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Fall 2009
Dear Colleague:

For those of you who have recently joined us, these quarterly newsletters - this is our 15th - are to keep you informed about what we are doing and offer suggestions for better use of Retain Pro. The Technical Topics section of each newsletter offers helpful design information and you can access all previous copies archived on our home page - click on NEWSLETTERS.

Retain Pro 9 report

Retain Pro 9 has now been out nearly three months and most version 2007 users have upgraded, and many new users have joined us. For a depressed economy our sales have been very good and from your feedback, you like the new features and enhancements.

If you haven't upgraded from version 2007 the $129 offer is good to 01/04/10. A better deal is the "bundle" package for $149 which also includes the new 8th edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design, a comprehensive refresher and companion to Retain Pro. See the last page of this newsletter for contents or visit

A list of what's new in Retain Pro 9 is on the last page. You can order online at and download is immediate.

Any major upgrade will inevitably have some initial glitches. When reported we fix them as soon as we can and issue a new release. The current release is 9.03 which you can get via AutoUpdate or from A list of what's changed is under Retain Pro 9 Advisor on our home page - check it often for any new notices.

Easier Installation

We've changed to a simpler license management system that eliminates the need to enter an Installation Code - just enter your PAC. It will eliminate installation problems with aberrant messages and "already in use" messages. If you have been having any installation difficulties just download release 9.03 and they should be ended. New installation instructions are on our support page.

Contacting us

For technical support email us at Always include your registration number (RP-xxxxxxx) so we can better assist.

For general information or purchase questions, email us at

Occasionally we inadvertently delete an email or otherwise lose it. If we do not respond within three business days please resend!

You can also phone us at 949-721-4099 with a brief message and please give your phone number first! Our fax number is 949-721-4098.

Your email address

If you received this newsletter we have your current email address. Let us know if you change it, or if it should go to another person. It's easy to change at About 10% of these newsletters will be returned since an email address was changed and we were not informed - you could then miss important email announcements, and these newsletters.

Plan review agencies

Free copies of Retain Pro 9 will be offered to qualified city, county, state, and federal plan review agencies beginning January 11th. This will assist building departments and others to check retaining wall designs, and help our users obtain approvals. We now have over 200 such agencies who have purchased Retain Pro. They can upgrade free, and if your local building department or plan review agency would like a free copy, ask them to click on this order option on our home page (on or after January 11th).

Segmental wall (SRW) vendors

We get requests to add vendors to our database. The advantage to them is a quick and easy way for our users to design using their products. We will accept any recognized vendor who can furnish us their test data (preferably an ICC-ES Report) and block descriptions. There is a small setup fee. They can contact

Technical Topics

Lap lengths in masonry. Many are not aware that the onerous lap length requirement in MSJC has been rescinded in IBC '09, 2107.3, now requiring ld = 0.002dbfs. This is 48 bar diameters for fs = 24,000 psi.

We still get questions asking why the "Use full stresses" checkbox was removed. The answer is that this applied to the half-stress option in UBC '97, which is now history. Use full stresses is the default. See IBC '09 Tables 1704.1,3 for inspection requirements.

The little Sigma icon Σ on the tool bar can be a quick-and-easy way to solve a dozen often used equations relating to retaining structures. Check it out.

For brushing up on soil mechanics, seismic design, and design procedures for nearly every type of retaining structure we urge you to purchase our new 8th edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design. Its 217 pages also includes 14 varied design examples. For contents and ordering: It's also included in our "bundle" upgrade offer.

For more than 100 Technical Topics in past newsletters, you can browse them all by clicking on NEWSLETTERS on our home page - lots of helpful tips and information.

Interested in Partnering?

We are looking for a part- or full-time consultant to help with our growing business to handle technical support, software testing, new-feature development, and general technical management. Must be a PE (SE preferred) and thoroughly familiar with Retain Pro, preferably a long term user. Primarily structural but geotechnical background desirable. Work from your office. We'll offer an attractive fee arrangement and possible equity option. Excellent written and verbal communicator! If interested email for more information.

The economy

The reports we get from our users are mixed. Many report that they are busy as ever, particularly those in "niche" markets. One user reported that Retain Pro was his biggest income producer, attributing it to over $100,000 in additional fees - that's a lot of retaining structures (we love comments like that!). Many report doing well with government funded projects. A friend doing engineering for home remodels is as busy as he wants to be. But for many the mood is somber and survival. Particularly for those in the home building segment. And fee competition approaches vicious as most of you are aware. Our sales are down, but relatively strong since investing in software saves time. And time is money. In January we will again have an online survey of how all of your are doing and predict for 2010. It will be interesting.

With our best wishes for your holidays,


Hugh Brooks, PE, SE
Retain Pro Software

2007 Users: To order your upgrade to Retain Pro 9 from your current license for just $129 click HERE. Bundle your order with the new 8th. Edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design for $149. plus s/h. ORDER NOW

Here's what's new...

  • Soldier pile shoring walls
    Enter all criteria and this module computes max. bending in beams and lagging and computes embedment depth required.
  • Gabion & large block multi-wythe SRWs
    Design rock-filled wire basket gabion gravity walls. Also multi-block depth stacked large block segmental walls.
  • Building code updates
    All Current codes: IBC '09, ACI '08, ASCE 7-05, CBC '07, MSJC '08, AASHTO LRFD.
  • Added seismic design options
    New entry option for geotechnical report presented in differing format.
  • AASHTO LRFD added
    Now revised for latest LRFD requirements.
  • Now apply wind or seismic in either direction
    Reversing load direction makes easier checking for most critical condition.
  • F1 Total Help
    Press F1 from any screen for explanation of all entries. Also access all topics in user's manual and 14 design examples.
  • New Design Status control panel
    This "dashboard" alerts you of problems and suggests remedies.
  • More equations in Equation Menu
    Added allowable moment for masonry Sections, both ASD and LRFD.
  • Revised report printout
    New aesthetics and with thumbnail sketch of design for easier reference.
  • New User's Manual & design examples
    Now over 200 pages of instructions, including new and updated design examples. Also available from F1.
  • New footing option for restrained walls
    Automatically check stem-footing interface for uniform soil bearing.
  • Free technical support and updates
    until 01/01/11.
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.
© 2009 HBA Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.