AB Contractor News

Exclusively for Allan Block Contractors

Q3 2018 Issue

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training opportunities

ABU Online

Each month we will provide a training opportunity specifically for contractors on items such as the AB Estimating Tool, Allan Block Apps, Scope of Work documents, installation tricks, the Contractor Program and other industry topics that will benefit your business. These events will be running the third Tuesday of each month at 10 AM CST and 2 PM CST and registration is as easy as clicking the link below that fits best into your schedule.

Upcoming Events:

Reading Plans and Adobe Measuring Tool

August 21, 2018 (30 min)

Reading Specification - what to look for

Sept 18, 2018 (30 min)

Basic Installation of SRWs

October 16, 2018 (30 min)

SRW Stairs, Corners and Radius Install Info

November 20, 2018 (30 min)

AB 3D Modeling Tool: What is it and how to use it?

Fridays Aug 17- Sept 7, 2018 (30 min)
Sign up:

Contractor Certification Dates:

We generally host Contractor Certification classes throughout the winter months, but keep an eye on our online training schedule to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity near you. Interested in a class and not seeing a date near you – contact us.

Certificates and Rewards:

Want to join the more than 750 individuals who have already received free rewards for building with Allan Block products? Complete your certification and/or send project information in to get going.

Sean Roth - Ryan's Excavating
Ryan's Excavating - Lowell, MI

Richard Wiggins III H & H Lawn Service
H & H Lawn Service - Holland , MI

Sebastian English - Yardmasters
Yardmaster Landscaping - Langley, BC

AB Courtyard Collection

AB Courtyard Collection

AB Courtyard Collection

Cornerstone Retaining Walls

Cornerstone Retaining Walls

Cornerstone Retaining Walls

In this Issue:

New: Allan Block 3D Modeling

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Our new Allan Block 3D Modeling Program has hit the ground running. With hundreds of downloads in the first couple weeks, and more coming every day, it’s safe to say that the tool is a hit. This innovative new extension is a great way for design-build firms or other designers to increase their SketchUp proficiency.

If you are not familiar with SketchUp, you will see that it is a powerful 3D modeling software that many designers already rely on heavily. With our new extension they can create a fully textured 3D model of a retaining wall designed with the Allan Block Retaining Wall App in seconds.

Communication with your client is extremely important, and many know that 3D modeling is the bridge that allows for seamless visual communication. This technology allows clients to put themselves in their backyard dining with friends, enjoying a glass of wine after work or even experiencing a virtual tour of their future exterior oasis. Today, designers all over are using 3D visualizations to win more projects and even increase profits.

For years Allan Block has provided the industry with phenomenal design and estimating tools. Now that we have the Retaining Wall App working with our SketchUp extension we have begun moving forward with adding these features to our Courtyard App as well. Within the next two months you will have the ability to not only bring your retaining wall projects to life with 3D renderings, but your entire patio and seating area too….and the best part is, the entire process happens in only minutes.

Give us a call today to learn more about the use of our Allan Block 3D Modeling Tool or check out any of our online training programs as well.

Allan Block 3D Modeling Tool Online training – register at a link below.

Training Training

AB Custom Catalogs &
New Residential Submittal Tool

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Today you have access to a great tool known as the ILC (Interactive Learning Center). This tool allows you to access a wide range of information that is custom to your local products and colors where you can create an e-mailable full color catalog based on your selections to your customers. Choose from a wide range of Design Idea projects by application, AB Product Collections with color choices, estimating info and finally installation details that includes video links. In our pursuit of continued improvement, we are renaming and enhancing the tool to provide you with even more options.


The Allan Block Custom Catalogs and Submittal Tool will be launched within the next couple weeks and will provide you even more flexibility and ease with the offering to also create submittal packages. This single tool will still allow you to create custom catalogs, and will now offer the ability of choosing product sheets of the individual blocks of any Allan Block Collections, available block colors along with adjacent items such as geogrid product sheets and Wall Drain Pro.


Our hope with this tool is to provide you another professional document you can use to differentiate from your competitors when presenting your final package to each customer and/or to even improve the permitting/approval phase of each project with easy to follow product information. Check out more on the tool by visiting allanblock.com or call us today to request a brief tutorial.

Hardscapes North America (HNA)
Oct. 17-19, 2018

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Allan Block will once again join partner, Reading Rock at the Hardscape North America - HNA event in Louisville, October 17th-19th of 2018. Each year the show continues to grow, and demand remains high. New products, ideas and services continue to drive demand and 2018 should once again impress all. We will be in booth 24028 and we look forward to seeing you and talking with you there!

HNA show

Contractor Talk: OSHA and Silica Dust

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Word has gotten around that OSHA is cracking down on silica dust requirements. OSHA has outlined initial enforcement protocol of its revised standard, Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry and Maritime, most provisions of which became enforceable on June 23, 2018. The standard establishes a new eight-hour time-weighted average permissible exposure limit and action level, plus associated secondary requirements.




