ACI Adhesive Anchor certification fulfills tunnel tragedy-rooted NTSB request

Responding to an unusual National Transportation Safety Board cue, American Concrete Institute will launch the Adhesive Anchor Installer Certification in early summer, just ahead of the ACI 318-11 Building Code Requirements release.

The program was developed after NTSB determined that adhesive anchor failure in a Boston tunnel led to the collapse of precast concrete panels resulting in a motorist’s death. The panels were part of a suspended ceiling in an Interstate 90 connector tunnel built during the 15-year Big Dig project. In a report on the July 2006 accident, NTSB asked ACI to use its “building codes, forums, educational materials, and publications to inform design and construction agencies of the potential for gradual deformation in anchor adhesives under sustained tensile-load applications.”

ACI teamed with the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute to develop the Adhesive Anchor Installer Certification. Engineers recognize adhesive anchors as important structural connections in many conditions, measuring performance by bond strength between adhesive and concrete and adhesive and anchor, ACI notes. Adhesive anchor manufacturers have developed installation procedures for their specific products that when followed, are intended to provide the proper conditions for the anchor system to achieve that required bond strength.

ACI and CRSI assembled a Subject Matter Experts group to identify Adhesive Anchor Installer certification criteria, concluding that candidates a) be able to read, comprehend, and execute manufacturer instructions to properly install adhesive anchors; and b) possess knowledge to properly assess ambient conditions, the condition of the concrete, materials, equipment, and tools for installing adhesive anchors and determine when it is appropriate to proceed with an installation or when additional supervisor/foreman/project engineer guidance is needed.

“There are many different variables to consider when installing adhesive anchors,” said ACI Managing Director of Certification Programs John Nehasil. “From understanding jobsite conditions and manufacturers’ instructions to recognizing time limits of the adhesive and proper selection and assembly of equipment, installing adhesive anchors properly involves awareness of the variables and skill in executing instructions. The ACI/CRSI Adhesive Anchor Installer Certification program is designed to verify that candidates possess these qualities.”

Knowing that Adhesive Anchor Installer Certification will be required in this summer’s 2011 update of ACI 318, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary, ACI and CRSI have completed the following:

  • Development of a 75-question written examination covering information on adhesive concrete anchor installation in regards to preparing for installation, drilling anchor holes, cleaning anchor holes, injecting adhesive using cartridge systems, installing adhesive capsule systems, and installing anchors. The exam was vetted in December 2010, under the direction of Professional Testing Services, Orlando.
  • Creation of a “Generic Manufacturers Printed Installation Instructions.” Working with the Concrete Anchor Manufacturers Association (CAMA), a generic set of installation instructions was developed for use with the performance portion of the certification program.
  • Development of the performance exam portion of the program. Certification candidates must be able to read, comprehend, and execute the Generic Manufacturers Printed Installation Instructions for anchor installation in a vertical-down position; and, demonstrate ability to inject adhesive to the proper depth into simulated holes in an overhead (vertical-up) position with both a rigid applicator tip and flexible stinger end with piston plug in a manner that produces results meeting program requirements.

ACI and CRSI completed two pilot programs earlier this year with a total of 35 participants taking both the written and performance examinations. ACI and CRSI are finalizing a study package and Adhesive Anchor Installer documents, while assisting Local Sponsoring Groups that offer ACI certifications around the world with program start-up. The groups plan to start the development of a training program to accompany the examination portion. Additional information on Adhesive Anchor Installer and other ACI certification programs can be obtained by visiting