Under the spotlight: a closer look at the national, mandatory laws regulating the design and installation of concrete fastening and anchoring systems. Last week we briefly examined a mandatory standard called SA TS 101:2015, which was introduced nationally in May 2016, with the intention of boosting safety for construction workers and the public. This standard focuses on the design of concrete anchors, which are used to connect different structural materials. This is quite a complex area, and as such, industry regulation was required. It’s worth getting a refresher about this, since those who fail to comply could face legal action. How does it work? The standard applies to in-cast and post-installed devices in safety-critical areas. This includes expansion fasteners, chemical fasteners, concrete screw fasteners and undercut fasteners. Basically, any safety-critical concrete construction involving fixings or fastenings falls under this new requirement. “Safety-critical” refers to any situation where failure to comply could expose people to danger, cause considerable economic loss or lead to the collapse of a structure. Under the changes, products must be subjected to independent and rigorous assessment to prevent critical failures. The installation of fastening and anchoring systems must be done by an AEFAC trained and qualified installer, complying with the manufacturer’s requirements. Important factors to consider: Is the post-installed fastener safety-critical or not? It’s usually up to the design engineer to determine this. For those in doubt, it’s generally better to err on the side of caution and adopt a safety-critical application. For safety-critical situations, fasteners must be designed for cracked concrete and specifically created by an engineer for the project. It’s not enough for the fixing to have ETA approval, the relevant parties must go one step further and seek specific engineering input or design advice. It’s also ideal to use the same grade of material for the base material and the fastener, if possible, to avoid the risk of combining dissimilar metals that don’t work well together. If you’re looking to purchase fasteners, keep in mind that you may need to source these from European manufacturers that have the correct ETA approvals, since suppliers in Australia don’t tend to have an extensive range that meets the new requirements.
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