Applying water to a saw blade when cutting materials that contain crystalline silica — such as stone, rock, concrete, brick, and block — substantially reduces the amount of dust created during these operations. If you can see a plume, exposure limit is likely unsafe.

OSHA is enforcing this and intends to issue interim enforcement guidance until a compliance directive on the new standards is finalized. Be prepared to face hefty fines should you be caught ignoring these standards. You can learn more about OSHA’s small entity compliance here. Fact sheets and additional literature can be found here.

Featured Collection:
AB Courtyard Collection

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This quarter we are focusing on the quickest and easiest product to build with for seating walls, patio surrounds, entry monuments, etc.

This product is so user friendly that it goes together just like the building blocks when you were a kid. The pictures below come from a DIYer that wanted to bring their living room/family time outside and the best way to do that was creating a patio with a simple courtyard surround to give the feel of an outdoor room. The DIYer was surprised that after all the work had been done for the stairs, patio, and deck, the AB Courtyard seating walls and counter top were installed one evening by following the AB Courtyard Collection Reference Guide.

AB Courtyard Collection

AB Courtyard Collection

What is AB Courtyard? AB Courtyard is a two-sided, free standing patio wall system used to build patio walls and surrounds fire pits, grill surrounds, privacy fencing, outdoor kitchens, ponds and many other add-on options for an existing patio and/or a new patio installation. There are many pre-designed patio packages offering some great ideas you can offer to your customer, then using our step by step install or video instructions, you can build it as a quick add on to a paver install.

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. This modular system has 3 main components plus cap blocks. The AB Dublin, AB York and the Corner blocks are all 6 in. (150 mm) tall and are used in the following ways:

  • AB York and AB Dublin blocks are the main component to build the two-sided walls. The AB Dublin block is an angled block and is used for straight walls along with the AB York block which is tapered block that is used for building curved sections. Two AB York blocks is one AB Dublin block.
  • The Corner blocks are used to quickly build corners, create vertical ends or step downs within the wall panels and are used to build posts/pillars (4 AB Corner blocks for 1 course of post).
  • The AB Wall Cap is used to cap the wall panels, it is a tapered block that has a notch on the bottom to allow placement over the raised rings from the blocks below.
  • The Post caps are used to cap the post/pillar using 2 pieces and are a cost-effective solution to finish the project.

Free and easy to use – check out our AB Courtyard Patio Walls Design and Estimating App, our quick Estimating Tool where you can add in your costs, AB Courtyard product information or check with your local distributor or sales representative for AB Courtyard information and pricing today!

In The Spotlight:
Cornerstone Retaining Walls

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As a reminder, an Allan Block Master Wall Builder (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). AB Contractors that reach this level have both the knowledge and the skills to build top quality Allan Block walls. To learn more about the details associated with each certification level, please visit our AB Certification site.

We’re headed out to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado this quarter to highlight Master Wall Builder Clint Pino from Cornerstone Retaining Walls. With a history of hardscape and retaining wall work, Clint started Cornerstone in 2002 with a focus on retaining walls. Currently, Cornerstone builds walls all over Denver, its surrounding suburbs, and even in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Clint’s 19+ years of experience building retaining walls and his focus on ethical business practices has led to Cornerstone’s 16 years of successful business.

Cornerstone Retaining Walls

As you can probably imagine, working in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains can lead to some very unique projects. A lot of the walls that Clint builds are in areas with very steep grade changes, lack of easy access, and rough terrain. These types of difficult projects are Clint’s “favorite walls to build.” The unique parameters of the area provide the perfect opportunity to challenge himself, and this is where his experience shines.

Clint and Cornerstone Retaining Walls have worked on a huge number of projects that range in size from small residential jobs under 200 ft² (20 m²) to a massive 36 ft. (11 m) tall tiered wall that he built with Allan Block Abbey Blend. One of the reasons that Clint is able to earn so many projects is that others have seen the excellent work he does on very difficult projects and want the same quality of work on their own walls. Clint also gets several recommendations from engineers who have worked with him in the past and are familiar with his exceptional skills and his great reputation in the industry.

Through the AB Rewards Program, Clint has been rewarded for building Allan Block retaining walls every year since 2011, hitting the Gold Level mark for many of those years. He has also attended AB Contractor Certification Classes that he says, “are a great way to increase his sales since being a certified Allan Block Installer and a Master Wall Builder helps him stand out in the market.” He also finds value in the classes when it comes to training his employees and says that they help his workers see the correct way to install and build Allan Block walls.

Allan Block strives to promote an Always Better approach to retaining walls, and Master Wall Builders like Clint continue to help us with that goal. We at Allan Block are very lucky to work with such great individuals and companies such as Clint and Cornerstone Retaining Walls. Clint, we cannot thank you enough for everything that you have done and continue to do.

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Allan Block Corporation
7424 W. 78th Street, Bloomington, MN 55439
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