Do you have evidence of a compliant installation?
With standards and regulations becoming ever more prevalent within construction industry, protocols around installation must be followed. It is the responsibility of the subcontractor to ensure that protocols are stuck to throughout the lifespan of a construction project. Carrying out best practices is the best way to ensure compliance.
In our latest sound-out Stevan answers the big question:
If challenged, can you demonstrate that the structure you have installed can take the service load applied to it, and that the supports and fixings are fit for purpose?
Why are contractors being asked this question?
With the increasing number of standards, regulation and policy governing the construction industry when failures occur on-site, questions are often directed at the subcontractor’s. If a subcontractor can not prove that best practices have been followed then they may be liable.
Multiple government reports have shown that one of the main drivers for innovation within the construction industry is the need to meet regulatory requirements.
Figure 3.4: Reported main drivers of innovation among broader innovators in construction.
How can subcontractors become compliant?
First and foremost subcontractors must be aware of the British Standards and regulations governing any installation on-site. In this article we will cover BS 8539:2012 Code of Practice for post-installed anchors and fixings into concrete and masonry.
What is BS 8539:2012
The British Standard has been around for nearly decade and sets out the responsibility of each stakeholder within an anchors/fixings supply chain. After several fatalities on construction sites, the CFA acted and amended a previous Irish fixing standard. The CFA concentrated their guidance on four key areas of.
Selection, Supply, Installation, and Testing of anchors/fixings.
If BS 8539:2012 is taken on-board by all stakeholders within a construction project the specifier should be able to confirm the following.
- All anchors on-site have gone through the correct selection criteria.
- All anchors specified have arrived on-site.
- All anchors have been installed to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- All anchors have been correctly tested.
We have created an easy-to-read table which outlines the responsibilities of each of the stakeholders as outlined by BS 8539:2012.
|Role||What BS 8539 states|
Design the complete building which means they have access to all of the information incl. load rating and the substrate. In the M&E industry it is very rare that the designer is the specifier.
The designer should outline the anchor/fixing, drawing on the manufacturer’s description and part code so that the supplier can select the correct anchor.
When selecting an anchor, the following should be considered (which we will go into in more detail later):
· The substrate that the anchor is being fixed into; cracked/uncracked concrete, block, brick, timber etc. (Clause 5)
· Can the anchor sustain the load bearing of the application?
· Environment of the anchor. Will it be outside, inside, humid or not and what finish is suitable? From carbon steel to zinc-plated to stainless steel, to high corrosion resistant materials.
· Type of installation – flush-fixed or through fixing.
· Type of anchor – torque-controlled, deformation-controlled, undercut or resin.
· Approvals – does the anchor meet the ETA approval?
According to BS 8539, any individual within the supply chain of an anchor can be referred to as a ‘specifier’. They select the anchor/fixing.
· The make, type, ETA number, size and manufacturer reference/order number
· Instructions for installation
· Guidance for the installer on what to do if reinforcement is hit when drilling
Employs the installers onsite. It is their responsibility to ensure installers are trained.
A compliant contractor should provide the correct anchor as specified. If changing this specification, they should carry out the due diligence to ensure that clause 10 of the change of management procedure is followed. If the contractor has seen that the anchor specified is not the correct one, they should inform the original specifier. The contractor should install the anchor to the manufacturer’s specifications (or training).
Those that manufacture the anchor/fixing.
The manufacturer should provide:
· All information for the specifier to select the correct anchor;
· Technical catalogues and software;
· Installation instructions for the installer;
· Recommended resistance (or appropriate safety factor to allow calculation);
· Setting details including min. thickness of base material, edge and spacing criteria;
· Installation instructions and equipment needed.
Those that supply the anchor on site
The supplier should provide:
· Provide the anchor as specified, unless a specific change management procedure has
· Take the opportunity to ensure all associated setting equipment is offered to the contractor such as drill bits, hole cleaning equipment, setting tools, torque wrench etc., so that the installer can install anchors correctly;
· Provide installation training or facilitate this being provided by the manufacturer;
· Provide guidance in anchor selection;
· Ensure the change management procedure is adhered to if asked for alternatives
Individuals that install a fixing/anchor into a substrate onsite
BS 8539:2012 states that anchors should be installed and supervised by competent individuals. BS 8539 defines competent as:
“Suitably trained and qualified by knowledge and practical experience, and provided with the necessary instructions, to enable the required task(s) to be carried out correctly”.
When the anchor is originally supplied to site, the installer should look at the setting tools (e.g. torque wrench, torque specification and set the torque up correctly). The drill diameter, drill depth, recommended torque value and load bearing should also be taken into consideration.
Usually, a manufacturer or distributor that tests the anchor after installation, as requested by the contractor.
BS 8539:2012 states that testing is not required if an ETA anchor has been used, installed and supervised by competent individuals. This means:
· Anybody carrying out a site test should be qualified by the CFA.
· Proof testing or allowable load testing CFA guidelines should be followed.
· Correct reporting procedures as per CFA guidelines should be followed.
It is the responsibility of the subcontractor to ensure all protocols are followed and if failures occur that evidence is provided to show compliant installation.
Further readingWhy do I need an ETA-approved anchor? How do I test anchors? How do I avoid anchor installation errors? What is the purpose of BS 8539:2012
How can MIDFIX help?
MIDFIX have created an easy-to-read fixing policy outlining our services. MIDFIX provide a comprehensive offering ensuring fixing/anchor requirements are covered and in-line with BS 8539 Code of Practice.
Our experienced CFA-trained team can select, supply, install and test anchors on-site, our fixing policy has been specified by a multitude of UK-leading construction firms looking to ensure consistent service, technical expertise and compliant installation.