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GRC

GRC
GRC
GRC
GRC
GRC
GRC

GUIDE TO
FIXINGS
FOR
GLASSFIBRE
REINFORCED
CONCRETE
CLADDING

FIXING GUIDE

GRC
GRC
GRC
GRC
GRC
GRC
GRC

Administration
cl0 The Concrete Society
Century House, Telford Avenue
Crowthome RG45 6YS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1344 466007
Fax +44 (0) 1344 466008
concsoc@concrete.org.uk
Advisory Service
26 Gorsey Brow
Billinge, Wigan W N 5 7NX
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1744 893423
Fax: +44 (0) 1744 892359
rfeny.grca@dial.pipex.com

so110
October 1998. Revised November 1999
International

Contents
1.

Introduction

2.

Functions of Fixings

3.

Design Principles

Overview

3.2.

Positioning of Fixings

3.3.

Allowing for Movements

3.4.

5.

3.1.

3.3.1.
3.3.2.
3.3.3.
3.3.4.

4.

3
4
6

Principles of Fixing 6
Shrinkage and Moisture Movements of GRC
Thermal Movements of GRC 9
Movements of Support Structure 10

GRC Stud Frame Construction

Types of Fixings

16

4.1.

Fixings into GRC

4.2.

Fixings to Support Structure

Tolerances

12

16
19

21

5.1.

Introduction

21

5.2.

Adjustments

21

5.2.1. Angle Support Brackets 21


5.2.2. Restraint Fixings 29
5.2.3. GRC Stud Frame Cladding 33

Fixings for Lifting/Handling

7.

Materials and Durability

37

7.1.

Galvanised Fixings

37

7.2.

Stainless Steel Fixings

7.3.

Other Metals

7.4.

Galvanic Corrosion

7.5.

Crevice Corrosion

7.6.

Stress Corrosion Cracking

8.

I.

34

6.

Typical Examples

37

39

43

40
42
42

1.

Introduction

Glass reinforced cement (GRC) is a composite material comprising a


mixture of hydraulic cement, silica sand, alkali resistant (AR) glass
fibres and water. The glass fibres effectively reinforce the mortar mix
thereby improving its tensile and flexural characteristics.
GRC is a particularly attractive and durable cladding material. It can
be moulded into a wide variety of complex shapes and profiles and is
ideally suited to the popular fast-track approach of using lightweight,
prefabricated cladding panels for the exteriors of modem buildings.
The main advantage of GRC panels over the corresponding precast
concrete alternatives is the considerable saving in weight. This results
in significant savings in the costs of transportation, handling and
erection of the panels. If this weight advantage is considered at the
design stage, it should be possible to effect substantial economies in
the design of foundations and superstructures for high rise building
constructions. Other notable advantages of GRC cladding are its
durability, chemical resistance, non-combustibility and good sound
heat insulation properties.
This publication is intended to explain and illustrate acceptable
methods of fixing GRC panels to a building or other structure and
providing fixings for Iiftinghandling. The basic principles of design are
outlined and related to the practicabilities of ensuring adequate
tolerances to allow for erection and the subsequent, combined
movements of the panels and supporting structure. Illustrations of
several different types of fixings that are in common use are given,
together with information about the materials used to manufacture
them. Particular reference is made to the need to isolate materials
which might give rise to galvanic corrosion if they were allowed to be
in direct contact with each other. General details of the widely used
GRC stud frame type of construction are also illustrated, together
with recommendations on how to fix the GRC facing to the stud frame
Finally, details of several fixing systems are presented to illustrate
typical examples of securing GRC cladding panels to the supporting
structures. They are not presented in any particular order and are only
intended to give general guidance.

2.

Functions of Fixings

The main functions of fixings for GRC cladding panels are as follows:
a.

to secure the cladding panels to the building for the life of the
panels andor building.

b.

to allow translational and rotational movements to occur


between individual panels and between the panel(s) and
supporting structure whilst maintaining waterproofing at the

joints.
C.

to provide sufficient adjustment to accommodate normal


constructional inaccuracies in combination with the anticipated
movements referred to in (b) above.

d.

to maintain integrity of support and restraint under all


conditions of exposure (impact, vibration, wind, fire, etc.) by
minimising local concentrations of stress in the GRC.

e.

to provide lifting points for the cladding during manufacture,


handling and erection.

Fiuingsfor liyting
should have F of S

of at least 8 to 10

. .

f.

to ensure that forces transmitted through the fixings are


distributed over as wide an area of GRC as possible.

CT
b'

to utilise the full strength properties of the GRC by providing


supports at the base of the panels and lateral restraints at both
the top and bottom of the panels.

The movements in (b) above can be difficult to quantify. However. it


should be possible to make conservative estimates of the magnitudes
and directions of these movements for the purposes of designing the
fixings and joint sealants.

3.

Design Principles

3.1

Overview

In order to produce a safe, efficient and economic fixing system, it is


necessary to understand the basic design principles and criteria.
The designer should first identify any constraints which might be
imposed by conditions on site. Such constraints, if any, may have a
significant influence on the choice and detailed design of the fixings.
Typical examples of these constraints are problems associated with
access, conflict with fixings for other elements, excessive
misalignments of support elements and conformance to a demanding
programme of works.
GRC panels should not be over-fixed to the structure as this will
inhibit moisture and thermal movements and is likely to result in
detrimental cracking of the panels. Fixings are usually provided at
each of the four corner points of the panels.
The structural behaviour of the GRC panels under load should be
carefully examined. It is advisable to avoid long horizontal panels
(with s p d d e p t h ratio > 4)as bending can cause distress of the GRC in
the vicinity of the fixings due to rotational and/or translational
movements.
Fixings should also be positioned so as to minimise any permanent
stresses which might be induced into the panels. Forces transmitted
through the fixings should be distributed over as wide an area of GRC
as possible. Adequate bearing areas must also be provided for the
GRC on the supports at the base of the panels to avoid distress to the
GRC.

