The American Concrete Institute (ACI) and Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) introduced a new Adhesive Anchor Installer Certification program late in 2011. It is in response to the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recommendations from its investigation of the 2006 Central Artery/Tunnel Project in Boston, Mass., or the “Big Dig.” Failure of a group of adhesive anchors caused a section of the tunnel’s concrete ceiling to collapse, killing a motorist and injuring another.
After the Big Dig tunnel collapse, the NTSB recommended to ACI that it use its building codes, forums, educational materials and publications to educate the industry about proper installation of adhesive anchors under sustained tensile-load applications. In an effort to satisfy those requests, ACI and CRSI worked with the Concrete Anchor Manufacturers Association (CAMA) and leading manufacturers of adhesive anchors, including Hilti, ITW-Red Head, Powers Fasteners and Simpson Strong-Tie, to develop the certification program.
The Adhesive Anchor Installer Certification requirement is included in the new ACI 318 Building Code, part of the 2012 International Building Code. As jurisdictions adopt the 2012 IBC, which for the most part will take place over the next 6 to 18 months, contractors will be required to meet the necessary certification in regard to anchor installations.
When is a certified installer necessary?
Not all adhesive anchor installations require a certified installer. Certification is required for anchorages in sustained tension loading conditions and installation orientations from horizontal to vertically upward.
“The majority of adhesive anchors are installed in the vertical down direction, such as a floor. For those installations, certification is not required,” says Chris La Vine, senior engineer with Simpson Strong-Tie. La Vine clarifies the installations where certification would be necessary, “Primarily anything installed overhead (vertical up) carries a sustained load. Another example would be where anchors are installed into a wall to fasten a ledger; those anchors may carry some sustained loads. These are the types of installations where installer certification is required.”
Currently there are no certification requirements for mechanical anchor installations.
What contractors learn in the certification class
The Adhesive Anchor Installer Certification is offered through the ACI/CRSI program and its Sponsoring Groups (SGs). According to John Nehasil, ACI managing director of certification and chapters, as of May 2012, 15 SGs offer the program, four more are scheduled for orientation by the end of June and another 22 have signed up for future orientation.
The certification test consists of a 75-question written exam and a performance exam that requires students can read, comprehend and execute a generic Manufacturer’s Printed Installation Instructions (MPII) for the installation of an adhesive anchor in the vertical down position and in an overhead position through a blind install. “If an examinee fails the written and passes the performance, he or she will need to retake the written portion only,” Nehasil explains. “The performance exam is in two parts; if either of the two parts is failed, the examinee only needs to retake the part failed. Retesting and passing must take place within 1 year of the written exam or performance part passed.”
As of May 2012, installers representing seven contractors have been certified through the program. Nehasil states, “Many Sponsoring Groups have been waiting to conduct the program until a workbook becomes available. The ACI Education Department, again in cooperation with industry experts, is completing this critical component for availability by the end of June 2012. ACI is also in the process of producing a video as a companion to the workbook, which is designed to illustrate the performance examination and provide visual clarity to installers participating in the certification program.”