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

Summer 2009
Dear Colleague:

We've been working on it for nearly a year, and now...

Retain Pro 9 is available

This is a major upgrade and will replace version 2007 which is now nearly three years old. Retain Pro 9 contains new features and improvements throughout - most requested by you. See "what's new" below.

Our upgrades are always optional, but we think you'll like what we've added.

All Version 2007 users can upgrade your current license
for just $99 until 10/31/09

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.

And as Willie Mays would say: "There's more" ...

The new 8th edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design coming October 14th.

This new edition is thoroughly revised and updated throughout, covers more topics, and adds more design examples. For more information and contents click here.

And version 2007 users can bundle the new 8th. Edition with their upgrade order - both for $149 + s/h for book..

User survey results

Our thanks to the nearly 400 of you who responded. Some results:
  • Slightly over 50% reported being one- and two- person offices! 3% were over 100 firms.
  • 67% were structural firms; 21% civil; the remaining governmental and geotechnical firms.
  • 82% reported no installation problems; 11% had some difficulty; and 7% needed our assistance.
  • 77% design 12 or more retaining walls per year.
  • 94% reported no unresolved issues with accuracy.
  • Two features you asked for: multi-wythe stacked large block gravity or gabion walls and soldier pile shoring are now in version 9. You also asked for a counterfort wall module which is being developed.
  • 41% rated us "excellent"; 47% "very good"; 11% "good"; 1% "fair".
Thanks again for your input and the many suggestions received.

Requesting technical support

Free technical support is available free for version 9 and version 2007 users. Version 2007 is no longer available for purchase, but 2007 users can download when needed from

When emailing, describe your problem briefly and you must include your registration number (RP-xxxxxxx). If you have an urgent matter you can call us at 949-721-4099, and please give your phone number at the beginning of your message!

Price increases

For new users have had to increase our price to $495 from $395 for Single User, 4 activation, licenses, and an incremental increase for other options. We do not have an annual maintenance fee and offer free technical support.

Technical Topics

Notes for version 9.0 . . .
  • If you upgrade from version 2007 to Retain Pro 9, all your 2007 files will be intact. If you edit then they will automatically convert to Retain Pro 9 format. We suggest you not delete your RP2007.exe file if you would want to calculate per version 2007.
  • When using AASHTO LRFD be sure to verify Load Factors applicable depending upon your project's Strength category. Our reference is 2008 Interim Revisions, AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, 4th Edition, 2007.
  • Although seismic design is generally not required for walls retaining less than twelve feet, if your code jurisdiction or the geotechnical report requires it, you now have the option of entering the criteria in the manner often given in these reports: "12*H", where "12" is the designated multiplier to retained height "H", which is applied as a uniform lateral force, This is explained more in the User's Manual. You can also enter the kh factor which will use the M-O equations.
  • Regarding the one-third stress increase, our interpretation of IBC '09 is that it is allowed for masonry (ASD) and soil bearing when load combination includes wind or seismic, per alternate load combinations - IBC 1605.3.2. But always check with your local code jurisdiction.
  • Clicking F1 can not only give you explanations for each screen, but access all topics in the user's manual including the 14 design examples.
  • A forthcoming NCMA recommendation for segmental MSE retaining walls reduces the seismic force applied from the exterior earth mass. This has been implemented in Version 9.0.
  • You will note checkboxes on Lateral Loads for the option of reversing the direction of wind and seismic self-weight forces. Be careful to review for the most critical condition.

We still get questions from version 2007 users 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.

As with any major upgrade - and in spite of beta-testing - problems will be reported to us. We will fix these as quickly as possible and issue an update, identified as release 9.0x. You will be alerted to these by AutoUpdate to assure you are always current.

Upgrades versus Updates

The former refers to a new version, such as Retain Pro 9.0 versus Retain Pro 2007, and the latter refers to a revision to a version, such as release 2007R. Revisions to Retain Pro 9 will be identified by 9.0x.

Revised licensing terminology

Retain Pro 9 is offered in three license option, same as version 2007, but terminology is slightly changed:
  • Single User 4 License allows installation on up to four office/home/laptop computers.
  • Single User 12 License is same as above but with 12 allowed activations.
  • Network License for server installation which can be accessed by up to 25 connected computers.
  • Call us for custom requests

Seeking consultants

We're seeking a part-time consultant with extensive experience with design of segmental gravity and (MSE) retaining walls, for software testing, vendor relations, and technical support.

We're also looking for a dedicated Retain Pro user for part-time consulting to assist with technical support and product testing. Good communicator!

If interested, email me at

iPhone users

You can access tech support and our web site to read newsletters and user's forum posts.

About these newsletters

This is our 14th quarterly newsletter to Retain Pro users, who now number over 4,000. We are gratified by the support you have given us in the many years since version 1.0 was introduced in 1984 - 15 years ago. We pledge to make your retaining wall designs easier, faster, code-compliant, with the features you want -- and to make Retain Pro one of your most productive tools!

Access previous newsletters

All previous issues can be retrieved from our home page by clicking on NEWSLETTERS. There is valuable information in them, particularly the Technical Topics sections.

The online User's Forum

Check this often (link on home page) for any bulletins or announcements we issue. Also post question and topics of general interest. (Technical support questions should be addressed to and not posted on this forum).

Changed email address?

It's the only way we have to contact you. Keep it updated at

New Suggestion Box ("SUGGESTIONS") is on our home page.

This is for general comments and suggestions, and NOT for technical support, which should be addressed to

With best regards,


Hugh Brooks, PE, SE
Retain Pro Software

2007 Users: To order your upgrade to Retain Pro 9 from your current license for just $99 click HERE. Bundle your order with the new 8th. Edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design for $149. plus s/h. ORDER NOW

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© 2009 HBA Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.