BS 5606: 1990 and BRE Digests 199 and 223 contain important
information about inaccuracies to be considered in the design of the
fixings. Adequate tolerances must be incorporated into the fixing
system if it is to perform functions (b) and (c) listed in Section 2.
Ideally, all fixings should be easily accessible for adjustment although
this is not always possible.
It is important to remember that galvanised fixing components have a
finite life which is directly proportional to the thickness of the zinc
coating. As a general rule, stainless steel fixings should be used
whenever possible because of their high resistance to corrosion.
Stainless steel is an obvious choice of material for fixings which are
unavoidably inaccessible (positioned out of sight).
3

Separate fisings should be provided for lifting/ handling purposes to


avoid possible damage to the permanent fixings.
The total costs of fixings should be considered in the context of the
simple balancing equation

Total Cost of Fixings =

MateriaVFabrication Costs
Costs of Installation

An increase in materiayfabrication costs, associated with the use of

more expensive and sophisticated fixings, can be balanced against the


reduction in costs of installation resulting from savings in time on site.
This point should be borne in mind when choosing the type of fixing(s)
to be used.

Positioning of Fixings

3.2

Fixings can be broadly categorised into those which support the selfweight load of the panels and those which offer restraint. Some
fixings may be required to hlfil both of these functions. Ideally, GRC
panels should have no more than four restraint fixings and no more
than two support fixings, as shown in Fig. 3.1.

4 NO RESTRAINT flXlNCS

BASE SUPPORTS

TOP RESTRAINT flXlNGS

SOTiOM RESTRAINT &


lOCATlON FlXlNGS

2 NO 8ASE SUPPORJS

ELEVA T!@N

Figure 3.1

Positioning of Fixings

SECTION

GRC panels should always be supported at their base to ensure that the
permanent direct stresses due to self weight are compressive. This
utilises the full strength properties of the GRC to resist transient
imposed loading. It follows that GRC panels should not be top hung
in service as this would obviously induce permanent, direct tensile
stresses into the panels . The tensile strength of the panels should be
checked for lifting purposes, bearing in mind that it is only a temporary
condition.
In providing support points at the base of the panels, it is good design
practice to limit the eccentricity (e) of the self weight (W) from the
support point (Fig. 3.2 a). This will, in turn, limit the permanent
reactions in the top and bottom restraint fixings and hence the bending
and shear stresses induced into the panels. Ideally, the eccentricity (e)
should be zero, but this is rarely achievable. In vertical panels, the
permanent stresses resulting from this eccentricity are usually small.
However, when the panel leans at some angle to the vertical, as
illustrated in Fig. 3.2 b, the eccentricity (e) increases and the induced
stresses may become significant.

e (eccentricity)

(eccentricity)

0W

Figure 3.2

- Eccentricity of Self-Weight
5

Allowing for Movements

3.3

Shrinkage, moisture and thermal movements of GRC cladding panels


are time dependent and subject to wide variations due to the
complexity of the variables involved. In order to avoid distress and
possible damage to the GRC, fixing systems must allow these
movements to take place unhindered. Additional tolerances may also
be required in the fixings to allow for anticipated movements of the
supporting structure.

Principles of Fixing

3.3.1

Fig 3.3 illustrates a recommended fixing system for GRC cladding


panels showing the necessary freedoms of movement to avoid restraint
to the GRC.
VERTICAL & HORIZONTAL
MOVEMENTS

TOP flXING
RESTRAINTS

HORIZONTAL

BOTTOM FIXING
RESTRAINT

I
LOCATION FIXING:
CAN BE FIXED OR ALLOW
HORIZONIAL MOVEMENTS
AS SHOW

Figure 3.3
6

Degrees of Freedom

The main features of the system are:


a.

Panels only have four fixings providing lateral restraint

b.

Vertical support is provided at two points at the base of each


panel

c.

Both the top restraint fixings allow vertical and horizontal


movements

d.

One bottom restraint fixing allows horizontal movements whilst


the other can be fixed or identical to the other bottom fixing

e.

All fixings offer some degree of rotational freedom.

Sections 4 and 5 illustrate the types of fixings which can be used to


provide various degrees of freedom to satisfy the requirements of this
fixing system.
In addition to providing allowances for movement at the fixing
positions, the detailing of building areas around the GRC panels should
ensure that movement of the GRC is not restrained (Fig 3.4).

GRC CtADOlNG
fRff 10 MOM

Figure 3.4

- Avoidance of Restraint to GRC


7

Shrinkage and Moisture Movements of GRC

3.3.2

As GRC is wetted and dried it undergoes dimensional changes that are

attributable to shrinkage and.moisture movements. These changes are


more pronounced than those occuring in comparable precast concrete
products. After the GRC panels have been manufactured and cured,
they are allowed to dry out and undergo an initial drying shrinkage.
Any subsequent wetting and drying causes reversible moisture
movements to occur. These moisture movements are less than the
initial drying shrinkage and so the GRC suffers an irreversible
shrinkage during the initial drying process as illustrated in Fig 3.5.

........ _.

.L

EXPANSION

11

WATER STORAGE

IN WATER

......................................................

IRREVERSIBLE

....

- =w

W
~

...

......

......

...

c
W

m
cI_

MOISTURE
MOVEMENT

Ln

r
n
-J

.....I

DRY

ii

Figure 3.5

DRY

..

c-

DRY

- Shrinkage and Moisture Movements of GRC

As a general guide, the irreversible shrinkage amounts to one quarter

to one third of the ultimate drying shrinkage and is largely dependent


on the waterlcement ratio. Moisture movements tend to decrease with
age and are mainly governed by the cement content. The typical
variation of ultimate drying shrinkage (%) with the s a d c e m e n t ratio is
indicated in Fig 3.6.

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

S,AXD : CERlENT RATIO


Figure 3.6

Variation of Drying Shrinkage with Sand/Cement Ratio

Current practice is to use sandjcement ratios of between 0.5 : 1


and 1 : 1. These result in a fiee shrinkage or moisture movement in
the region of 0.15% or 1.5 mm/metre length.

3.3.3

Thermal Movements of GRC

The magnitude of thermal movements in GRC can be of a similar order


to shrinkage and moisture movements. If these movements are
restrained, significant stresses can be induced into the GRC.
The coefficient of expansion ( a ) of GRC is within the range of 10
to 18 s 10d/ "C.Thermal dimensional changes in the GRC can be
calculated fiom the well-known formula

AL

where

and
measured.

