves to roughly 25 years ago, the formation of the first SRW committee within the NCMA (National Concrete Masonry Assoc.) - the industry association representing the SRW and Masonry Industry - where all manufactures work together to better the entire industry. Through these years of growth a better understanding of how we can improve the performance of SRWs and the longevity of every wall built has been earned. To further our commitment to be Always Better (AB) the Allan Block Corporation has teamed with the NCMA to establish a pathway to Zero Wall Failures and that initiative is currently underway by Allan Block and the NCMA. Allan Block took the first step in this initiative by creating the Allan Block Best Practices for SRW Design document in 2014. NCMA has since published their own version using Allan Block’s as a template. You can read the full document at or read our First Quarter, 2015 Technical Newsletter for a summary of the document.

Best Practices for SRW walls and AB Walls Design Software for Retaining Walls

To support Allan Block’s commitment to Best Practices we took steps to enhance our AB Walls design software so all the design engineers have access to a technically sound and easy to use tool to guide their project owners and contractors in the best ways to design and build an SRW for a lifetime to exceptional performance. AB Walls is set up to guide newer SRW designers through a best practice design by starting with industry standards including geogrid lengths and spacing using the site specific inputs from the designer. At the same time providing the flexibility for those more experienced to fully modify their designs as needed for their more complex projects. AB Walls has the ability to create detailed elevation profiles, plan views, multiple cross sections along the wall and detailed general notes and specifications. When the design is complete, the ability to export everything to a .dxf file readable in any CAD program. Specific enhancements for best practices include a comprehensive water management section with blanket and chimney drains, drainage swales, and alternate drain options. Another enhancement is the inclusion of a detailed Complex Composite Structures (CCS) section. Here, a designer can create cross sections for complicated sites using multiple infill materials. Geogrid reinforced infill soils are not the only options for building a quality reinforced mass. In CCS, designers can use geogrid reinforced soils in the top portion and No-Fines Concrete in the bottom for walls where a bedrock formation makes geogrid placement difficult in the lower courses. The CCS section will allow for deeper mass depths in the top or bottom section. It also allows for simple gravity walls above the reinforced section as well as a variety of other options. The CCS modeling section was created to provide experienced designers complete flexibility while maintaining to our Best Practices principles.

See more here about the AB Walls Design Sofware and the many functions it can perform.

AB Walls Online Training Series - Earn CEU’S

AB Walls Webinars

Allan Block has created an online training series for Engineers. This series begins with basic and advanced tutorials on the AB Walls Design Software. Engineers now have the ability to register and sign in to watch individual videos within the training series.

Like all Allan Block training modules, the online training series complies with the IACET requirements and allows AB Corporate to award CEU's. In order to request a credit hour for online training, you must first complete individual assessments upon watching each video.

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