Testing scaffold anchorage is essential to all scaffolding projects where part of the security and stability of a scaffold structure is dependent on the ties used to fix a scaffold back to a base structure. It is therefore crucial that anchors used for security of the scaffold are correctly selected, installed and tested where necessary.
Types of anchor tests
Site tests to scaffold anchors are required for two purposes:
Preliminary tests – check the suitability of a fixing to support the required tie loads in a particular base material.
Proof tests – check the quality of installation of chosen anchors.
Why should we test anchors?
Anchors are a significant component of many scaffolding structures; they can ensure that a scaffold remains stable. For this reason, it is essential that they are properly installed and fit for purpose.
Who should carry out testing?
Site anchor tests should be carried out by competent person (other than the actual installer of the fixings) ideally someone who is knowledgeable on how fixings work and trained in the use of testing equipment and test procedures NASC publication TG4 for Anchorage systems for scaffolding (TG4:19 current version) and following guidance from NASC TG20 Operational Guide section 7(TG20:21 Current version).
Inspection of anchors
Anchors should be inspected regularly, and it is good practice to include this as part of the scaffold inspection regime – therefore re-inspecting of anchors is required after an event that may impact stability of a scaffold structure (i.e. adverse weather or vehicular impact, etc).
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.