AL

a .AT.L

change inlength
a = coefficient of linear expansion
AT = change in temperature
L = length over which AL is being

Example
Assuming a rise in temperature (AT) of 30 "C and a value of
coefficient of linear expansion (a)of 18 x lO"/OC a 2.500 metre long
panel will expand by
( 1 8 x 1 0 - 6 x X O x 2 . 5 x 1 0 0 0 ) m m = 1.35mm

GRC cladding panels of single skin construction are usually stiffened


with ribs formed around expanded foam. Sandwich panels are double
skin construction with a core of expanded foam. In both cases, the
GRC on opposite sides of the core material is likely to experience
different conditions of temperature, humidity and moisture content.
These differing conditions have a tendency to produce bowing of the
panels. This bowing only occurs to a limited extent in ribbed GRC but
can be very pronounced in sandwich construction. Clearly, some
account of this bowing must be made if it is likely to affect the
performance of the fixings. Care must be taken to place fixings in
positions which do not restrict this bowing, otherwise significant
secondary stresses can be induced into the GRC panels.

3.3.4

Movements of Supporting Structure

The movements that are common to both concrete and steel structures
are:
i

a.

elastic deformation under load

b.

sway of the building under load

C.

thermal movements

d.

deflections of beams under load

e.

possible differential settlements of the foundations.

In addition, concrete structures are subject to shrinkage/moisture


movements and creep of the concrete under sustained loading.

1 0

Panels of single skin


constrriction are now
generally used in
preference to sandwich
panels because the
latter are prone to
bowing and
concentrations of
dvferential
temperature /
siirittkage stresses.

It is generally very difficult to quantify these movements with any


degree of accuracy so a conservative approach should always be used.
Constructions which alleviate the effects of ariy of these movements
should be used whenever possible. One method of overcoming
problems associated with the deflections of the main beams and floor
slabs of the building is to provide a separate, adjustable steel
framework, wholly supported at ground level, for supporting the GRC
cladding as shown in Fig 3.7 a. This construction allows the main
beams to deflect independently whilst still giving lateral restraint to the
secondary support steelwork which is supporting the GRC cladding.
The construction shown in Fig 3.7 b must not be used as the tops and
bottoms of the GRC panels are fixed to different lengths of steelwork
which can move relative to one another.

Secoridary steelwork
srrpport systemsf o r
GRC cladding patiels
should be adjiistable
in both horizontal
directions to offset
possible out-oftolernme(s) of the
main steelwork.

HaES I R I NMI
rO1EfiA"CE
PCE PACXINC

AS REQEED\

m aAoO0pH-;

Plff PACKING

-i"

UAN BEAU

CEUC L
ML

mc WMtil
EBINC LEML

Figure 3.7

1 1

Stud Frame Construction

3.4

A GRC stud frame cladding panel consists of a single skin of GRC


attached to a prefabricated frame, usually metal, by means of L-shaped
flexible anchors (termed flex anchors) and support anchors (knownas
gravity anchors) as indicated in Fig 3.8.
Regular spacing of the flex anchors ensures that the effects of wind
loading are evenly distributed over large areas of the panels. The
spacing of the flex anchors is governed by the strength of the GRC but
is usually no more than 600 m m in each direction. These anchors offer
lateral support to the GRC facing whilst allowing some degree of
rotation and shrinkage/moisture movement of the GRC. The gravity
anchors are positioned along the bottom of the panel and support the
self-weight of the GRC. It is important to understand certain basic
principles when detailing this form of construction. These principles
are illustrated below in Figs 3.9,3.10 and 3.1 1 for easy reference.

POINRNG IOWAROS
ENRf OF PANEL

ELEVATION ON BACK
OF PANEL

SECTION 1 - 1
CRC GONCING PAD
ROLLfO lNfO BAUINC CRC

G C PANE1

Figure 3.8

1 2

See also GRCA


Pu blicatiori
'GRCiti Use Strid Frame
Cladding!

GRC Stud Frame Cladding Panel

INSUFFICIENT MICKNESS Of
PAD AR(XIND
ANCHOR

TACK flLOIkG Gf FLEX ANCHOR


IS GENfRALLY UNRELIABLE AND
SUBJECT TO FAllCuE FAliORE

7 flp!vo

INCORRECT

I I

7INC:

ANCHOR W l l l IMPEDE
FREE MOVEMENT OF
CRC SKIN

PAD TO BE MAINTAINED
AROUND FLEX ANCHOR

VERTICAL SECTION
S N D FRAME

OR LOCK NUT CAN BE USED.

Figure 3.9

- Do's and Dont's with Flex Anchors

1 3

INSUfFlCJENT THICKNESS OF
BONDING PAD AROUND GRAV~TY

Ih

FULL STRENGTH M L D
-NOT TACK WELDING

\
BONDING
PAD .

(I

I:

:I

BONDING PAD SHOULD


NOT EXTEND PAST BEND
IN GRAVTY ANCHOR

/
\

GRC PANEL

PLASTIC TUBE CAN BE


USED TO DE-BONO
GRAVlTY ANCHORS

Figure 3.10

14

GRAWTY ANCHORS POINT rOWARDs


CENTRE Of PANEL SO AS NOT TO INHIBIT
SHRINKAGE AND MOISTURE MOMMENT

PLAN

Do's and Dont's with Gravity Anchors

FULL STRENGTH WELD


-NOT TACK WELDING
\

STUD FRAME
(SECURED TO MAIN BUILDING)

GRC PANEL

VERTICAL SECTION

SUFFlClENT CLEARANCES
TO ALLOW SHRINKAGE,
MOISllJRE AND THERMAL
MOVEMENTS OF PANELS

PLASTIC SLEEVES CAN


USED TO DE-BOND
GRAVlTY ANCHORS

Figure 3.11

--

"F/

Alternative, T-Bar Gravity Anchor

Figure 3.1 1 illustrates an alternative T-bar type of gravity anchor which


is sometimes used. The recommended details shown in Figs 3.5 to 3. I 1
inclusive are intended to give the GRC panels freedom of movement.
adequate lateral support and vertical support at their base.

