Designers: Use Caution in Specifying Adhesive Anchors Under the New NYC Building Code

A lack of training opportunities has the potential to impact the successful implementation of a building code change ​going into effect​ October 14, 2014.

The New York City building code allows several methods for anchorage in hardened concrete, but it will soon impose additional requirements for one type—adhesive anchors—that can influence what type designers chose to specify for certain applications.

Effective October 1, 2014 adhesive anchors installed in a horizontal or upwardly inclined orientation to resist sustained tension loads will require continuous special inspection by a Special Inspection Agency registered with the Department of Buildings.

A May 2014 communication from the Department of Buildings provided notice of this change and highlighted the responsibilities it entails for designers and contractors:

• Architects and engineers filing plans with the Department under the 2014 codes must identify on the plans filed with the department those adhesive anchors that require special inspection.

• Contractors responsible for installation of adhesive anchors that require special inspection must use certified installers to perform the work.

• Special inspection agencies responsible for the special inspection of adhesive anchors must verify the required certification of the installers.

While the fundamental impact of this provision may seem straightforward, i.e. added cost when using adhesive anchors where choice exists to employ another type, there is a more important factor to consider: Finding certified installers will not be easy. Since failure to have the certification when installing adhesive anchors requiring special inspection can result in violations and Stop Work Orders, this is an issue that demands immediate attention.

The reason it has become an issue is that the code accepts only certifications conferred through a program* developed by the American Concrete Institute (ACI)-Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI). ACI-CRSI has tapped the Concrete Industry Board (CIB) to administer its installer certification course locally, but the CIB is limited in the number of training and testing sessions it can offer. It will produce only a small percentage of the certified installers that contractors will need for construction projects getting underway in the city after October 14, 2014. Sending installers to a program out of state for certification adds significantly to the already high costs of the training, prohibiting this as a remedy.

Given the number of trades that install adhesive anchors, this insufficiency of training opportunities is creating a bottleneck with the potential to hinder almost all areas of construction in the city. Unless and until the CIB makes more training courses available, or ACI-CRSI approves other entities to conduct the training locally, designers specifying adhesive anchors where other types are suitable for the intended application should be prepared to increase not only the expense of projects but also the risk of delay.

  • A two-day course that requires candidates to demonstrate an ability to read, comprehend and execute instructions for properly installing adhesive anchors in concrete based upon a 90-minute written exam and an installation performance exam. Installers must be recertified every five years by successfully completing both the written and performance examinations.