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Anchors in Concrete and Masonry

by Brian C. Gerber, Principal Structural Engineer, ICBO Evaluation Service, Inc.

Anchors in Concrete and Masonry by Brian C. Gerber, Principal Structural Engineer, ICBO Evaluation Service, Inc.

A nchors are the primary method of fastening other elements to concrete or masonry, such as structural

systems of wood or metal; other concrete and masonry systems; nonstructural systems such as partitions, wall cladding and roof coverings; and non-building compo- nents such as equipment. Generally, anchors fall into one of two categories: cast-in-place and post-installed anchors.

Cast-in-Place Anchors

Cast-in-place anchors are those installed before concrete or masonry grout is placed and typically have enlarged heads or hooks to develop resistance to withdrawal from the concrete or masonry member. Cast-in-place anchors were the first types to be described by the building codes, with anchorage using headed cast-in-place bolts first appearing in the 1943 edition of the Uniform Building Code TM (UBC). The resulting service load table, Table No. 24-G, reported shear values only and applied to both masonry and concrete installations. A separate table for concrete, with higher shear values, appeared in the 1946 UBC. In the 1970 edition, the concrete provisions were expanded to include allowable tension values and provide different load values based on compressive strength. Similar provisions for masonry first appeared in the 1988 UBC. As strength design developed into the preferred method for concrete design, a corresponding method for anchorage design was also needed, and was added to the 1991 UBC. The most current (1997 edition) UBC provisions for cast-in-place, headed anchors are as follows: for concrete, Section 1923 contains service load design in Section 1923.1, using values in Table 19-D, and strength design in Section 1923.2, using calculations in Section 1923.3; for masonry, Section 2107 contains working stress design, using values in Tables 21-E-1, 21-E-2, and 21-F, or calcu-

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lations in Section 2107.1.5; and Section 2108 contains strength design, using calculations in accordance with Section 2108.1.5.

Post-Installed Anchors

Post-installed anchors are installed into a predrilled hole or by self-drilling in hardened concrete or masonry. Examples include expansion anchors, which transfer loads by bearing or friction from an expanded portion, set by torque or displacement; adhesive (bonded) anchors, which develop strength by bonding to a chemical adhesive placed between the hole and the embedded portion of the anchor; undercut anchors, which develop strength by a bearing type interlock with an undercut portion of con- crete at the base of the anchor; and predrilled (screw) anchors, which develop strength by threads cut into an undersized hole during anchor installation. While the codes describe methods for determining cast- in-place anchor load capacities using tables and calcula- tions for service loads or calculations only for strength design, no such provisions exist for post-installed anchors. Actually, the only portions of the current codes where post-installed anchors are directly mentioned are Section 1632.2 and Table 16-O of the 1997 UBC and Sections 1621.1.7 and 1621.3.12.2 of the 2000 International Building Code ® (IBC ® ), which describe limitations and adjustments for determining the seismic loads applied to anchors supporting components. Since post-installed anchors usually consist of specific designs developed by their manufacturers, no general guidelines for structural design were available until recently. Manufacturers supplied users with data address- ing performance, but items such as test methods and installation procedures were not always provided. Consequently, code officials found it difficult to determine

whether post-installed anchors would comply with the codes as alternatives to cast-in-place anchors.

Expansion Anchors

In response to these concerns, ICBO began issuing research reports on expansion anchors in the late 1950s; a system maintained by ICBO Evaluation Service, Inc. (ICBO ES) through evaluation reports. While supporting data is largely supplied by the manufacturers, ICBO ES provides an independent evaluation of the data and issues reports detailing information consistent with the codes regarding identification, installation, strength and other performance characteristics. ICBO ES insists that any tests done must either be con- ducted or witnessed by a test laboratory having no affilia-

tion with the manufacturer in order to provide greater assurance of the validity of the test results. This require- ment was first documented in the August 1975 AC01, “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Expansion Anchors in Concrete,” which also addressed a number of other issues regarding the evaluation of expansion anchors placed in concrete, including anchor description, anchor identifica- tion, preparation of concrete test members, anchor instal- lation in test members, equipment used in testing, test pro- cedures, test reports, test schedule, number of specimens and sizes to be tested, determination of allowable load, factors of safety and inspection limits, and restrictions on use. In 1976, the American Society for Testing and Materials (now ASTM International) published ASTM E488, “Standard Test Methods for Strength of Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements.” ASTM E488 provided more detail than AC01 with regard to test procedures, but had different requirements for equipment placement and load rates and was not adopted by ICBO ES until 1991. In the late 1980s, ICBO ES began a program to update AC01 to reflect advances made in the evaluation of anchors. Renamed the “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Expansion Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements,” the document was adopted in July 1991 and contains addi- tional requirements addressing:

evaluation in masonry, preparation of masonry test members, detail of anchor material properties, length identification directly on anchors, reference to ASTM E 488 for test procedures, proper functioning tests for drill bit size and torque ratings, tests to establish minimum and critical edge distances and spacings, • tests to establish combined tension and shear capacity,

