Why is Certification of Fibres Important to you and your project?
Fibres, whether they be natural, steel, synthetic or some other compound can be added into concrete. However, unless the fibres are specifically engineered and designed for addition into concrete, they may not be suitable and can cause issues with the concrete and not provide the performance required. Companies' world-wide manufacture plastic products and also manufacture synthetic fibres. These fibres are an off-shoot of the companies core business and are not designed or certified for use in concrete. The fibres can be made as simply as chopping up synthetic rope. They can even be made so that they are similar to certified ones for concrete - they are often a copy of fully certified and tested fibres such as FORTA FERRO®. Without certification and testing the specifier, the concrete company, contractors and project owner have no way of knowing if the claims made by the manufacturer and supplier of the “fibres” are true. Certification shows that the fibres meet the requirements of fibres for use in concrete.
The term Certified Concrete in NZ refers to concrete that is supplied from a concrete plant that has had an independent and rigorous audit of the plant’s quality systems. Therefore, certified concrete provides specifiers and purchasers of the concrete a guarantee of concrete quality. However, incorporating fibres of any type that are not independently certified and tested to meet the requirements of fibre reinforcement for concrete, undermines the certified concrete status. For the concrete supplier, fibres that are not certified and tested for use in concrete should not be used. The short-term results are not known and can result in air entrapment, significant slump changes, poor distribution of fibres and balling, mixing difficulties, etc. The performance claims made for non-certified fibres cannot be substantiated. For micro fibres these claims relate to plastic shrinkage cracking and post crack strength. For macro fibres, the claims mostly relate to the fibres performance in concrete replacing wire mesh or steel. Without independent testing and quality assurance audits of the fibre manufacturer, the concrete and therefore the project are put at risk, especially considering long-term performance as a requirement under the New Zealand building codes. Simply put; do not add fibres to concrete from any supplier in NZ that cannot provide independent, recognised certification details.
forta® certified fibres
FORTA® fibres are manufactured solely as concrete reinforcement fibres in a plant dedicated for this production. They are manufactured from 100% virgin polypropyelene or polymer (or a blend of previously manufactured fibres for some specific fibre types) and are therefore 100% stable in the alkaline concrete environment. FORTA® fibres are tested, certified for use in concrete and the plant is independently audited and therefore FORTA® fibres will not affect the status or quality of concrete supplied by a certified concrete plant in New Zealand. The fibre certifications and testing documents shown at the top of this page are applicable to FORTA® fibres - refer to the specific product data sheet for complete certification details.
declaration of performance
Fibres that are sold into Europe must be submitted for testing against EN 14889-2: 2006 "Polymer fibres—Definitions, specifications and conformity” This testing is carried out independently by the test organisation and a Declaration of Performance is provided showing that the fibre tested meets a range of characteristics, including performance in concrete. Furthermore, the declaration requires continuous surveillance, assessment and evaluation of the factory production processes. This is an expensive undertaking and ensure the claims made by FORTA® are independently verified. Because of the expense of the testing, the ongoing monitoring and the likelihood of poor results in both performance and manufacture if tested, the cheap fibres offered in New Zealand from suppliers do not have any declaration of performance. Therefore, these fibres should not be used in concrete for any projects requiring compliance with NZ building standards or where engineering calculations for performance as an alternative to steel reinforcing are made.
Fibre Reinforced Concrete Ltd: A division of Stratmore Construction Solutions Ltd