AB Contractor News

Exclusively for Allan Block Contractors

Q1 2019 Issue

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Allan Block

training opportunities

ABU Online

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:

Upcoming Events:

Courtyard Estimating and the Courtyard App
February 19, 2019 (30 min)

Sign up: 10 AM CST

Sign up: 2 PM CST

Scope of Work and Contract Templates
March 19, 2019 (30 min)

Sign up: 10 AM CST

Sign up: 2 PM CST

SRW Stairs, Corner and Radius Install Info
April 16, 2019 (30 min)

Sign up: 10 AM CST

Sign up: 2 PM CST

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

AB 3D Modeling Tool - What is it and How does it Work

Fridays @ 1:30 CST
(30 min)

Sign up:

Click Here to Choose a Day

In this Issue:

What’s new at AB, AB 3D Modeling

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Let’s Close More Business Together! Check out the new 3D capabilities from Allan Block!

Are you ready to increase your closing percentage? Your profitability? We are ready to help with the Allan Block Apps and Allan Block 3D Modeling Tool! You may be wondering, how can we at Allan Block be so confident? Simply put, these FREE tools will help plan, design and estimate projects more efficiently and the export features will provide unbelievable (and quick) visuals your clients will love.


Imagine walking a backyard with a potential client and addressing a retaining wall and/or a patio and seating wall need. Would it be powerful (and even profitable) to provide the following?

  • Two-dimensional plan, elevation and section views of the proposed patio and/or wall
  • 3D renderings with textures, colors and patterns with a simple click of a button
  • Material estimates for block, cap, grid, wall rock, glue, base rock, etc. that will allow you to create a competitive quote for the project

Now imagine these tools are free with simple instructions and tutorials to assist with use! Use the AB Apps and AB 3D Modeling Tool as you walk the backyard and while there, show what could be done OR create the plans in your office on your own time. Either way, you will find this to be a quick, accurate and profitable experience. Call us today or join an upcoming training event (detailed on the left-hand side for easy registration) to learn more about these amazing tools!

3D 2

Contractor Certification Program: Recertification

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Calling all Contractors!!

The training season is upon us and Allan Block has a certification class for you. If you are new to segmental retaining walls (SRWs) or if you are already a seasoned veteran, we want to see you there.

The Allan Block Contractor Certification Program has always provided contractors the proper training and tools to ensure top quality retaining walls are built. For contractors that have not been back to an AB Certification Class in the last 5 years we encourage you to re-certify. We welcome the experienced as well as your new employees, your design professional partners such as your engineer, architect, or landscape architects to come learn about the many advances and new techniques in the industry.


As a leader in the industry, Allan Block Corporation has developed tools and training programs to help you, the contractor, get the knowledge and the resources you need to support your retaining wall business and make you the best installer you can be.

Check out our upcoming classes or contact your local Allan Block sales rep to sign up for a class today.

Contractor Talk: SRW Durability

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Durability and Quality Rolled into One System

Segmental retaining walls (SRWs) have inherent benefits that are sometimes overlooked. One example of this is their increased durability when compared with alternatives. Over time, the elements can take a toll on wall facing which will compromise structural integrity as well as aesthetics. Allan Block products are produced with high compressive strength concrete that is designed to last a lifetime under virtually any exposure condition. More traditional construction materials such as timber run a higher risk of damage from exposure to the elements or simply rot over time. In certain locations, wildfires are also a major concern for damage to many construction materials. Concrete’s natural ability to resist fire will give an Allan Block gravity wall a much better chance of remaining after these fires have passed. Not something that will be seen if you have timber products on your site.

In colder climates, SRW’s ability to flex also prevents most cracking concerns from frost heave that will eventually damage rigid structures. Rigid, impermeable concrete walls are also prone to cracking from built up water pressure behind the wall, where SRWs can release this pressure. Building with Allan Block will ensure that years down the road your wall won’t be riddled with cracks or rotting away. For more information on the durability of Allan Block, see the ASTM standard on segmental retaining walls.


Featured Collection: AB Aztec® Collection

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Have you been asked for something different? How about something different that isn’t different…confusing, I know. What isn’t confusing is that the AB Aztec Collection is the SAME block as the AB Collection, but with a different aesthetic. How does this help you?

  1. Added Aesthetic
  2. Simple/Same Install

AB Aztec is bringing a non-split, smooth molded face to our partners with the exact same benefits of the AB Collection (AB Classic, AB Lite Stone, etc.) which all our partners have enjoyed for nearly 30 years. You will enjoy the same speed and efficiencies experienced with the AB Collection with the new AB Aztec, but will be able to provide an unparalleled aesthetic. This product is revolutionizing our product offering and bringing a cleaner and more contemporary feel to the SRW industry.

