ACMA, an American National Standards (ANS) developer, has issued a new Fiberglass Grating Manual Standard to educate engineers, designers and end-users about the properties, performance and uses of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) grating. FRP grating, a composite material manufactured by combining a matrix of resin and fiberglass, is used in many different industries, from walkways in industrial plants to flooring on ships to decorative grids on commercial and residential buildings. FRP grating is durable, light weight and corrosion resistant, making it preferable to steel, which can rust and corrode in extreme environments. To purchase the standard, please contact cct@acmanet.org.

Aldred D’Souza, P.E., Director of Engineering/Design at Fibergrate Composite Structures, Inc., and Gregory Bond, P.E., Structural Engineer at Strongwell – Chatfield Division, are members of ACMA’s Fiberglass Grating Manufacturers Council. Interviews spoke with them to learn more about the new standard.

What is the most significant aspect of the Fiberglass Grating Manual Standard and how will this help open and expand markets?

D’Souza: There is now a ‘national standard’ for FRP grating. An ANSI-approved standard provides credibility to the use of FRP grating with specifying engineers and designers. With more FRP grating being specified for a larger number of applications, overall market growth is inevitable.

Bond: The manual informs engineers and users of the capabilities of FRP grating. FRP grating can carry loads similar to steel grating and has the ability to function much better in corrosive environments when compared to steel grating. The benefits to the public that will result from this standard include: 1) an ANSI standard to which engineers and designers can confidently specify fiberglass grating, and 2) faster adoption of fiberglass grating into the model building codes as a traditional building material.

Why is the standard needed?

D’Souza: The standard provides a benchmark for FRP grating performance and provides an understanding of grating manufacturing processes, grating product standards and grating installation.

Bond: The standard is needed to communicate to engineers, contractors, and owners that FRP grating is a viable alternative to steel grating and is actually the better choice in many applications. The availability and ease of installation should alleviate concerns about using a “premium” product.

The Fiberglass Grating Manual has three components: What is the significance of each component? Why is this important for designers, engineers and specifiers?

D’Souza: The load tables provide a quick reference for engineers to compare the performance of different FPR gratings. The code of standard practice represents generally accepted standard practice in the fiberglass grating industry. The standard grating specification provides guidance to the specifying engineer and procurement agent and maintains a level playing field for all grating manufacturers.