FRAME

4.

Types of Fixings

4.1

Fixings into GRC

Ideally, sockets cast into the GRC should be used as a means of


securing the GRC panels to the building. However, it is not always
possible to adopt this method and face fixing of the panels andor use
of dowels are the only alternatives. In all cases, the loads in the fixings
should be spread over as large an area of GRC as possible. Many of
the standard fixings in common use for other materials can be used or
readily adapted for use with GRC. The three main types of cast-in
sockets are illustrated in Fig 4.1.

4
...............
,. .

CONE TYPE
.

..!

/"

CROSS PIN ANCHOR TYPE

Figure 4.1

Cast-In Sockets

Figure 4.2

Encapsulation of
Cast-In Socket

It is very important that cast-in sockets are encapsulated in an adequate


volume of GRC with good fibre distribution around them. The ends of
these sockets should be left slightly proud of the GRC as shown in Fig
4.2. This avoids the possible adverse effects of overtightening against
the face of the GRC during fixing.

1 6

The actual performance and minimum edge distance of cast-in sockets


will be specified by the manufacturer. However, as a general rule, the
socket should not be placed any nearer to the edge of the GRC than the

O/A LENGTH OF
CAST IN SOCKET =

O/A LENGTH OF
CAST IN SOCKET = 1

e.

1.71L

1
'
1

1T1

O/A LENGTH OF
CAST IN SOCKET = L

O/A LENGTH OF
CAST IN SOCKET = L

,L

c
U

T 2 1.71L

1.71L

C 2 1.70L

C 2 1.701

Figure 4.3

1 7

Face fixing of the panels is sometimes used, particularly when access


for fixing the panels is restricted andor when the panels are very small
(Fig 4.4).

GRC PANEL

I I-

CAST-IN WASHER

MAIN BUILDING

Figure 4.4

MAIN STRUCTURE
OVERSIZED POCKET
WlTH TAPERS
TO ASSIST
MANUFACTURE
AND ERECTION
U-SHAPED PACKS
AS RiOUlRED
ANGLE SUPPORT
DOWEL WELDED TO
SUPPORT ANGLE

Figure 4.5
1 8

4.2
4.2.1

Fixings to Supporting Structure


Concrete Structures

Fixing into concrete is usually by expansion fixings, resin fisings or


cast-in fixings.

a.

Expansion Fixings ( Fig 4.6)

When these are tightened, a sleeve is forced along a cone or a pair of


cones into the surrounding concrete. The fixing holds by a combination
of keying and friction.

I-

Figure 4.6

1 9

Resin Fixings (Fig 4.7)

b.

Resin fixings rely on the ability of the resin to transmit the force in the
steel rod by bond into the surrounding concrete. These fixings can be
used closer together and at closer edge distances than expansion bolts.
The time taken for the resin to set and the fixing to achieve its working
strength will vary according to the ambient temperature.

Figure 4.8

Cast-in Fixings (Fig 4.8)

c.

These are generally channels with ancIlorsfixed to the back and are
cast into the concrete. In conjunction with 'T' head bolts, these fixings
allow the fixing position to move along the length of the channel.
Channels can be used at close centres and at closer edge distances than
other fixings.
It is recommended that cast-in channels are used wherever possible.
These allow greater adjustment, can be positioned around the
reinforcement and used closer to the edge of the concrete. Cast-in
fixings are also more effective when used in the tension zone of
reinforced concrete beams.

4.2.2

Steelwork Structures

Fixings are usually bolted to structural steelwork, through pre-drilled


holes or holes drilled on site, though welding is sometimes used to
fasten fixing components to support steelwork.

2 0

5.

Tolerances

5.1

Introduction

GRC panels cannot be produced to an exact size nor can buildings be


constructed precisely to line and level. Consequently, a degree of
tolerance should be incorporated into fixing systems for cladding
panels to avoid fixing problems on site. It is also essential not to use
movement allowances in fixing components as tolerance. When the
panels are finally fitted, the movement allowances are required to avoid
possible distress to the GRC panels. The designer should refer to BS
5606: 1990 and relate the specified tolerances of the support structure
to tolerances required for the cladding panels. However, it is not
always possible to allow for the combination of building movements,
panel movements and worst tolerances, as this would result in
acceptably wide joints between the GRC panels. In such cases, an
accurate site survey would enable the designer to address these
problems, mainly by customising the panels andor fixings.
Notwithstanding this, some reliance must also be placed on the skills of
the erection team to overcome tolerance difficulties on site.

5.2

Adjustments

Adjustments will be required in all three planes, the degree of


adjustment necessary will depend on the type of structure, individual
tolerances (structures and GRC panels), site control and the overall
finished tolerances to be achieved.

Angle Support Brackets

5.2.1

Adjustments in the fixing of angle support brackets may be provided in


several ways as follows:

Figure 5.1

Packing Shims
2 1

In-plan adjustment can cause problems on site. A minimum bearing


area of GRC on the support must be maintained to avoid distress to the
GRC. Packing shims (plate or horseshoe washers) should generally be
limited to a maximum thickness of 12 mm. Packs should be positioned
such that their lower edge is at or below the start of the bend in the
angle as indicated (Fig 5.1).

Figure 5.2

Oversize holes in conjunction with serrated washers provide multidirectional adjustment with a positive lock. Packing shims are used to
provide in-plane adjustment as shown in Fig 5.2.
Horizontal slotted holes facilitate lateral adjustment. Vertical
adjustment can be provided by fixing the angle slightly low and seating
the cladding on two or more PTFE packs as indicated (Fig 5.3).

2 2
....

Figure 5.3

Figure 5.4

2 3

. .

Channel fixings anchored to the backing support can provide considerable


fixing adjustment in one direction only (vertical or horizontal). A toothed
channel should be used to provide vertical adjustment and a positive lock.
In this case, horizontal slotted holes in the angle provide the necessary
horizontal adjustment. Packing shims are used to provide in-plan
adjustment as shown in Fig 5.4.

. .
I.

