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Quarterly Newsletter - Winter 2011
Dear Colleague:

We value each of you and hope Retain Pro is making your retaining wall designs easier - and reliable. And that these newsletters (this is our 21st!) are effectively keeping you posted on enhancements we make with each new release.

The latest release for Retain Pro 9 is 9.20 - available now.

This release (free to Retain Pro 9 users) is now available via AutoUpdate or downloadable from and includes these additions:

  1. The building code selection now includes the 2010 edition of the California Building Code (CBC '10).
Retain Pro 2007 renewal notice

If you're using version 2007 you need to renew your license to Retain Pro 9!  Allow us to continue serving you with technical support, these newsletters, and periodic updates for code changes and program enhancements. For a list of new features in version 9 see The cost to renew is $195 until March 15th. To order, just select that option at You will receive an email receipt with your new Product Activation Code and instructions for downloading Retain Pro 9. You can have it up and running in five minutes! If your budget is tight just choose "two-pay" on the online order form and pay $99 then $99 in 60 days.

  1. Now includes compliance with new code section 1807.2.1 (in both the IBC '09 and CBC '10) which requires a significantly increased lateral force when a key is used to resist sliding (more on this under Tech Topics below).
  2. An option to resize and reposition the CalcTrac screen so it can be viewed alongside the Summary results.
  3. The often overlooked Sigma Icon (Σ) has been replaced by a more prominent icon "Quick Calcs". Clicking this gives 16 template equations for quickly calculating often-used earth retention equations. This is a handy tool for checking! And now includes a fast way to determine the kh seismic factor used in the Mononobe-Okabe equation for seismic design.

For a history of all previous releases see Retain Pro 9 Advisor on our home page.

Some building codes are now available online

We reported this in the last newsletter but should be repeated: Some U.S. courts have ruled that if building codes are mandated the public is entitled to free access. Here is the link for regional codes:

Errata for IBC '09 and supplements to the 2010 California Building Code are available on this link:

For Plan Review Agencies

If you have requested and received a complimentary copy of Retain Pro 9 (available free for all plan review agencies) and find a code requirement we have overlooked, let us know so we can add it in the next release.

Economy Survey on our home page

To know how your peers are doing you can vote your own status then view the results. There are signs construction is improving - slowly. We all hope for a better 2011!

Technical Topics

  1. When using a key to increase sliding resistance, both IBC '09 and the 2010 California Building Code have added Section 1807.2.1 which reads: "When a keyway is extended below the wall base with the intent to engage passive pressure and enhance sliding stability, lateral soil pressure on both sides of the keyway shall be considered in the sliding analysis". This means the lateral force must be calculated to the bottom of the key rather than the bottom of the footing. This can significantly increase lateral force and require design modifications. Provision for this is provided in Retain Pro 9 release 9.20. This requirement does not affect overturning which is still calculated about the base of the footing.
  2. "Internal Error 76704" message. If you got this pop-up message just ignore it - it's an error on our end. It will automatically stop when you upgrade to 9.20.
  3. As stated above, determining the seismic kh factor to enter for seismic design is much easier now by using the links and calculator in our new Quick Calc equation menu which is now on the tool bar.

Suggestions or comments?

Send them to me at



Hugh Brooks, P.E., S.E.
Retain Pro Software

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