This is an archived newsletter. Click to learn what RetainPro can do for you..

Spring 2009
Dear Colleague:

Yes, we know. This "spring" newsletter is already two weeks into summer - we've been delayed preparing our Annual User Survey...

About our newsletters

For those of you that have recently joined us, these quarterly newsletters inform you of changes in Retain Pro, announce upgrades, suggest more effective use of our software, and present important technical topics..

Previous newsletters - this is our 14th - can all be read and printed from our home page, Click on NEWSLETTERS. There is valuable information in them, particularly the Technical Topics sections.

How's the economy affecting you?

"Ouch" is the consensus from over half of you who responded to our home-page survey. To see how you're doing now, we reset the responses back to zero two months ago to update your outlook for the remainder of 2009. The four questions for how your firm foresees the remainder of 2009 are shown below, with results as of July 6th, 2009.

The just-ended survey gave the following results:
More work13%
About the same as 200811%
Significantly less than 200830%
Drastically less46%

Not a pretty picture for most, but almost 25% report more or about the same work as '08. Our sales are down too, but many new users are joining us every week since we are in the business of saving you time (= $$$$).

Technical Topics

Release 2007R The latest release is 2007-R. Changes are noted on our Support page under Maintenance Announcements. Note that on the Options screen under Use of Vertical Component of Active Pressure, we deleted the option to use this to increase sliding resistance or reduce soil pressure, but retained the option for increasing overturning resistance. Most texts and our geotechnical consultant advise using this added vertical force only for increasing overturning resistance. Also deleted use of vertical component for level backfill slopes and seismic forces.

Overturning ratios clarified in IBC '09 When we're combining seismic, we accept 1.1 as an acceptable overturning safety factor for overturning and sliding (1.5 / 1.33 ~ 1.1). Now it's in IBC '09, 1807.2.3.

Clarification of masonry inspection requirements. We're still getting questions why "Use full stresses" has been deleted as an option for masonry stems. The reason is that the old "half stress" option ceased with the demise of UBC '97. Full stresses are now the default and inspection requirements are on Table 1704.5.1 (for non-essential facilities) in IBC '09.

Seismic design for low retaining walls continues to be required for most code jurisdictions. (you know our stand on this from previous newsletters). We encourage you to show your jurisdictions the policies enacted by the City and County of Los Angeles (high seismic areas!). They're quoted in our Fall, 2008 Newsletter, and some restrictions do apply. This may help you promote a policy change.

Mac users seem to be increasingly using Retain Pro and finding software to enable a seamless use. For more info do a Google search for "PC on Mac" (with and without the quotes).

SRW vendors wanted! If you're designing a segmental retaining wall and your vendor-of-choice is not in our database, let us know their web site or where we can find their authenticated design data, preferable an ICC-ES report. Then we can add them. For information about these reports see

Past Technical Topics are as timely now as then. To make them easier to find and re-read (rather than searching the archive on our home page) we're preparing a Compendium of Technical Topics which we will be posting on our home page. This should be available mid-August.

We're looking for consultants

Retain Pro retains consultants with various specialties to assist us with feature development, checking, reviewing, and technical support. If you have a specific expertise relating to earth retaining structures and would like periodic consulting for us (geotechnical, specific wall types, structural design, AASHTO, code matters, etc.), you can email us at

Getting fast technical support

For best response, email your question to Always include your registration number (RP-xxxxxxx) so we can access your information and route you to the proper person. If you call for tech support (949-721-4099) and need to leave a message please give your phone number and registration number at the beginning of the message - we sometimes have to listen to a long message several times to decipher a hasty phone number left at the end of a long message.

Coming soon: New 8th edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design

This popular reference is being is thoroughly revised and updated throughout, covering new topics and adding more design examples. It's planned to be ready in August and will be announced in the next newsletter and on our web site.

Suggestions and comments.

If you have suggestions, comments, or a technical item to contribute, we want to hear from you. Email me at

With best wishes,

Hugh Brooks, PE, SE
Retain Pro Software

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.

Retain Pro Software div. HBA Publications, Inc. PO Box 826 Corona del Mar CA 92626 949-721-4099
© 2009 HBA Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.