Aztec 1

Aztec 1

Hot Topic: Earthquakes

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Allan Block is Earthquake Approved

The 7.0 earthquake that rocked the Anchorage, AK area on November 30th, 2018 was a stark reminder of how the incredible force Mother Nature can be thrown at a community without warning. Most of the damage was to transportation structures like roadways and some bridges. Thankfully there were no reports of major injuries or deaths or AB wall failures reported to our production partner Anchorage Sand and Gravel.

Why do Allan Block segmental retaining walls (SRW’s) preform so well in seismic/earthquake prone regions? Very simply, they are earth structures and are designed to flex unlike cast-in-place concrete structures that are rigid and inflexible. The great news from an installation side is that building an Allan Block SRW in a non-seismic or a high-seismic zone is pretty much the same. Here are some similarities and differences:


Alaska DOT&PF

  • In seismic regions, you may have slightly longer geogrid lengths set by the engineer of record
  • Geogrid layers are placed the same
  • Site soils can be used if they meet the requirements set by the engineer
  • Same wall rock is used in the block cores and directly behind the facing
  • Compact the soils in no more than 8 in. (200mm) lifts.

The internal strength of the SRW system is built-in and if needed, can be used to resist the earthquake movement. For most of the wall’s life, it is simply at rest, waiting to handle the loads that mother nature throws at it.

To learn more about the full-scale seismic testing Columbia University did using Allan Block, see the Seismic Executive Summary.

In The Spotlight: AB Master Wall Builder
Peter McGlynn – Esposito Construction

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The first quarter of 2019 is here, which means it is time for another Allan Block Master Wall Builder showcase. Come along to “The Garden State” where we spoke with New Jersey wall builder, Peter McGlynn.


Pete has worked for Esposito Construction since 2004 and is part of their Wall Construction division where they install Allan Block all across New Jersey and Staten Island. He received his Master Wall Builder status in 2015 and has received Gold Rewards from Allan Block every year since.

Peter entered the hardscapes industry in 2001 and soon after was introduced to Allan Block by Mike Crawford of Clayton Block. Because of the efficient, simple, and proven system that Allan Block provided, Pete fell in love with the product and has been using it ever since. In 2004, when he started working for Esposito Construction, he helped the company get into the commercial market and the business started to grow. Since he started, Esposito’s wall division has increased from two crews totaling 15 workers to three crews totaling 33 workers, 16 of which specifically work with Allan Block.

Throughout Pete’s 18 years of experience in the hardscapes industry he has learned how to use industry best practices to properly prepare sites and efficiently install walls that will last for decades. One of the things that sets Pete apart from the competition is that he is willing to take on challenging sites and projects, specifically water applications. Where many contractors and installers hesitate to accept jobs that pose the potential risk and liability that water applications do, Peter seeks out the work. His reputation as a Master Wall Builder also reassures customers that he knows how to properly build a wall that is sure to hold up in any situation. He said he has been building walls for a long time and one of the most important things he’s learned is to make sure drainage and grid lengths behind the wall are installed using SRW Best Practices.

On top of the many years of experience he has, Pete’s participation in the Allan Block Certification Program has helped him and the crews at Esposito stand out. Peter has received contractor rewards for many years since Allan Block introduced them in 2006. He also makes sure that the Esposito crews take advantage of the contractor classes that Allan Block and Clayton Block provides.

Peter McGlynn

One of the most beneficial classes Pete said that he attended was a bilingual AB Contractor Certification classes that allowed those who speak Spanish as their primary language to not only fully comprehend the classes, but also engage in the presentation and ask questions.

Pete has led the charge on some amazing projects as well. The tallest walls he built was 38 ft. (11.5 m) in New Jersey that ended up being 41,000 units of AB Classic. The wall consisted of 23 ft. (7 m) of geogrid at the top of the wall, 15 ft. (4.5 m) geogrid throughout the rest and was built in exactly five weeks. He has also accomplished putting up 1,140 AB Classic blocks in a single eight-and-a-half-hour day with a crew of only 6 men. As you can see, Peter knows his way around an Allan Block.

It’s thanks to wall builders like Pete that Allan Block is such a respected name in the hardscapes industry. Their dedication to expertly installing, beautiful walls in challenging situations is a testament to what Allan Block stands for. We extend our most sincere thanks to Pete and the others at Esposito Construction for all of the work they have done with us in the past and all of the outstanding jobs they continue to take on moving forward.

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