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A guide to scaffold anchor testing

December 19th, 2019

Scaffold anchor testing is an essential aspect to any scaffolding project, and one that must be carefully considered in line with NASC Technical Guidance TG4:19, Anchorage Systems for Scaffolding.

scaffolding anchors

What type of anchor test?

Scaffold anchor tests are carried out for two purposes. The first is preliminary testing which is used to determine how suitable a fixing is within the base material of a scaffolding structure, as well as to establish loading capability. This type of test is essential when the anchor manufacturer is unable to provide loading data. In addition to this, ‘proof’ tests must be carried out on a pre-determined number of installed anchors, as scaffold erection progresses, and this is to ensure that the anchors are up to the job that will be required of them.

Why do you need to test anchors?

Anchors are a crucial component of many scaffolding structures, and play an integral part in ensuring that a scaffold remains stable. For this reason, it is imperative that they are appropriately installed and fit for purpose.

Who should carry out testing?

Anchor testing should be carried out by a competent person and this should preferably be someone other than the individual that installed them. This person may be a colleague of the installer, who also works for the scaffolding supplier, or a third-party inspector. In our experience, third party inspections can often be more effective at detecting faults in anchors as this is their sole duty on site.

Inspection of anchors

Inspection of anchors should be carried out regularly and it is good practice to include this in the scaffold inspection regime – this means that if a scaffold requires re-inspecting after an event that may impact its stability (i.e. adverse weather or vehicular impact, etc), then so does the anchor.

Inspections should include a visual inspection of the anchor and surrounding structure

for any deformation, damage, rust seeping from the junction between fixture and substrate and cracks in substrate or mortar joints.

Inspection results should be recorded as an appendix to the scaffold inspection report, as a matter of good practice.

Anchor testing services

Here at SIMIAN we have many years’ experience in providing independent onsite anchor testing services for our clients throughout the UK. This service includes:

  • Preliminary testing
  • Anchor selection advice
  • Proof testing
  • Comprehensive test reporting

If you are looking to outsource your anchor testing requirements to an expert third party, contact the SIMIAN team today on 0345 602 2418 or email hello@simian-risk.com.


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