Allan Block

Contractor News

September 22, 2016

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We at Allan Block are always striving to be Always Better and bringing you, our contracting customers valuable information that can be incorporated into your business. As we launch our first quarterly Allan Block Contractor Newsletter we will bring you programs & tools to help you drive revenue and provide market information to better educate you on industry standards, initiatives and/or best practices to assist with installation efficiencies.

If have questions, comments or topics you would like to see addressed, please send them to us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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What's New At AB

Recently we launched an Interactive Learning Center (ILC) to assist in your sales efforts. The ILC allows you to create a custom, electronic catalog that you can send to your prospective customers immediately.

Imagine sitting in a client’s living room or kitchen and walking through their project and after getting a sense of what they would like incorporated into their project, you were able to  create them a custom catalog tailored to their project  before you even leave the driveway.

This new tool and custom catalog emailed directly to the customer will help you differentiate yourself from your competition and win more projects.

This catalog can include a variety of things such as your local Allan Block colors, textures, styles, photos of a variety of project styles as well as videos and  installation steps that you can easily follow.

Each manufacturer already has a custom book so let us know if you need assistance setting this up for your immediate use info@allblock.com
(800) 899-5309

See How the ILC Works

Allan Block Certification Program

Allan Block training

What is the Allan Block Certification Program? The Allan Block Contractor Certification Program is designed to give contractors the proper training and tools to ensure top quality retaining walls are built. As a leader in the industry, Allan Block Corporation has developed these tools and training

programs to help contractors get the knowledge and the resources they need.

We offer classes year-round with many already scheduled for this fall and winter so please  check out upcoming classes near you. We are constantly adding to this list so please check frequently, but if you don’t see anything in your area, please let us know and we will work to get a class scheduled.

You may be asking yourself “why should I go through a certification class?” There are many reasons, but the biggest is the industry’s Zero Wall Failure Initiative which is part of the Best Practice documents Allan Block and NCMA have published.

Best Practices
     <Best Practices NCMA

The industry has begun asking designers to include “certified contractors from an industry recognized program” within their specifications.  Our Allan Block training program can provide you that credential upon successful completion. It will become more and more important to carry this certification with you as the industry continues to evolve so don’t miss the opportunities this fall and winter.

Learn More About Contractor Certification

For those of you who have participated in our classes already and have built walls and/or are already a certified contractor, we want to send your rewards for completed Allan Block projects. To receive your rewards for 2016 please reach out to your sales associate or call/email us at Allan Block to begin the process. If you have participated in a class and have not yet been certified check out what you need to do to get certified and/or call your sales associate or email/call us at any time: info@allanblock.com  or (800) 899-5309.

Learn More About AB Rewards


Featured Collection: AB Courtyard

This quarter we are focusing on the fastest growing Allan Block product ever – Courtyard.

What is AB Courtyard? Why was it so quick to take off? AB Courtyard is a double sided decorative wall material used to build seating areas, fire pits, grill surrounds, bars, columns, benches, water features and many other add-on options for an existing patio and/or a new patio installation.


This product can be installed directly on top of a paver or concrete patio or directly on soil. It comes in both non-tumbled and tumbled versions and is intended to be an economical, but highly profitable option for all your hardscape projects.

This efficient system allows you to get on and off the job quicker. All units are 6 in. (150 mm) tall and come in five different shapes – a AB York, AB Dublin, AB Corner, Wall Caps and Post Caps.

Free easy to use apps & estimating tools as well as product information are also available so ask your sales representative for AB Courtyard pricing today!

Learn More

What is an AB Master Wall Builder?

At Allan Block, AB stands for Always Better and as we continue our work to assist you with market improvement, education plays a big role. That is why we have created a variety of educational opportunities for a variety of customers: engineers, dealers, contractors and our producers.

None of these are more important than our contractor program and the individuals at the top of  the certification program are our Master Wall Builders (MWB).

