Why should you use ETA approved concrete screws?

Published on: 13 October 2020

Anchors are often used in safety-critical applications. But what is a safety-critical application, and how important is it to use ETA approved concrete screw anchors?

The European Technical Approval guidelines define safety-critical applications as being:

“Applications in which the failure of an anchor could result in collapse or partial collapse of a structure, cause risk to human life, or lead to a significant economic loss” anchor failure

Over the past decade or so there have been a number of major installation failures resulting in serious injury and death. The most common reasons these occur are:

  • Incorrect anchor selection
  • Incorrect installation
  • Specification changes

To help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, it is useful to have an understanding of the relevant guidelines such as BS8539:2012 and what ETA approvals are. You can also read our Top tips for installing concrete screws here.

What can happen if fixings fail?

Sadly anchor failures can lead to destruction of installations, damage to buildings and sometimes injury to people.

Failure can occur for a number of reasons including concrete cone failure, anchor pull out, bolt breakage and splitting.

anchor failure

In light of these failures, the CFA introduced a set of guidelines, BS8539:2012 which is a standard Code of Practice for anchors. The overriding message from BS8539:2012 is that ETA approved anchors should be used wherever possible.

What is an ETA? ETA

An ETA (European Technical Assessment) is a worldwide recognised framework for testing anchors, assessing and interpreting test results and publishing them in a standardised format. An ETA will set out what applications the anchor is suitable for, it’s application limits, performance characteristics and how it should be installed.

To gain an ETA, a product must have been rigorously tested to strict EU derived standards known as EADs (European Assessment Documents). Formerly ETAGs. For further information on EADs and ETA testing, see the CFA Guidance Note.

Why should you use ETA approved concrete screws? eta concrete screw

Guarantee that the anchor will not fail, provided the anchor has been selected and installed as outlined in the ETA. This means that the liabilities of the specifiers and installers are safeguarded and the installation will comply with BS8539.

Anchor selection is made easier with ETAs. Design according to the relevant design method, along with software to guide the selection process, means that specifiers can be confident that the most suitable anchor has been chosen. This ensures economic design of anchors with an appropriate safety margin.

Detailed installation instructions are provided in the ETA giving the contractor peace of mind that installation can be carried out correctly. Correct installation is paramount to avoid anchor failure in the future.

Performance values of approved anchors can be relied upon. ETA approved anchors are also CE marked which means that the anchor delivered to the job site will have exactly the same performance values as those tested in the approval process.

Can anchors without an ETA be trusted?

There are many anchors on the market without ETA approvals. These products may have some performance data published by their manufacturer, supplier or distributor but can we trust this?

The reality is that determining anchor performance is a complicated matter.  ETA testing subjects anchoring products to a huge range of complex testing programs to ensure the safety and reliability of their performance in a multitude of situations. eta concrete screw

Can you be sure that the testing on non-approved anchors has been carried out to the same stringent criteria? Can the product performance data be trusted?

The truth is that we cannot be sure, and these products will not offer guarantees of performance in the same way an ETA approved anchor will.

“To use a non-approved anchor is a risk, and you must decide if it is one worth taking. For safety and peace of mind we would always recommend using ETA approved anchors. ETAs were introduced for a reason so why risk using anything else?” Rob Lee, Anchor Expert, Walraven


Walraven’s anchor offering

We pride ourselves on only offering products and services that we really believe in. Our heavy duty anchor range is ETA approved for your peace of mind. Alongside our approved product range we offer a technical support service, anchor selection software and onsite support to help you every step of the way.

All of our ETA documents can be downloaded from our document library.

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