Smart questions
Smart answers
Smart people
Join Eng-Tips Forums

Member Login

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Join Us!

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips now!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

Join Eng-Tips
*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.
Jobs from Indeed

Link To This Forum!

Partner Button
Add Stickiness To Your Site By Linking To This Professionally Managed Technical Forum.
Just copy and paste the
code below into your site.

Bedrock1977 (Structural) (OP)
6 Aug 09 16:34
I know that Hilti makes a wide selection of different anchor systems.  It seems that the traditional anchor bolts have been the design choice for all types of construction.

When it comes to residential, would you consider using Hilti anchors for anchoring the column baseplates to the supporting footing pads or are the traditional anchor bolts better for that?  How about anchoring the sill plate to the foundation wall?
H57 (Structural)
6 Aug 09 17:10
Both can be acceptable if designed properly.  I will generally allow for drilled and epoxied anchors for columns and sill plates.  The size and embed depth will vary depending on the loads and conditions.
eit09 (Civil/Environmental)
6 Aug 09 17:16
As H57 stated both are acceptable if designed properly. As for drilled and epoxy, I spech out the Hilti epoxy but just give the grade of anchor so customer has option to compare pricing between different anchor suppliers.
Helpful Member!(2)  archeng59 (Structural)
6 Aug 09 18:11
I wish Hilti and other manufacturers had never invented the epoxy and adhesive anchors.   
msquared48 (Structural)
6 Aug 09 18:19
Check the manufacgturer's fine print closely, as some afterset anchors are not suitable for vibratory loads, including seismic loads.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

Helpful Member!  rowingengineer (Structural)
6 Aug 09 18:26
While I do agree these anchors are heavily over used onsite, they are very good option for cyclic/fatigue load conditions like wind, if you have to use a post-installed option. I like cast-in anchors the most.

I do not like to use mechanical anchors in wind applications due to the displacement in the concrete required to get ultimate strength conditions, and since you often have alternating loading conditions (ie tension to compression) mechanical anchors if loading past slip condition will fail very quickly.


When in doubt, just take the next small step.

asixth (Structural)
6 Aug 09 20:50
With good workmanship cast-in anchors are preferred however we do get phone calls from builders who don't get them in the right position and then we have to go with the post-installed anchor option.
BAretired (Structural)
6 Aug 09 22:39

Please enlarge on your earlier comment.  Why do you wish there were no epoxy or adhesive anchors?


Bedrock1977 (Structural) (OP)
7 Aug 09 8:23
Ok, I see now.  What are some of the reasons for choosing the use a grouted base plate over a plate resting directly on a footing pad?
Lion06 (Structural)
7 Aug 09 8:58
The grouted baseplate allows the G.C. to get it level to accept the column.  Rarely is the top of a footing level enough to accept a column properly.  
BAretired (Structural)
7 Aug 09 9:53
Grout also allows for minor adjustment of elevation.


boo1 (Mechanical)
7 Aug 09 10:47
Biggest issues I see in residential anchor bolts are short bolts, and missing anchors in interior load bearing walls and high truss/girder uplift connection.  Wish they were properly placed, but some times there missing.   
KCRatnayake (Structural)
7 Aug 09 12:46
In the region I'm practising, post-installed anchors are considered as somewhat expensive system than cast-in-situ anchors. But, in my openion, there are number of advantages you can gain when using post-installed anchors.

* No need to do tedious setting outs. Just do the casting and then fasten. Cast-in-situ anchor positions might change during concrete operations
* Rapid construction. E.g. No need to keep starter bars from columns for lintels etc.