$C CLADOING
PANEL

AA

8-J

AS

APPROMD
RE9LlEN 1
FILLER

~~~

Figure 5.5

2 4
.~
..

CRC CLADDING
PANEL

Angle support brackets may incorporate dowels or welded flats to


provide horizontal fixture for the GRC panel as indicated in Fig 5.5 a, b
and c.
Incorrect fixing of angle supports, as shown in Fig 5.6, can result in
bearing problems. Angle supports with only one fixing bolt are to be
preferred as they take less time to fix and have the capacity to rotate
and provide the intended bearing area.

PossteLE DISTRESS
TO GRC IN BEARING

SECTION

AND

/ OR

/ FIXING BOLTS

GRC CLADDING
PANEL

/TO

POSSIBLE DISTRESS
GRC IN 8EARINC

ANGLE SUPPORT

FRONT VIEW

Figure 5.6

- Incorrect Fixing of Seating Cleats

2 5

PossieiE DISTRESS TO GRC


DUE TO HIGH BEARING
PRESSURES.

'
REOUCEO BEARING
SECTION
AND

AREA

1 OR

PossieiE OISTRESS TO GRC


DUE TO HIGH BEARING

/PREswxS

/
REOUCEO BEARING
AREA

Figure 5.7

FRONT VlEW

Problems with Undersized Packs

Reductions in bearing from using undersize packings can result in


excessive bearing pressures and possible distress to the GRC (Fig 5.7).

2 6

PACKINGS AS

/
\ STAINLESS
STEEl
ANGLE SUPPORT

\
\

RESILIENT
FILLER

STAINLESS STEEL
DOWEL IN HOLE
THROUGH ANGLE
SUPPORT

Ponels d o not hove independent


horizontal adjJstrnent
8od pocking con result in
rototing s/s onqle support and
distress to GRC

COMBINED FIXING FOR ADJACENT PANELS

Figure 5.8

The combined fixing shown in Fig 5.8 is sometimes used for lighter
GRC panels. it does not, however, allow independent horizontal and
in-plane adjustments of the upper and lower panels.

27

SLOTTED HOLE IN
STAINLESS STEEL
FLAT FOR VERTICAL
/ ADJUSTMENT

Allows independeni horizsntd


adjustment c f upper ond lower

pone15
4

@cd packinq con result in


rolation of s/s anyle support

STAINLESS STEEL FLAT


WlTH PACKINGS AS
REQUIRED

STAINLESS
STEEL
FIXING SOCKET

ALTERNATIVE FIXING DETAIL

Figure 5.9

An alternative, preferred detail which does allow separate adjustment


of the upper and lower panels is illustrated in Fig 5.9.

2 8

SiAlNLESS STEEL
FLA 1

5.2.2

Restraint Fixings

Details of typical restraint fixing are s h o w in Fig 5.10 (at the top of
the GRC panel) and Fig 5.1 1 (at the bottom of the GRC panel).

GRC PANEL

CLEARANCE

PACKING
STAINLESS STEEL
FIXING
SOCKET

METAL TUBE AND PLASZC


SEPARA TlNC SLEEK

PTFE WASHERS

TYPICAL FIXING DE TAIL


A r rop OF GRC PANG
Fixinq socket sliqh!ly proud of surface
10 ensure that forcei applied during
liqhteninq cannot pcll aut fixinq.

Isolation of mild skel and stcinless steel


ensued by plaslic icbc and PTFE washers.

Figure 5.10

Restraint Fixing at Top

In the top fixing (Fig 5. IO), the cast-in socket should be slightly proud
of the GRC surface to ensure that forces applied during tightening
cannot pull it out. Tolerances can be provided by the use of packs and
oversize holes. Isolation of the mild steel and stainless steel
components, to prevent any galvanic corrosion, is ensured by the use
of PVC tubes and PTFE washers.

TYPICAL SUPPORT DETAIL


AT BOTTOM CORNER

. Fixings give a measure of horizonld


ond rolalional movemenl by use of
PTFf washers.

(SPANNING HORIzONlALLY)

SIMILAR TO ABOM

Figure 5.1 1

Toleronces calered for by use of pocks


ond oversize holes m ploles which ore
welded to horizonlally spanning supporl
onqle.
lsololion of mild sleel ond sloinless
sleel ensured by PVC lube ond PTFf
washers.

Restraint Fixing at Bottom

The bottom fixing (Figure 5.1 1) provides lateral restraint and supports
the weight of the panels. Tolerances are again provided by the use of
packs and oversize holes. Isolating tubes and washers are required to
prevent the possibility of galvanic corrosion.

3 0

SOUARE STAINLESS

4
Preferred detail because
of qoad tderances and
freedom of movement to
1

IT

CRC CLADDING

lsdatirm 01 mad steel


and stainless sleel
ensured by PVC tube and
PlFE washers

VIEW A

Figure 5.12

A combined fixing which provides seating, lateral restraint, good

tolerances and freedom of movement for the GRC panels is illustrated


in Fig 5.12.

3 1

PROBLEM AREAS

OR

Figure 5.13

TOLERANCES

PROBLEM EVEN MORE LIKELY IF THIS DISTANCE


IS RELATIVELY LARGE

Problems with Cast-In Sockets

Cast-in sockets being way out of tolerance are common (Fig 5.13).
Care should be taken during manufacture to ensure that the positioning
and alignment of cast-in sockets is as accurate as possible. In addition,
outsized holes and/or other adjustments should be provided in the
support components to avoid this becoming a problem on site.

3 2

5.2.3

GRC Stud Frame Cladding

When the stud frame is suspended over the freshly sprayed GRC
facing, to facilitate bonding of the flex and gravity anchors onto the
facing, the frame must be placed within tight tolerances to avoid
problems with erection and jointing of the panels on site.
Figure 5.14 highlights the critical dimensions of the stud frame panel
with typical tolerances for manufacture of panels <= 3 metres long.

b'
SECTION 1

ELEVATION ON BACK

OF PANEL

Figure 5.14

- Typical Tolerances for Stud Frame Panel


( <= 3 metres long )

3 3

6.

Fixings for Liftingmandling

Separate fixings should be provided for lifting purposes to avoid possible


damage to the permanent fixings. Lifting points should be placed as close
to the centre of gravity of the panel to ensure that it hangs as near vertical
as possible when being lifted/handled (Fig 6.1).

<
1

CAST-IN SOCKE

MINIMISE THIS
ECCENTRlCl TY
-

CENTRE OF GRAVITY

CENTRE OF GRAVITY
Of PANEL

I
.

ELEVATION ON BACK OF PANEL

Figure 6.1

3 4

SECTION 1-1

Cast-in sockets offer the best means of providing lifting points and can
be anchored more effectively by the use of anchor bars or pins (Fig
6.2).

CAST-IN FIXING
I

POSITION FIXING IN
LINE WITH RIB

USE ANCHOR REINFORCEMENT


IN CONJUNCTION WITH CAST-IN
SOCKETS TO SPREAD LOAD OVER
LARGE AREA OF GRC

Figure 6.2

3 5

POSITION FIXING8 SO TAT


INDUCED 'SAGGING' AND
HOGGING MOMENTS ARE
EGUAL IN MAGNITUDE
(eiPOINTS FOR UNIFORM MEMBER)

VERTICAL LlFTiNG OF PANEL


