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Concerns About Incorrect Design and Installation of Concrete Metal Anchors in Structures

concrete metal anchors

Bad practice with concrete metal anchors showing an anchor missing, and anchors protruding from the wall, meaning that either the wrong anchors have been used or they have not been drilled far enough into the wall, therefore, the fitting will not be able to carry the intended load.

Precast concrete suppliers have raised concerns regarding the incorrect design and installation of metal anchors in building structures.

Incidents have occurred in the recent past involving the inadequate fixing of steel angles with anchors to in situ concrete walls, according to the Irish Concrete Federation (ICF). These steel angles perform an important role in supporting a precast unit, such as precast stairs, landings and floors in buildings.

Builder’s Responsiblities

In most cases, the builder is responsible for the supply and installation of these steel angles and anchors. If the correct anchors are not used, or there is not adequate supervision and management of the installation process, the fixing could fail, potentially resulting in a collapse of the precast element.

“The competency of the anchor bolt installation crew is critical because incorrectly fitted anchors are extremely difficult to identify before the installation of precast elements,” warns Gerry Farrell, CEO, ICF. “This is because, once installed, it is impossible to determine the embedment depth of the anchors in the concrete wall. Therefore, the site management team must ensure that the anchor bolt installation crew are competent in carrying out their duties. Training on the correct installation of anchor bolts is available from suppliers of anchor bolts. Safety audits on construction sites should encompass the correct design and installation of anchors.”

Serious Accident Prevention

To prevent a serious accident occurring, it is essential to ensure that all anchors are correctly designed and installed for the required loads. In 2017, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) published an amended code of practice entitled Code of Practice for the Design and Installation of Anchors, in accordance with Section 60 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. This code of practice aims to provide practical guidance to designers, specifiers and installers of metal anchors on the requirements and prohibitions set out in the relevant statutory provisions. The code of practice came into operation on 1st May 2017.

The code of practice, which is available on the HSA’s website, contains examples of the recommended forms for the design and installation of anchors. These forms, FM 01, FM02 and FM03, should be completed and available when the anchor installation is completed and before the precast elements have been installed.