What is an Allan Block Master Wall Builder?
A MWB is an individual who has reached the third and final step in the Contractor Certification Program (level 1 = Certified Contractor and level 2 = Experienced Wall Builder). Contractors that reach this level have both the knowledge and the skills to build top quality Allan Block walls. Set apart from other wall installers, the Master Wall Builder is more widely accepted and sought after by the engineering community.

To become a Master Wall Builder, you must build Allan Block projects totaling up to a minimum of 25,000 units (full size or equivalent) or a total of 10 walls with an average of 1,000 units (full size or equivalent). Unit count is accumulative. Any walls built to satisfy the Level One and Experienced requirements count toward your Master Wall Builder requirement.  

Notify your local Allan Block sales representative of any AB walls you would like submitted toward your Master Wall Builder certification so that your local sales representative can submit the appropriate paperwork to Allan Block Corp. to receive your Allan Block Master Wall Builder certificate with reward.

Learn More

Contractor Talk: Water Management

Water management is a must for all retaining wall projects and a key to long-term success. Water is unfortunately the culprit of too many wall issues and we must always continue to improve our means of management. Many water management details are included on our website for your review and use when building with Allan Block.

Included on our site is a relatively new product to the market that we feel is innovative, exciting and worth mentioning – Wall Drain Pro.

Wall Drain Pro

All drain pipes need to be vented and when vented through the face of the wall just above grade Wall Drain Pro offers a great solution. The method of cutting a block (or two) for the exit point and then capping the pipe with a hard to find cover is now a thing of the past with this innovative and unique product.

Where is the value in the product? Many are telling us the value is in the following:

  1. Easy Installation
  2. Aesthetically Pleasing
  3. Reduced Labor Cost
  4. Designed for Block up to
    8 in. (200 mm)
  5. Height is Easily Modified
  6. Reduce the Likelihood of Rodent Intrusion Within the Drain Pipes

Get to Know an Allan Block Master Wall Builder

Each quarter we will introduce you to a new MWB from a variety of markets – there are hundreds of these individuals throughout North America and all of their stories are unique and interesting. This quarter we are focusing on Mark Tompkins, Owner of Panna LLC, a customer of Clayton Block Company in New Jersey.

Mark began his business in 1991 and has built a great hardscape business wrapped around commercial retaining walls (90% of his business), residential retaining wall business (5%) and pavers (5%). Through the years he has gained the respect and trust from general contractors and owners who want their project done right and on time - many of his projects are with past partners due to his reputation. Mark has built individual walls that total approximately 17,000 sf (1580 m²) and others up to approximately 25 ft. (7.5 m) in height.

Mark wasn’t always a AB Certified Contractor and prior to his participation in the program, he was building wall after wall and was hesitant to attend a certification class. John Barr, who is now retired from Clayton Block, finally convinced him to attend in the early 2000’s. Mark recently told us “the knowledge gained during the certification class taught me how to properly build walls” and the class has been part of his business ever since. Mark became an AB Certified Contractor in September of 2003 upon successful completion of all the requirements and he achieved his Master Wall Builder status in August of 2006. Mark saw the value in the training class and has sent numerous employees through the program once and even twice in most cases because “if they pick up on one thing the second year it is a plus.” In addition to sending individuals through the class, Mark is instrumental in each certification program Clayton Block runs. Prior to the start of class and during tear down, Mark will volunteer time and equipment to assist and speed up the process of each phase. This has helped build upon his relationship with Mike Crawford and all the others at Clayton Block and their working relationship is very strong. “Mike and I help each other out, we try to make his life easier when we can and he helps us with issues/challenges with projects when he can.”

We are very happy to work with Mark and his entire group at Panna LLC and we look forward to seeing and hearing about many more projects of his in the future. Mark, from all of us at Allan Block, thank you for all you do and for allowing us the opportunity to be part of it!

hot topics

Hardscape North America Show

Are you going to Hardscape North America (HNA) in Louisville this year?

