One of the most important aspects of installing the headstone is the fixing within the ground. There has been much publicity about the hazards of falling or unsecured headstones and recent health and safety legislations have been put in place, many unsafe headstones being laid down to prevent accidents.
It is the responsibility of the mason to assess the ground conditions and decide which is the most suitable foundation and fixing method to be used. There are certain recommended fixing methods which are detailed by NAMM’s code of practice, which have been tested by an independent structural engineer. Particular attention should be paid to the hole size and depth stops to ensure the fixing is not compromised. The most common fixing types which is being recommended by NAMM and adopted by masons is the anchor fixing.
There are various fixing methods depending on the ground conditions, headstone size etc. The method which is becoming one of the most popular is the ground anchor and is highly recommended by NAMM. This is where a ground anchor/steel bar runs from the foundation of the headstone deep into ground. With this method if a joint breaks the headstone will not fall down immediately it will need repairing but will only fall over if forced is used as opposed to falling on its own. You can also bolt the headstone again a reliable method using resin and stainless steel dowels.
Some headstones are placed on a concrete base and it is usual for the headstone to be re-leveled and your mason should come back and do 2 visits free of charge for re-leveling.
Cemeteries will now do regular checks on all the headstones in the cemetery and if a headstone needs fixing or replacing it will be down to the owner of the grave to take responsibility.
As long as the correct procedure is followed then the headstone should be securely fixed and not prove to be a hazard.
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