CROSS Safety Report
Fixings to steelwork
This report is over 2 years old
The use of proprietary self tapping screws to fix to materials thicker than 10-12mm is questioned by a reporter.
Key Learning Outcomes
For civil and structural design engineers:
Connections can often be the weak link in structures and attention to detail is required
Careful consideration is required for fixings, particularly at interfaces between different materials. The role of tolerances should not be overlooked.
For construction professionals:
Quality control and competent supervision on site can ensure the correct fixings are installed in accordance with the design
Fixings should be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and requirements
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The use of proprietary self tapping screws to fix to materials thicker than 10-12mm is questioned by a reporter. For example, fixing ties to structural steelwork. The manufacturer’s instructions normally give the maximum thickness of material on which these should be used. They believe that this recommendation is often ignored and is concerned that inappropriate use could lead to screws being weakened or sheared in torsion.
Expert Panel Comments
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A continuing theme is that manufacturer’s instructions must be followed for all proprietary components and it is known that fixings can and do fail where this is not followed. There are two issues:
Designers may be specifying inappropriate systems or not giving sufficient information
Installers may not be following the requisite instructions
Both are serious and have the potential to lead to structural failures.
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