The Elite Project involved design temperatures of up to 40°C – a first for BBA – as well as higher-than-normal UV light exposure and pH values. The assessment was undertaken on behalf of ECO-EarthTec, a UAE-based company which develops technologies for the construction industry. Its latest innovation, EarthTrac, provides a Fasten Strap Reinforcement System for the building of reinforced soil-retaining walls and bridge abutments. To assess the system’s performance in the climatic extremes of the Middle East, BBA engineers devised a series of unusual tests in simulated desert conditions.
João Sousa, BBA Project Manager and Civil Engineer said: “BBA tests its systems in conditions which are as close to reality as possible. For this particular project we had to develop test methodologies to determine possible damage by the types of soil and application in the Middle East. It was the first time BBA had carried out an assessment for design temperatures up to 40°C.”
As part of the Elite Project, BBA’s rigorous assessment involved connection strength tests – carried out in extreme temperatures – to verify the efficiency of EarthTrac’s strap and other elements vital to reinforced soil-retaining construction, such as glass fibre reinforced polymer dowels and concrete facing panels. João Sousa added: “It was a challenging assessment. Creating a test environment using temperatures of up to 40°C was a milestone for BBA. Above all, however, it was the openness of BBA to its client’s needs that made this project so special and successful.”
BBA Certification is recognised by government departments and throughout the construction industry as a mark of quality, safety and reliability that a product is fit-for-purpose. Only products and systems that have passed a series of comprehensive assessments – including laboratory tests, on-site evaluations, quality management checks and inspections of production – are awarded an Agrément Certificate. Once a certificate has been issued, regular monitoring is carried out by the BBA to maintain its validity, followed by a comprehensive, three-yearly review.
Michael White, Director at ECO-EarthTec, was grateful to have been guided through the labyrinth of procedures and testing that their EarthTrac’s strap had to undergo and said that the BBA should be “proud” of its assessment process in relation to EarthTrac’s HAPAS Certificate 16/H252, he added: “BBA responded promptly to our application and its staff were excellent in facilitating the publication of the certificate.”