ETA approved anchor BS 8539 guidance

In the fourth episode of our soundout series, Stevan discusses the importance of understanding anchor approvals and why specifying an ETA (European Technical Assessment) approved anchor can help the supply chain ensure the correct anchor reaches site.

BS 8539 recommends that when an ETA-approved anchor is available, it should be selected. The guidelines also state that all safety-critical fixings should have an ETA relevant to the application they are being used in.

What does ETA stand for?

ETA stands for European technical assessment. The ETA is a set of harmonised standards that tests the performance of an anchor. With an ETA-approved anchor, a specifier can compare the product performance of one anchor to another and will know its true performance.

What type of testing is carried out?

The ETA carries out independent performance tests. They test the anchors in various substrates, various loads, various embedment depths, oversized holes, undersized holes it’s quite a rigorous and onerous testing regime.

Other examples of tests carried out by the ETA include:

  • Over-torque the anchor
  • Fixing it close to the edge
  • Testing anchors on various different substrates
  • Undersized or oversized holes
  • A specific substrate test can be carried out, matching the on-site application

What does the ETA testing tell us?

The ETA carries out independent testing on a particular anchor for a particular substrate. The ETA uses the mean value of a set of test results providing an accurate ETA loading specification.

Every ETA approved anchor comes with a report which contains;

  • Manufacturers details including plant/part number
  • Product name and intended use
  • Details of the assessment programme
  • Installation instructions
  • ETA assessment number
  • The performance of the anchor within a specific application
  • The control task of the manufacturer, depending on the relevant AVCP systems

What are the overall benefits of specifying an ETA approved anchor

  • Comply with the recommendations of BS 8539 safeguarding the liabilities of the parties involved
  • Performance values provided by the manufacturer can be consistently relied upon
  • All parties to the construction process can be confident in the long-term security of the fixings
  • Site testing is not required for an ETA anchor where the manufacturer provides data for the substrate in question and the installation is undertaken by competent operatives under supervision

Why are ETA’s beneficial to the manufacturer?
From a manufacturer’s point of view if an anchor goes through rigorous testing and the performance data is independent – it is reliable.

Why are ETA’s beneficial to the contractor?
For contractors, an ETA provides trust and assurance that the anchors specified on-site work to a specific performance standard. It is advised that all anchors used for suspending services from concrete ceilings need to have an ETA that covers cracked concrete.

Why are ETA’s important for an installer/designer?
For a designer or an installer an ETA verification can help them specify and install the right anchor as there is clear data to refer to. If the installation conditions are as per the ETA test, then that is a guarantee that the fixing will achieve that load value.

Can I trust an anchor that does not have an ETA approval?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this, because you are relying upon the manufacturer’s in-house performance tests and not an independent third party.

Without an ETA anchor, it is unclear whether or not it will withstand the load, we have seen in the past what can happen when an anchor installation failure occurs.

The CFA (Construction Fixings Association) highlights two case studies showing the damaging effects of anchor installation failure – 

CFA Case Study 1 

CFA Case Study 2 

Where can I find out further information?

BS 8539 guidance
  • Selecting the correct anchor
  • Supply – helps to ensure that the correctly selected anchor reaches the site
  • Install – it guides us in the installation of the anchor
  • Test – how do we test that the installation is correct

MIDFIX are experts in onsite and offsite supports for the mechanical and electrical industries, delivered through design, engineering, fabrication, and industry training.

Where can I order ETA approved anchors?

Take me to ETA approved anchors

Want to know more?
How do I select an anchor - BS8539 guidance
Why do anchors fail?

Contact MIDFIX for expert advise on Fixings and Anchors –

0115 922 1585
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