AT LIFTING POINTS ENSURED
BY USE OF LIFTING FRAME

GRC

EENDING MOMENT DIAGRAM


LOCAL OVERSIRESSING OF GRC
MAY CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE

POSSIBLE DAMAGE TO GRC


DUE TO BENDING AT
REDUCED SECTION
POSSIBLE DAMAGE TO GRC
DUE TO SEARING STRESSES

Figure 6.3
Careful consideration must be given to the ways in which panels are to
be demoulded, lifted and transported to site. Panels lying flat
invariably have to be lifted and handled into the vertical at some time.
Every effort should be made to minimise the stresses which are induced
into the GRC during lifting operations (Fig 6.3). This is achieved by
the careful positioning of lifting points, use of lifiing frames, rotating
tables and avoidance of snatch by the lifting equipment.

If a panel weighs more than 40 to 45 kg it becomes difficult for t\vo


men to handle and so fixings must then be provided for lifiing the
panels.

3 6

7.

Materials and Durability

Fixings are invariably located in damp environments. Most ferrous


Tite use of mild steel
metals will corrode in these conditions and this can lead not only to
frrirrgs
shorrMbe
unsightly staining of the building material but also to structural damage.
nvoided txcept in
Corroded mild steel will laminate and expand to over four times its
dry conditionsoriginal thickness. This expansion would obviously have a devastating
effect on GRC panels.
The two most common reasons for any metal fixing to not live up to
expectations regarding corrosion resistance are:
a.

b.

Incorrect assessment of the environment or exposure to


unexpected conditions, e.g. unsuspected contamination by
chloride ions.
The way in which the materials are joined, stressed or treated
may introduce conditions not envisaged in the initial assessment.

Pitting is a localised form of corrosion which can occur as a result of


exposure to specific environments, most notably those containing
chlorides. In most structural applications, the extent of pitting is likely
to be superficial and the reduction in section thickness o f a component
is negligible. However, corrosion products can stain architectural
features.

7.1

Galvanised Fixings

Galvanising to BS729 will greatly increase the life span of the fixing.
All galvanised components have a finite life, directly proportional to the
thickness of the zinc coating. Early corrosion can occur if this coating
Welding of galvarr ised
is damaged during handling. A number of buildings are now being
f
x i n g s on site sltould
designed with a minimum functional life of 60 years. It is doubtful if
be avoided witertever
galvanising will provide the necessary protection.
possible.

7.2

Stainless Steel Fixings

Stainless steel fixings are widely used for their durability and long life.
They are generally very corrosion resistant and will perform
satisfactorily in most environments. The corrosion resistance of a given
grade of stainless steel depends upon its constituent elements and so
each grade exhibits a slightly different response when exposed to the
same corrosive environment. Consequently, care is needed to select the
most appropriate grade of stainless steel for a given application.
Generally, the higher the level of corrosion resistance required, the
greater the cost of the material e.g. Grade 3 16 steel costs about a third
more than Grade 304.
3 7

The main benefits of using stainless steel fixings are:

Low Maintenance Costs

a)

Stainless steel components do not need painting or a protective coating.


Stainless steel is, therefore, an obvious choice of material for fisings
which are inaccessible (positioned out of sight, embedded in building
material or underground) or those which would be difficult or
expensive to replace.

Compliance with Client Requirements, Codes


of Practice or Building Control.

b)

Some codes of practice specifically recommend the use of stainless


steel fixings in certain situations. Stainless steel, copper and copperbased alloys are the only recommended materials in BS562S : Part 3 :
19SS for fixings in masonry buildings over three storeys in height.

c)

Total Life Cost

Greater importance is now being attached to the significance of total


life-cycle costing because of the high costs of maintenance, shut-down,
demolition and replacement of parts. Experience has shown that the
benefits of a long life with zero maintenance and repair requirements
more than compensate for the higher material cost of stainless steel.
Some stainless steel fixings are no more expensive than other metals of
comparable durability.

Non-magnetic Properties

Non-magnetic fixings may be required in defence installations, medical


buildings where magnetic scanners are used, runway calibration pads
for the aircraft industry or transformer bases. Austenitic stainless
steels are generally non-magnetic but may become slightly magnetic
when cold-worked.
e)
Strength and Ductility
Cold and warm working can develop strengths in excess of
1000 N/mm2 in austenitic stainless steel components. Stainless steels
also exhibit good ductility and toughness, even after working.

3 8

Good High and Low Temperature Properties

Austenitic stainless steels retain high strength and good resistance to


corrosion and oxidation at elevated temperatures and perform better
than carbon steels. They are also one of the few steels to display good
ductility and resistance to impact at very low temperatures.

Ease of Removal
Fixings must sometimes be capable of being released without damaging
their surrounding components. However, rust and other corrosion
products may cause seizure and prevent fasteners from unscrewing.
Providing the correct grade of stainless steel has been chosen,
corrosion will not occur and fasteners can be removed without any
difficulty.

h)

Architectural Requirements e.g. Aesthetics

Although not normally a consideration for fixings, stainless steels can


undergo a number of different surface treatments including mirrorpolishing, abrading with different grit sizes, brushing, roll-texturing and
