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Standards
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Standards for climbing walls
Pyramide initiated the very first standards regarding the safety of the artificial climbing walls (French AFNOR standards). Pyramide is also at the origin of the constitution of the European Standardizing Committee for the climbing walls (CEN standard) and has been an active member in these committees.
You will find hereafter the main standards.
European standard BS EN 12572 - December 1998
"Artificial climbing structures - Protection points, stability requirements and test methods"
CEN members : Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom
Obligations contained* :
1) For the climbing walls with protection/belay points
> position of the first protection point : maximum height not to exceed 3.10 m (10')
> position of the following protection point : the maximum distance from the first point is determined by using the following formula :
(height of the point beneath + 2 m (6' 4")) / 5
And so on, till the top of the routes.
> establishing a stability calculation for the structure, specific to the installation (table of loads to be used contained in the standard) and supply of impact test reports of standard surface elements
> proof testing upon completion of a climbing wall : progressive loading until 800 Kg (1,764 lbs) of the first 3 protection points of each climbing route, and of all the top-rope protection points (refer to the complete text of the standard for the collective top-rope systems like belay bars, or for the ground protection points).
> marking of the ACS (and compulsory mentions : manufacturer, maximum authorized number of climbers on the ACS, date of proof testing, etc…)
> supply of an instruction manual for the ACS.
2) For the climbing walls without protection/belay points
> establishing a stability calculation for the structure, specific to the installation (table of loads to be used contained in the standard) and supply of impact test reports of standard surface elements
> marking of the ACS (and compulsory mentions : manufacturer, maximum authorized number of climbers on the ACS, etc…)
> supply of an instruction manual for the ACS.
* this is not a copy of the standard : ask for a copy of the standard from the BSI (British Standardizing Insitute) for a full information
CWIG's specifications (USA) - August 1993
"Specifications for Artificial Climbing Walls"
(This is a note written by the Climbing Wall Industry Group. Warning : this note does not have the status of a standard).
Obligations contained* :
> the vertical distance between 2 protection points shall not be greater than 2 meters (6'-6 3/4") > testing of the protection anchors (individual belay points) for resistance (on a sample)
- test for radial resistance : loading at 2,000 daN (4,400 lbs) 5 times for 5 seconds, with a 10 second rest between applications of the force.
- test for axial resistance : loading at 2,000 daN (4,400 lbs) 5 times for 5 seconds, with a 10 second rest between applications of the force.
> testing of the belay anchors (top rope belay points) for resistance (on a sample)
- test for vertical resistance : loading at 2,000 daN (4,400 lbs) 5 times for 5 seconds, with a 10 second rest between applications of the force, then application of a 2,000 daN (4,400 lbs) force with an angle of 12.5 degrees.
(refer to the complete text of the specifications for the collective top-rope systems like belay bars, or for the ground protection points).
> marking of the ACW (and compulsory mentions : manufacturer, date of installation, etc…)
> instructions for the maintenance, etc
> table of loads
* this is not a copy of the CWIG specifications : ask for a copy of the specifications from the ORCA (Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America) for a full information
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Check and maintenance climbing walls
You have a climbing wall which has been installed in a European country before May 15th, 1999 (date of coming into effect of the BS EN12572 standard), and you would like to check whether it can be used in all safety ? Whether it complies with the standards in force ?
You have a recent climbing wall which has been proof tested in compliance with the European standard BS EN 12572 (after May 15th, 1999) and you would like a safety check on it ?
You may refer to the manual supplied by the installer of the wall to undertake the check and maintenance works yourself.
If you do not wish to take the responsibility for the maintenance works, or if you do not have the "in house" resources to undertake them, Pyramide , as a professional specialist company since 1987, offers you inspection and maintenance services for your climbing wall, whether it is from our company or from another company or brand.
Warning : If you decide to use a contractor to undertake maintenance works or updating your wall to conform to the standards, you must check :
- whether the contractor has the necessary skills and experience ;
- whether the contractor has a liability insurance in force, covering explicitly this type of works, and whether the coverage is sufficient.

In the case of the contractor updating the wall to conform with the standards, organizing on site proof testing of the climbing wall is not enough to declare the wall conforms to the standards : it is only one of the requirements (see below §2 "Services provided to update the climbing wall to conform to the standard").

Selection of services offered by Pyramide :
1) Expert appraisal and quality assessment
> check the position of the protection points
> check whether the load acceptance of the elements composing the protection points is adequate
> check of the fixings of the protection points
> check whether the load acceptance of the support structure is adequate
> check of the fixings of the support structure
> check of the aging of the structure elements
> check of the condition of the surface elements (panels or surface, holds)
> check of the overall safety of the climbing wall in its immediate environment
2) Services provided to update the climbing wall to conform to the standard
> establish a stability calculation
> partial or total replacement of the protection points
> reinforcement of the support structure
> proof testing of the protection points (according to standard BS EN 12572)
> supply of a report and of a certificate of conformity
3) Maintenance inspections
> check of the protection points and replacement whenever necessary
> check of the fixings of the protection points and replacement whenever necessary
> check of the support structure
> check of the fixings of the support structure and replacement whenever necessary
> check of the fixings of the panels and replacement whenever necessary
> check of the condition of the surface components (panels or surface, holds)
> check of the individual protection gears (harnesses, ropes, etc…)
> check of the overall safety of the climbing wall in its immediate environment
> supply of a detailed report after each inspection
Pyramide guarantees :
> endorsed specialist inspectors, trained for safety issues ;
> safety recommendations and advice whenever necessary
> Pyramide organizes and plans the inspection schedule over the year or over several years if you choose to sign a maintenance inspection agreement.
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  Pyramide 's recommendation :
 
1 - all safety points of the climbing wall must be inspected at least once a year
 
 
2 - systematically plan an adapted crash/landing area for each climbing wall (mats, gravel or other) to smoothen the landing
 
 
3 - the landing surface must be continuous (no gap between 2 mats for example)
 
 
4 - draw a red line just beneath the first row of protection points and place a notice board to forbid climbing above that line without adequate rope belaying
 
 
5 - place a highly visible information and good practice recommendation board near the climbing wall
 
 
6 - put all walls built in Europe before May 15th, 1999 in conformity with the standard BS EN 12572 (which is the date of coming into effect). Even if the standard is not compulsory, the owner of the wall must be aware of all current standards and will be held responsible for such, in the event of a court case for an accident occurring on his climbing wall.
 
 
Testing of a belay point.