testing of all diameters, minimum sample size (increased from three to five), diameter dependent displacement limitations, and establishment of a quality control program including inspections by an independent quality control agency. Many of these changes paralleled the 1986 European Union of Agreement Directives for Assessment of Anchor Bolts. It should be noted that although ASTM E488 alluded to test procedures for fatigue and seismic load test methods, the scope of AC01 was limited to static load testing because it was felt that the E488 procedures were too vague. Fatigue resistance issues had a long history, being a restriction in the original AC01, but seismic perform- ance concerns were relatively recent. In November 1994, ICBO ES issued a letter clarifying the intent of AC01, stating that the use of anchors in resisting earthquake or wind loads was beyond the scope of the evaluation reports issued on expansion anchors. In doing so, ICBO ES was trying to convey the notion that, because the criteria did not contain seismic test procedures, anchor performance in seismic and wind conditions was unknown and could not be commented on. This situation was rectified in September 1997 when the ICBO ES Evaluation Committee approved the addition of two seismic test methods, one of which was patterned after a procedure previously developed for adhesive anchors. AC01 consid- ers both methods equivalent.

Adhesive Anchors

ICBO ES began evaluating adhesive anchors in the early

1980s. Initial adhesive anchor strength determinations essentially followed AC01, but some issues necessitated

additional consideration. Initially, for example, the effect of high temperatures was a concern, and as the number of evaluation reports grew, so did the diverging opinions on how to evaluate the temperature effects. Adhesive anchors are packaged in a variety of methods, and the packages must be stored under controlled conditions and have expi- ration dates. Additionally, the adhesives have a tendency to creep, which is deflecting under long-term loads. Environmental exposures such as damp or water-filled holes and freezing and thawing also may detract from per- formance. These issues were considered in ASTM E1512, “Standard Test Methods for Testing Bond Performance of Adhesive-Bonded Anchors,” which was released in May


Once ASTM E1512 was published, ICBO ES began working with the industry to create a new acceptance cri- teria for adhesive anchors. In January 1995, it achieved this goal with the issuance of AC58, “ICBO ES

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Acceptance Criteria for Adhesive Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements,” which addresses the following:

anchor description (adhesive and steel rod);

adhesive packaging;

anchor identification;

preparation of concrete and masonry test members;

anchor installation in test members;

equipment used in testing;

test procedures;

test reports;

test schedule (number of specimens and sizes to be tested);

determination of allowable load (factor of safety

and inspection limits); restrictions on use (exterior exposure, seismic

conditions, fatigue loads); reference to ASTM E488 for load test procedures;

reference to ASTM E1512 for adhesive specific

procedures; tests to establish minimum and critical edge

distances and spacings; tests to establish combined tension and shear

capacity; tests to identify adhesive compounds (infrared

absorption spectroscopy, bond strength, specific gravity and gel time); test procedures for fire resistance, creep, in-service

temperature, dampness, freezing and thawing, and seismic loads; and establishment of a quality control program including inspections by an independent quality control agency.

The Uniform Code for Building Conservation TM includes an Appendix to Chapter 1 concerning rehabilita- tion of unreinforced masonry walls for seismic hazards that references UBC Standard 21-7, “Tests of Anchors in Unreinforced Masonry Walls.” Several manufacturers developed adhesive anchoring systems specifically for these conditions, and ICBO ES began receiving applica- tions for evaluation reports in the early 1990s. The anchors are used only to resist short-term seismic and wind loads. The typical installation methods converged on bent bar (angled) installations for tension or shear, straight bar installations for shear, and straight through-bolts anchored by steel plate installations for tension or shear. Due to the uniqueness of these systems, ICBO ES deter- mined that they needed to be evaluated under a separate acceptance criteria. AC60, “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Unreinforced Masonry Anchors,” first issued in July 1994, responds to these concerns. AC60 also stipulates procedures for verifying actual installations with in-place

mortar strength tests, proof loading 5 percent of anchor installations and torque testing 25 percent of installations.

Undercut Anchors

ICBO ES began evaluating undercut anchors in the early 1980s around the same time as adhesive anchors. Again, the August 1975 AC01 served as the guide for issuing evaluation reports. In 1998, the industry proposed a new criteria for undercut anchors: AC140, “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Undercut Anchors in Concrete Elements.” Still under development, AC140 corresponds closely with AC01 and portions of European Technical Approval Guideline No. 001, “Guideline for European Technical Approval of Metal Anchors in Concrete,” issued in 1997 by the European Organization for Technical Approvals. To update the affected evaluation reports on current philosophy regarding seismic perform- ance, the ICBO ES Evaluation Committee invoked seis- mic test requirements on undercut anchors in June 1998.