* Close edge distance, distance between anchors etc. will reduce load carrying capacities
* Mechanical anchors exert pressure on base material when tightening
* Force-displacement curve is better in cast-in-situ anchors

There will be a bigger list.....

archeng59 (Structural)
7 Aug 09 12:51
BAretired, because contractors will purposely omit installing anchor bolts because they want to use the post-installed anchors instead.  Those products certainly can be used, but the workmanship issues are horrendous and the anchors are rarely installed properly.  Also, contractors regularly want to omit dowels for CMU walls and use the epoxy/adhesive to install the dowels instead of using cast-in-place dowels.
BAretired (Structural)
7 Aug 09 14:00
archeng59, I don't recall running into that problem in fifty years of practice.  If anchor bolts are shown on the drawing, the contractor has always installed them.  But when a bolt is required in existing concrete or the bolts are installed incorrectly, the adhesive anchors are very handy.


Ron (Structural)
7 Aug 09 14:01
Considering the quality of residential construction as compared to commercial construction, the lack of training of the individuals doing the work, and the tendency of residential contractors to not understand structural necessity, I would stay away from expansion or epoxy anchors for such applications.

Make them put in the anchor bolts properly.  Get really stubborn once or twice and have them tear out a footing and re-place the concrete if the bolts don't align...they'll learn how to do it right eventually.

Use leveling nuts and good grout for the baseplates.  Keep in mind...residential contractors don't know diddly about steel prepared to hold their hands a lot.
JoshPlum (Structural)
7 Aug 09 14:44
I understand where Archeng59 is coming from.  In the industrial world we deal with a similar issue related to epoxy anchors.  But, that's usually related to conflicts between the design schedule and the construction schedule.  

We may not have the final equipment drawings yet. We may not even know which vendor is going to provide the equipment.  Yet we are asked to provide final foundation drawings under the assumption that they can go ahead and pour the foundations as long as they can go back and use the post-installed anchors to correct for any issue.  

It's a bit more stressful to have to rely on that sort of thing. (hence the sympathy with ArchEng59).  But, it also allows us to absolutely impress clients with our ability to meet a demanding schedule.  

Helpful Member!  archeng59 (Structural)
7 Aug 09 16:49
BA, all I can do is speak about my own experiences.  Ron, I have required that the contractor remove and replace misplaced anchors or to install the cast-in-place anchors shown on the drawings.  The contractor goes crying to the owner that I'm delaying the project with unreasonable requirements because Hilti's products can be used.  When the owner calls and demands that I approve the epoxy/adhesive anchors so it won't delay his date of occupancy, what can I do except explain why I don't approve them?  Not much.  I then require that a special inspector observe the installation and provide a report.  For some reason, this scenario has occurred several times on more than one project during the last couple of years.  And not just on my projects, as I'm finding out.  Aggravating.
Ron (Structural)
7 Aug 09 16:55
archeng59...I agree with you!  Most of the time you don't have the luxury of being an a$$, but it sure is nice when you can get that point across.'s aggravating.  Contractor always sounds better to the owner than we do.
hokie66 (Structural)
8 Aug 09 7:06
Another vote cast with archeng59.  If not for post-installed bolts, contractors would have to actually take some care in setting out their cast in bolts.  There are a  lot of reasons post-installed bolts are not as good as cast in.  Drilled in bolts depend heavily on installation workmanship and inspection, while cast in bolts just have to be in the right place.  Most epoxy bolts are subject to creep (Big Dig tunnel ceiling).
Helpful Member!  JedClampett (Structural)
8 Aug 09 12:08
I agree with all of you that say that contractors are using post installed anchors as a crutch to avoid planning ahead.  And they're not as good as cast in place.
But I've had projects where if it wasn't for drilled and epoxied reinforcing dowels, I don't know what I would of done.  Say I'm adding a concrete structure to another structure and an expansion joint is not feasible.  And contractors, not being completely stupid (lazy is another story), realize if I'm anchoring a concrete wall using epoxy, what's the big deal about a couple of ledgers?
So we have to take the good with the bad.
EEJaime (Electrical)
8 Aug 09 17:04
I am coming from the Electrical side of building construction.  We do Healthcare, Civic and Educational projects.  Our anchorage and seismic bracing details are reviewed by the State and Local Agencies and we utilize a lot of Hilti equipment.  They have many pre-approved systems that are used for many types of equipment anchorage.  It is almost a given that the Hilti "Kwik-bolt III" will appear on all of our work.  These are an afterset anchor but it does not use epoxy.  I am sure you are familiar with this or something like it.  I was curious as to the discussion regarding post installed bolts did not include these?  Are these too expensive for residential construction?  Or is there another reason?