colouring.
There are many types of stainless steel available but only austenitic
stainless steel should be used for construction fixings. If there is a
known pitting hazard, a molybdenum bearing stainless steel will be
required to resist corrosion.
Grade 304 (1 8/8) is used for most fixings and offers sufficient
corrosion resistance for most building applications.
Grade 3 16 (1 8/10) is a high grade stainless steel which is generally
used for highly corrosive areas such as marine locations or highly
polluted industrial environments.

7.3

Other Metals

Other corrosion resisting metals from which fixings are generally made
are copper, phosphor bronze and aluminium bronze. When choosing
one of these metals, due consideration should be given to the following
properties:

3 9

a.
Stren,gh
Safe working stresses used in design should conform to the relevant
Standards.
b.

Workability

The chosen metal should be readily available and easily formed into
the required fixing. If this involves welding, the metal must be of a
suitable grade and composition.
Non-staining

C.

The fixing must not cause staining on the faces of the cladding panels.
Copper is a relatively weak material and is only used for restraint
fixings. It has a high resistance to corrosion but is liable to surface
oxidation if exposed to damp conditions. The relevant British
Standards for copper and copper based alloys are BS 2870, BS 2873
and BS 2874.
Phosphor bronze is produced by the addition of tin, phosphorus and
other alloys to copper. It has exceptional strength and corrosion
resistance. The use of this metal is covered by BS 1400, BS 2570, BS
2873, BS 2874 and BS 2875.

Aluminium bronze is similar to phosphor bronze but has additional


percentages of aluminium, iron, silicon and manganese. This alloy
does not stain under normal atmospheric conditions.
The use of mild steel is not recommended for fixings except in very dry
conditions and where the risk of corrosion is minimal.

7.4

Galvanic Corrosion

Galvanic corrosion may occur when two dissimilar metals are in


electrical contact in a common electrolyte (e.g. rain, condensation etc).
If a current flows between the two, the less noble metal (the anode)
corrodes at a faster rate than it would otherwise have done had the the
metals not been in contact.
The rate of corrosion also depends on the relative areas of the metals in
contact, the temperature and composition of the electrolyte. In
particular, the larger the area of the cathode in relation to that of the
anode, the greater the rate of attack. Adverse area ratios are likely to

4 0

occur at interfaces between fixings and the main support structure.


Carbon steel bolts in stainless steel members should be avoided
because the ratio of the stainless steel to the carbon steel is large and
the bolts will be subject to aggressive attack. Conversely, the rate of
attack of a carbon steel member by a stainless steel bolt is much
slower. It is usually helpful to draw on the experience of similar sites
because dissimilar metals can often be safely coupled under conditions
of occasional condensation or dampness with no adverse effects,
especially when the conductivity of the electrolyte is low.
The prediction of these effects is difficult because the corrosion rate is
determined by a number of complex issues. The use of potential tables
ignores the presence of surface oxide films and the effects of area
ratios and different solution (electrolyte) chemistry. Uninformed use
of these tables may produce erroneous results so they should be used
with care and only for an initial assessment.

In practice, austenitic stainless steels usually form the cathode in a


bimetallic couple and therefore do not suffer corrosion. An exception
is the couple with copper which should generally be avoided except
under benign conditions. Contact between austenitic stainless steels
and zinc or aluminium may result in some additional corrosion of the
latter two metals. This is unlikely to be structurally significant, but the
resulting whitelgrey powder may be deemed unsightly by some.
Bimetallic corrosion can be prevented by excluding water from the
detail ( e.g. by painting or taping over the assembled joint) or isolating
the metals from one another ( e.g. by painting the contact surfaces or
the dissimilar metals). Isolation around bolted connections can be
achieved by non-conductive plastic or rubber gaskets and nylon or
teflon washers and bushes. The installation of these isolators is very
time consuming and unless there is a high level of site supervision it is
not surprising that some are left out or not properly installed.
The general behaviour of metals in bimetallic contact in rural, urban,
industrial and coastal environments is fully documented in P D 6186,
Commentary on corrosion at bimetallic contacts and its alleviation.
Table 7.1 gives some general guidance as to metals which should not
be placed in direct contact with one another.
Ekamples of tlr e
m e of isolntitig
sleeves arid
washers are given
in Section 5.

4 1

7.5

Crevice Corrosion

Crevice corrosion is a localised form of attack which is initiated by the


extremely low availability of oxygen in a crevice. It is only likely to be
a problem in stagnant solutions where a build-up of chlorides can
occur. Crevices typically occur between nuts and washers, around the
thread of a screw or around the shank of a bolt. Crevices can also
occur in welds which fail to penetrate, under deposits on the steel
surface and under iron particles embedded in the surface of the steel
Table 7.1

J
X

May be used lcqelher in oll csndilians

Musl no1 be used in contocl


May be used lqelher in dry cmdilims

7.6

Stress Corrosion Cracking

The development of stress corrosion cracking requires the simultaneous


presence of tensile stresses and specific environmental factors unlikely
to be encountered in normal building atmospheres. The stresses do not
need to be very high in relation to the proof stress of the material and