Predrilled (Screw) Anchors

ICBO ES began evaluating predrilled or “screw” anchors in the 1970s. As with other anchoring systems, ICBO ES initially applied the August 1975 AC01 as the guide for evaluation. After AC01 was revised in 1991, ICBO ES determined that these anchors were beyond the criteria’s scope. Accordingly, ICBO ES issued a letter in February 1995 outlining the basis for evaluating such anchors. The letter stated that the original AC01 would remain the basis for recognition, with the exceptions that the sample size was to be increased from three to five and all diameters and embedment lengths were to be tested. In addition, the anchors would not be recognized for seismic or wind load resistance. As the number of manufacturers pursuing ICBO ES evaluation reports grew, so did the demand for expansion

of the scope of recognition. The industry showed interest in testing for specific edge distances and spacings, seismic and wind load resistance, and combined load perform- ance, which had not previously been considered. In 2000, AC106, “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Predrilled Fasteners (Screw Anchors) in Concrete or Masonry,” was proposed, and the criteria was approved in November 2001. While similar to AC01, AC106 contains a number of differences, including the requirement of proper func- tioning tests only for maximum drill bit sizes, maximum 6,500 psi concrete compressive strength permitted based on tests at lower strengths, combined loads permitted without testing (tests are required to validate the equation in UBC Section 1923.1/IBC Section 1912.2), and spacing and edge distances of 16 times the anchor diameter per- mitted without testing.

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Cracked Concrete

There is much research indicating that certain anchors may perform less effectively in a cracked concrete or masonry member than in an uncracked member. Both the UBC and IBC recognize this to be the case for cast-in- place anchors: UBC Section 1923.2 requires load factor multipliers for anchors located in tension zones of con- crete members, and IBC Section 1913 requires that modi- fication factors y 4 (tension) and y 7 (shear) be applied to the nominal pullout and shear strengths. The design meth- ods in the UBC and IBC are derived from the American Concrete Institute (ACI) ACI 318, “Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete,” which assumes reinforced concrete will crack in the tension zone during service. For post-installed anchors, one also can expect some decrease in load capacity. The amount varies with the type of device, but neither code addresses post- installed anchors.

The 2000 IBC and ACI 318-02

Section 1913 of the 2000 IBC is based on the Concrete Capacity Design (CCD) method, which is considered to be a more accurate model than those used in previous codes. Appendix D of ACI 318-02 is also based on the CCD method and is similar to IBC Section 1913 but has been expanded to recognize designs with expansion and under- cut anchors (but not adhesive or predrilled anchors). Strength design determinations with post-installed anchors are also addressed for the first time. Since post-installed anchors vary in performance, cer- tain tests will be needed to permit design under ACI 318- 02 Appendix D and are contained in ACI 355.2-00. ACI 318-02, including Appendix D, has been proposed for adoption into the 2003 IBC.

IBC Masonry

IBC Section 2107 refers to ACI 530-99/American Society of Civil Engineers 5-99/The Masonry Society 402-99, “Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures,” for working stress design requirements for masonry. ACI 530-99 Section permits the design of cast-in place anchors, headed anchor bolts and bent-bar anchor bolts (the design equations are the same as those appearing in UBC Section 2107). For other anchors, ACI 530-99 Section requires that tests be conducted in accor- dance with ASTM E488 and that the resulting allowable design load must not exceed 20 percent of the average tested strength. Strength design provisions for headed and bent-bar anchor bolts are set forth in IBC Section 2108.6, which permit higher values than the UBC.


By partnering with code officials, manufacturers, engi- neers, builders, testing laboratories, inspection agencies, industry associations and standards writing organizations, ICBO ES has maintained its role in providing validated information to parties interested in concrete anchors. The following acceptance criteria are available at the ICBO ES website (

AC01, “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Expansion Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements,” November 2001;

AC58, “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Adhesive Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements,” November 2001;

AC60, “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Unreinforced Masonry Anchors,” July 1995; and

AC106, “ICBO ES Acceptance Criteria for Predrilled Fasteners (Screw Anchors) in Concrete or Masonry,” November 2001.










Concrete,” American Concrete Institute (ACI).

ACI 355.2, “Evaluating the Performance of Post-installed Mechanical Anchors in Concrete,” ACI.

ACI 530, Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures, ACI.

ASTM E488, “Standard Test Methods for Strength of Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements,” ASTM International.

ASTM E1512, “Standard Test Methods for Testing Bond Performance of Adhesive-Bonded Anchors,” ASTM International.

Cagley, J. R., “Changing from ACI 318-99 to ACI 318-02— What’s New?”, Concrete International, June 2001.

Cook, Ronald A., Strength Design of Anchorage to Concrete, Portland Cement Association.

ETAG No. 001, “Guideline for European Technical Approval of Metal Anchors in Concrete,” European Organization for Technical Approvals.



Code ® ,




Council ® . Klingner, Richard E., “AC 355.2—What’s It All About?”, Structure, October 2001. Pierepiekarz, Mark A., “Uniform Building Code Provisions for

Anchorage to Concrete,” Building Standards TM , July-August


“UEAtc Directives for Assessment of Anchor Bolts,” European Union of Agreement. Uniform Building Code TM , 1943–1997, International Conference of Building Officials ® (ICBO ® ). Uniform Code for Building Conservation TM , 1985–1997, ICBO.

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