My switchgear, generator, transformer, conduit trapeze, and all manner of equipment anchorage specifications and details have called for these for many years.  I've got thousands of these things installed. The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and The Division of the State Architect's Structural Engineers as well as our in-house Structural Engineers favor these.  Perhaps not being structural myself, I've misunderstood the message in this thread.  I was just curious and thought I would ask an oponion of the experts.
slickdeals (Structural)
8 Aug 09 17:52
All of you have raised valid points regarding the workmanship of post-installed anchors.

Do you have any performance specs indicating "x" percentage of all post-installed anchors must me qualified. I note that ACI has a publication for qualification of post-installed anchors.

How many of you have or have thought of including pull tests to be done on a certain percentage of post-installed anchors? Maybe that will help contractors to bring their "A" game during installing the anchors. If the thing pulls out well before capacity is reached, its on their pocket to get it right.
EEJaime (Electrical)
8 Aug 09 18:10
We have seen spec's for 10% of post-installed anchors being tested.  We had one particular out-of-this-world OSHPD inspector have 100% of these anchors tested.  Contractor was not amused.  Especially as the testing was specified to be "as required by the AHJ".
rowingengineer (Structural)
8 Aug 09 18:11
I require a certification of installation to the hilti/ramset guidelines (This has the added advantage ensuring the anchor is installed by a tradesmen not a labour), Plus proof loading for minimum 5% selected by myself (I would say at random, But I do like to select ones that are in heavy tension). However, if you only have say 3-10 chemical anchors onsite, enforcing this spec is impossible.

I also have a question regarding cast-in anchors, what is the standard tolerance provided in connection? I generally aim for +/-40mm, what does everyone else aim for?

What you are referring to is a mechanical post installed anchor. These are good for situation where loading is required almost immediately after installation, However as noted by msquared48 these anchors can have problems with cyclic loadings, and to minimise the effect of this they generally have a torque that must be applied to ensure no movement during loading. They are also more expensive generally, and have a lag time on ordering. I generally find these have less problems then chemical anchors due to the fact that a tradesmen not a labour has to install, due to the use of a torque wrench.  

When in doubt, just take the next small step.

EEJaime (Electrical)
8 Aug 09 18:18
Thank you rowingengineer,
We use these on heavy vibrating equipment such as generators and fire pumps, specifically for the seismic bracing of the equipment with the vibration isolation mounts and seismic restraints.  msquared48's post specifically states that these are the types of loads he would not recommend these anchors for.  Does this concern apply to both epoxy and mechanical type after-set anchors?
Helpful Member!  sandman21 (Structural)
8 Aug 09 18:51
Hilti Kwik-bolt III is the incorrect bolt for taking seismic forces; from the ICC report "The Hilit Kwik Bolt 3 Concrete Anchor (KB3) is used to resist static and wind, tension and shear loads in uncracked normal-weight concrete".  There are certain anchors that can take seismic forces, Hilti KB-TZ ICC ESR-1917, is one anchor; I remember there is an issue about vibration loading.  Epoxy anchors can also be used to resist seismic forces but again only certain types, Hilti HIT-RE 500-SD Adhesive Anchors can be used.  Help the SE out change the detail to a bolt that can take seismic forces in cracked concrete, these details always show up the day before the project gets resubmitted.   
rowingengineer (Structural)
8 Aug 09 18:58
rowingengineer (Structural)
8 Aug 09 19:08
going to fast make a mistake, heer is your bolt
Kwik III

When in doubt, just take the next small step.

EEJaime (Electrical)
8 Aug 09 19:38
First, my apologies to the OP for hijacking this thread. It was an excellent question that brought another important question to mind. rowinengineer and sandman21, you have been extremely helpful and I appreciate it.  I am going to revise my specifications and details to incorporate the HSL anchor, it is clearly a superior selection for my applications.  I am sure our SE's will approve.