may be due to loading, residual effects from manufacturing processes
(such as welding, bending) or wedging action of corrosion products
growing in a crack.

4 2

Typical Examples

8..

n ~ MLOEO
n TO RHS suPPou

r-sccms KLOEO ro PHS sLppwr

10 FROWN iOP RESRAlNl FCR

TO FROWDE GOTTCU SUPPORT FOR

RC PANELS
C K BAllUSiRADES

:ROKLlEO SURFACE

CRC BAUU

SHUITCREO SURFACE

ENLARGED SECTION 1 - 1

ENLARGED SECTION 2-2

r
00000<
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O$$$$&

000000
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7
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1

ELEVATION

Figure 8.1 -Typical Details of Ballustrade

Figure 8.1 illustrates a simple but effective method of fixing GRC


ballustrade panels.
This method of fixing facilitates easy placing and removal of the panels
(if damaged in service) and also provides the necessary degrees o f
freedom.

The designer must


check the strengtli
of the partels across
the ivrnkrst sectioir(s)
f o r demoiilding,
lifting, wind etc.

4 3

PACKS (IF REOD)

' /

PTFE PACKS

BLOCKWORK CONSTRUCTED AFTER


~ X ~ NGRC
G PANELS

PLAN

ENLARGED VIEW
OF FIXING BOLTED
TO WEB OF
COLUMN

Figure 8.2

- Typical fixings to UC

Figure 8.2 illustrates a method of fixing GRC wall and column


cladding to main UC supports. The oversize holes should be made as
large as possible to allow for any discrepancies in location of the castin sockets.

4 4

Tlie desigrter sliorild


clieck flint the
vertical deflectiorts
of the cantilever
support angles,
bolted to the web
of tlie UC,are rtot
excessive iti order
to avoid problems
witli frvirtg of the
partels.

AEYOVALXE SHUTTER

'
0

L "

FOLDING SHUTTER

Figure 8.3

- Typical support details for thin-walled GRC box


beams

Figure 8.3 illustrates the folding shutter method of forming thin-walled


GRC box beams for pergolas and other similar constructions. The
simple metal shoe support facilitates easy fixing and provides the
necessary tolerances and degrees of freedom for the beams.

O d y light londs
(plants,foliage etc)
sfioiild be supported
ott the GRC bo-v
beams.

4 5

\
PTFE PACKS

SUPPORTING
FRAME

' ,1
GRC PANEL

APPROVED
SEALANT
/
CAST-IN PLATE

11

OVERSIZED HOLES
SUPPORT~NGU,

PACKING AS

APPROVED SEALANT

'GRC

PANEL

FRAME

SECTION 1-1
Figure 8.4

SECTION

- Typical Details of Canopy Construction

Figure 8.4 illustrates details ofa typical canopy clad in GRC. The
inherent strength of the construction lies in the internal steelwork
support system.

4 6

2-2

The top unit may


have to be designed
to withstand access
loading for cleaning
etc and may,
therefore, require
crtra stiyfeners.

GRC UNIT

APPROMD
SEALANT

GRC THICKENED END FLANGE


SUPPORTED ON TEE BRACKETS

PACKING (IF REOUIRED)

RESTRAINT FIXING AT
JOINTS BETWEEN GRC
UNITS, BOLTED TO
R.C. BEAM

Figure 8.5

Cornice Detail

GRC cornice units (Figure 8.5) can be manufactured to look like solid
stone equivalents and have the obvious advantages of being much
lighter in weight and easier to fix.

Access for clearrirrg


etc orito the
coristrrictiort
illiistrnted above
sltoiild m b e allowed

4 7

APPROMD
SEALANT

ziors A T som
ENDS FOR flXlNGS

,
i

U-SHAPED. WALL CAPPING FORMED


MTH FOLDING SHUTTER

Figure 8.6

- Coping Unit

The novel, folding shutter technique can be used to manufacture Ushaped coping units as illustrated in Figure 8.6. A special device is
required for turning the units after demoulding. On site, a calliper type
of lifting cradle can be used to place the units.

4 8

Holding-doivti fuitigs
may not be reqiiired
iftlte weights of the
iitiits are siifficietit
to provide the
necessary F of S
ugaittst iipiijt.

TEMPORARY ANGLE FOR

CUT-OUTS IN FLOOR SLAB


TO ACCOMMODATE STUD
FRAME SUPPORTS WllH
LEVELLING SCREWS

Figure 8.7

- GRC Stud Frame Spandrel Panels

Figure 8.7 illustrates the following possible requirements for large,


stud-frame spandrel panels:
a.

stiffening ofreturn soffits

b.

supports with levelling screws (in lieu of packs)

c.

temporary anchorages to assist in erection.

Rain checks, insulation and internal construction(s) have not been


shown for clarity.
4 9

SERRATE0 TOP flXlNG PLATE


WlRl SLOTTED HOLE AT R I
ANGLES TO AXIS Of CAST-IN
CHANNEL A 8 0 M

IN TO
HORSESHOE PACKS

L I C H ~ l c H T .RHS SUP
fRAME fOA GRC CLAD(
PANELS

\ .

,fRAME

GRC FASCIA PANEL


ANGLE WELDED
TO 8OTrOM flANGE
SLOTTED HOLES
FOR ADJUSTMENT

SECTION 1-1

Figure 8.8 - GRC Fascia Panels for Bridge Deck

Fascia panels on bridge decks must be easy to replace in case they are
damaged by traffic (or other forces) whilst in service. Face fixing
offers one option but creates difficulties in hiding the fixings. The
method illustated in Figure 8.8 overcomes this problem and also
facilitates easy replacement of the p'anels.
Careful choicejs) of materials must be made for this construction with
respect to maintenance periods and expected life of the bridge.
All bolt fixings should have locking nuts and be hot dipped galvanised
or, even better, stainless steel with isolating washers and sleeves.
Clearly, the design of the GRC panels and RHS support frames tnust
ensure that the system is light enough to be manually lifted, pushed and
rotated into position.

The adverse effects of


vibration arid
fatigue shoiild be
considered it1
designitig the fkitigs.

RFT USED FOR STIFFENER


(ONLY ONE SHOWN FOR \
CLARITY - WITHOUT
BONDING PADS)

RSA SUFPORT BOLTED


OR VELDED TO UC

\COMBINED

APPROVED SEALANT

DOWEL CONNECTION

(SEE FIG 5.5 IN TEXT)

I
I

I
HORIZONTAL SLOTTED HOLES IN
RSA TO FACILIATE AOJUSTUENT

~~

~~

Figure 8.9 - Column Cladding

Combined dowel connections can be used to advantage to hide the


fixings for column cladding as shown in Figure S.9.

5 1

TheGRCAwishtothankBSCP, Consulting

!i '

Mte: Althozzgh theGlassfihreReinforced


Cement Associatian does i t s best to
ensure that anyadvice, recamendatian
or infozmatian it may give i s accurate,
mliabilityarzzspnsibilityofanykid
(includiqliabiIiQ62mgIigence)is
acceptedin t h i s respect by the

::

Assuciatian, itsservantsaragents.

5 2