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Fall 2006

Dear Colleague:

Retain Pro 2007 is now available!
We think you'll like what you see -- and the demo is ready.

There's much new and improved, but the headliners are:

  • Segmental wall design (SRWs). We make it easy to design these tedious-by-hand-calc walls. Just select from many vendors and their data is automatically inserted, then enter your criteria and adjust the design in minutes to suit your needs. It makes an intimidating task just a matter of minutes. Does either gravity walls or with geogrids. Follows guidelines in NCMA's Design Manual for Segmental Retaining Walls and Segmental Retaining Walls - Seismic Design Manual.

    Input screen for SRW with geogrids (click to enlarge)

  • Now design masonry walls with either Allowable Stress Design (ASD) or Load Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) - just click your choice.

  • Options for design of retention pond walls.

  • A unique new Equation Menu for quick-solving a variety of complex equations related to retaining structures. Just click the ∑ icon on the task bar and choose. They're all inside Retain Pro but sometimes you'd like to check our work or get a quick answer for another application. You'll especially like the concrete beam design equation to help with counterfort walls and concrete filled pilaster cells - and the quick solutions to pole/trench embedment equations.

  • And there's more coming with Retain Pro's AutoUpdate feature where we alert you of free downloads of additional features (such as pile foundations coming early next year).

If you pre-ordered you will shortly receive an email with download instructions and your new Product Activation Code (PAC). The User's Manual for version 2007 will follow by mail.

Until 12/31/06 you can upgrade from version 2005 for just $95, whether from a small office license or site license. And for new users just $395 ($595 for a site license).

PLUS: all orders before year-end will also receive a complimentary copy of the new 7th edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design - expanded for more topics in more detail - and extensive coverage of segmental walls!

Ordering is easy, just click here, and download delivery to your desktop is a matter of minutes (credit cards orders, or upon receipt of payment).

Our web site monthly design topic

Last month it was Design of Segmental Retaining Walls. We're repeating it this month since it's timely with the release of Retain Pro 2007. A good overview!

Basics of Retaining Wall Design, 7th Edition

The new seventh edition of this popular reference will be available in early January. Most topics have been expanded and updated, including extensive coverage of the design of segmental retaining walls, counterfort walls, and drilled-pier and pile foundations. Seismic design is updated. Design examples have been added, including segmental retaining walls. And until 12-31-06 it's free with every order!

Technical Issues...

Seismic design of segmental retaining walls
In high seismic risk areas, the seismic factor kh recommend in NCMA's Segmental Retaining Walls - Seismic Design Manual, is (1.45 - A)A, where A is the peak ground acceleration. (This is for MSE walls - for pure gravity walls kh recommended is A/2). In my area of southern California, where the PGA is about 0.5, this results in kh = 0.48. Understandably this exerts a huge force to design for. The NCMA manual does, however, conclude with the statement that the selection of kh should also be based upon local experience and applicable building codes. An alternative method widely accepted in the southern California area is to consider that MSE walls are also classified as over-steepened slopes, and therefore the maximum kh for these conditions is limited to 0.15g as in the pseudo-static analysis of slopes. Ultimately, it is the judgment of the engineer-of-record, consistent with building department requirements.

Quick source for seismic design criteria
Here are two web sites (you may already have them bookmarked) to get IBC Hazard Maps design criteria by just entering the project zip code or latitude/longitude (the latter more accurate).

For 1996 values by zip code:

For 2002 values by lat/lon :

And speaking of web sites...
We all have our favorites. Some are not well known but excellent technical resources. We'll be posting some on our website soon, where you can click on Tech Links to access them. Have a good one you'd like to share? Let us know.

Improved Product Activation Code (PAC)

For version 2007 we have an easier PAC system. It's 16 digits, but not case sensitive and we've avoided the confusing "I"s and "O"s.

Why we've stopped sending CDs

As our newest users are aware, we no longer provide CDs. They're becoming antiquated with the ease of downloading from the Internet. It's easier for us and easier for you. And it allows activation right after ordering.

Licensing clarification, once again...

We're still getting calls for clarification on our licensing policy. Our "Small office license" is for the 80% of our users who are smaller offices. It allows you to install (using your PAC) on up to four office/home/laptop computers, but only one simultaneous user is allowed. The "Site license" is for large offices installing on a server with unlimited access by any number of engineers, but at one physical site.

Missed a previous newsletter?

If you missed a previous newsletter, they are all posted on our home page. In them you'll find important technical issues and we urge you to read them.

Suggestions and comments.

With the addition of our major new feature for the design of segmental retaining walls, we know we will have missed some vendors and there will be enhancements you'd like us to add. We will await your comments and suggestions and add them via our AutoUpdate feature. Email me at

With best wishes for the holidays, and a great 2007!


Hugh Brooks, SE
Retain Pro Software

Version 2005 users: Until 12-31-06 you can upgrade to version 2007 for just $95, whether from a small office license or site license. And receive a free copy of the 7th edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design (purchased separately: $65). To order, click on Upgrade from 2005 at

P.S. You are receiving this email because you are a Retain Pro user or have downloaded a demo and asked to be on our email list. This email list is for our use only to provide you with information, but if you do not want to receive future copies just email me at and on the subject line type
"Cancel", and don't forget to include your company name and email address where you received this.

© 2006 HBA Publications. All Rights Reserved.