My co-workers often limit their participation in these fora to their own discipline, but it is these forays into semi-related or peripherally related fields that often, as today, prove most useful.

Again thank you and regards,
rowingengineer (Structural)
8 Aug 09 20:22
I nearly missed Hokie66 reference to the Big Dig Boston ceiling collapse after taking a look at some articles on the web and a previous thread  thread507-159632: Big Dig Boston ceiling collapse

I think the Big Dig Bosten has made me rethink my saftey factor for design, and the amount of tests required.  

When in doubt, just take the next small step.

DRC1 (Civil/Environmental)
9 Aug 09 20:22
I have used mechanical and epoxy bolts for many years. I prefer hilti becuse they have the best engineering data availble and have very good quality and consistent product. They will also answer any technical questions you have for your application. Although hilti quick bolts are not reccomended for siesmic, in many areas and applications that is not an issue.
Hilti anchors are not cheap, and generally it is cheaper to set traditional bolts than use hilti bolts.
Finally the perception that epoxy is an inferior product due to the big dig is not true. The epoxy used was a temporary epoxy not suited to long term use due to a tendency to creep. Further the material was used in an overhead application which is not the best use for epoxy. (a good application for cast in place bolts) Finally the panel loads were supported by five bolts and the loads were distributed by diagonals that were tightened or lossened by turnbukles to adjust the panels, so the load in the bolts was indeterminate. In the end the epoxy manufacterer who supplied the epoxy to a reseller and sold it under a different label took the hit. However I believe this had more to do with a ability to pay rather than truth or justice.
sandman21 (Structural)
10 Aug 09 16:53
Had a Hilti Rep. in today asked about which anchor he would choose for a typical mech. unit slab on grade for seismic loads, the TZ is the preferred, then HSL.
wannabeSE (Civil/Environmental)
11 Aug 09 23:19
In regards to pull tests, our general notes have a section on post installed anchors that specifies pull tests consistent with OSHPD (California Hospitals) requirements. OSHPD has a Code Apllication Notice (CAN) for field testing post installed anchors ( )  
SLTA (Structural)
12 Aug 09 13:36
I work for a homebuilder and since we ship all over the world, we have historically specified epoxy anchors for sill plate and holddown anchors.  However, we're finding more and more jurisdictions are demanding special inspections on all epoxy use and this has become a bit intense for a straightforward house.  We're planning to switch to a mechanical screw anchor for standard sill plate anchorage but will likely stick with epoxy anchors for the special hardware as required.

(and as a side note - as a woman, am I allowed to read EEJaime's posts?  lol)
EEJaime (Electrical)
12 Aug 09 14:59

My apologies.  I am used to my home forum, (electrical), where as far I can recall, at least in the past two years, we have not had a female member that is a regular participant.  I should know that this is different in other disciplines.  Even in the last 30 years of working in this business, I can probably still count on one hand the number of women that I've met whom are electrical engineers.  Many Architects, Lighting designers, product representatives, engineers of varied disciplines, Mechanical, but not electrical.

I guess I just fell into an industry that is not to the liking of many women.  Thank you for lighthearted response.  Apparently you are familiar with us that write without always thinking things all the way through.

Have a pleasant day,
rowingengineer (Structural)
12 Aug 09 17:03
when you say mechanical "screw" anchor do you mean like the "hilti Hus" anchor or equivalent? I have to be honest in all my years of practice i have never spec'd this type of anchor, I have always been put off by because they have to drill a hole and clean, but if the hole is oversized at all, the anchor capacity is reduced immensely.

When in doubt, just take the next small step.

archeng59 (Structural)
12 Aug 09 17:24
I have specified and used the HUS-H and Simpson Titen anchors many times successfully over the past couple of years.  Not for column anchor bolts problems, but other requirements where an anchor was needed in an existing concrete structure.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!

Back To Forum

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close