The show will once again be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY, Oct 19-21 and Allan Block along with our local production partner, Reading Rock, will be there to show some constant…..and some new products.


Check us out at booth #22046 to see our apps, estimating tools, several of our newest innovations along with meeting some of our group.  Our products are also being displayed at the NCMA booth and featured in the New Products Area. So if you are at the show, stop by and take a look.   In addition, the show will once again offer many educational classes from NCMA and ICPI while also providing a way to capture new and exciting industry information while visiting the exhibits. For more information, visit the HNA website. We hope to see you there.

Award Winning Projects

Have you seen the various AB projects that have won Masonry Construction, NCMA and/or HNA national awards over the past couple years? We are always interested in working with contractors by submitting project details so please call or email us info@allanblock.com  (800) 899-5309 to discuss how we can help you win in 2016 and beyond. Imagine discussing your qualifications by presenting such an award to a GC or homeowner – what could that do for your business! Several of the projects and their specific write ups can be seen at the links provided below along with a brief overview of each.

DePauw University, IN

HNA award 2014
Masonry Construction Project of Year 2014
NCMA award 2015

DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana, was founded in 1837 and is one of the oldest nationally recognized liberal art schools of music in America. With a beautiful campus and an excellent curriculum, the University attracts a wide variety of students and boasts alumni in many prominent fields. In order to continue to provide a place that attracts students of significant promise and achievement, the University put together a master plan to guide development. This plan called for revitalization of the appearance and functionality of the campus build and grounds. One portion of this revitalization plan focused on the addition of quality competition surfaces and the construction of a multi-sport stadium as well as practice fields for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.

Thanks to a large gift from an Alumnus, a new multi-use stadium was built to serve as the southern anchor of the University’s athletic campus. Around the stadium and practice fields are grade changes that require the placement of several retaining walls. The placement of these walls needed not only to consider the student pedestrian access points, but also to maintain the highest levels of aesthetics, complementing the beautiful grounds and buildings the campus is known for. Careful planning went into the placement of the walls. Walls with a patterned look were preferred to maintain the high aesthetic requirements and Segmental Retaining Walls (SRW) were desired for ease of construction on the site.

Read More


Crawford Res., OH

HNA award 2015
NCMA award 2015

The owner of this residence in Upper Arlington, Ohio, asked Hedge Landscaping to create a full sun backyard getaway for his second home, reminiscent of his home in Florida. The only shaded area is the covered patio directly adjacent to the home. Silver select travertine pavers were chosen for the patio surface because they stay cooler on bare feet during the spring, summer and fall, when this home is primarily occupied.

The center of attention of the backyard is the fire pit and waterfall feature. A series of Allan Block retaining walls, including an 8 ft (2.4 m) tall AB Europa wall and a 6 ft (1.8 m) tall AB Old Country Courtyard wall, both in the same color were used to retain the slope and construct the waterfall. Each wall has an
8 in. (200 mm) compacted gravel base and 18 in. (460 mm) of backfill; packing peanuts were used with the backfill to help alleviate pressure on the smaller wall. Decorative gravel 3 in. (75 mm) deep was placed on top of the backfill between the two walls. The waterfall was carefully designed for minimal splashing of the seat wall, eliminating the need for patio furniture in this area. The planters on top of the three main columns have recently been planted with boxwood hedges, which will mature into the scale of the columns.
– Landscape Online.

Read More


Skyline Ridge, NJ

Masonry Construction Project of Year 2012

The Skyline Ridge development is a large residential community with 90 luxury condominiums overlooking the Manhattan skyline. The original site was very hilly and provided no quality space for building. The solution was a set of large Allan Block walls built to form a construction plateau. The project has 17 Allan Block walls consisting of more than 75,000 AB Classic block and a maximum grade change of nearly 90 ft (27 m).

Read More

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