Specifier Review
drilling concrete

Safety Critical Fixings – What happens when it goes wrong?

construction fixings

As recently appointed full members of the Construction Fixings Association, EJOT UK is helping to promote the work of the CFA by alerting those involved in the specification and installation of safety critical fixings, to the serious consequences of “getting it wrong”.

We are all familiar with this engineering teaser:

Question: What is the most important component on a car?

Answer: The nut that holds the steering wheel in place!

Take away the humour element, and the reality is exactly the same when you apply this to countless structural scenarios. The somber truth is that life and limb are the ultimate casualties when either the correct specification or installation process fails.

Brian Mack is technical business development manager for EJOT in the UK:

“The selection, installation and certification of construction fixings on any construction project is comparatively small in terms of time and resource when taking the overall project into consideration. Yet, at EJOT we have seen on countless occasions, the results of wrongly specified fixings and the many mistakes that have presented a serious threat to life.


“Incidents such as tunnel collapses, scaffold collapses and ducting/ME failures due to incorrectly specified, installed or set critical fixings can easily be avoided. It is vital that the correct anchoring system is chosen and that it is installed to the manufacturers recommendations; that includes drilling and preparation of the installation hole through to insertion and setting of the anchor. The Code of practice for the selection and installation of post-installed anchors in concrete and masonry, BS 8539:2012, underpins the whole process from design and testing, right through to final installation. It is a valuable document and THE source of reference for safety critical fasteners”.


Established in 1979, the CFA is non-profit making industry-wide body comprising the major manufacturers of construction fixings that have a significant UK presence.

The Association’s work in actively promoting best practice guidance through a range of resources, makes it the leading authority on construction fixings in the UK. The CFA has been instrumental in the development and publishing of BS8539 – a British Standard Code of Practice designed to assist the specification to installation chain, with a thoroughly comprehensive guide to the roles and responsibilities in providing a high quality and safe fixing installation.

Brian Mack continues:

“As a trade association, the CFA is providing education, advice, training and technical support to all functions involved in the provision of safety critical fixings in the industry.  Here at EJOT UK, we are delighted to be now involved with this process”.

In brief, the CFA are currently providing these resources:

For Specifiers: CPD seminars reviewing the design and selection of fixings in line with BS 8539 and current European Technical Approvals.

For Contractors: CPD seminars designed to explain their responsibilities and how to implement these duties under BS 8539. This also looks at creating ‘competent installers and testers’ for projects.

Construction Fixings Association

For Installers: Certified training in the correct installation of all construction fixings to concrete and masonry.

For Testers: Certified training in the correct procedures for testing to the requirements of BS 8539 – both for proof testing and allowable load determination.

For further information about the Construction Fixings Association, its full members and its comprehensive toolkit for BS 8539, visit the Construction Fixings Association website at www.the-cfa.co.uk