ETAG 27 Guidelines

What You Need to Know

Since 2008, the testing and certification of rockfall catchment fences has been carried out under a European-wide harmonized guideline published by the European Organisation for Technical Approvals entitled ETAG 27: Guideline for European Technical Approval of Falling Rock Protection Kits. All producers servicing the European market must adhere to this framework and due to the lack of other internationally recognized certifications, ETAG 27 is the most widely implemented certification for rockfall catchment fences throughout the world. The end product of successful testing and certification is a CE-marked product. It should be noted the certification is not an application guideline or performance evaluation and only guarantees a minimum level of testing and quality control has been carried out. For more practical information, please refer to other guidelines (e.g. ONR 24810).


The primary aspects of ETAG 27 deal with test setup and methodology, certification requirements, and compulsory documentation. Some highlights are:

  • Both vertical and inclined test setups are allowed
  • Testing must be carried out on a system made of 3 functional modules
  • Test procedures are valid for systems of 100 kJ capacity and greater
  • A Maximum Energy Level (MEL) test and two Service Energy Level (SEL) tests are required (with the exception of SEL tests for 100 kJ systems)
  • The MEL, SEL, residual height category, maximum elongation, peak forces and a description of damages following tests shall be reported
  • No ground contact is allowed until the projectile has stopped all forward movement (i.e. the maximum elongation of the system has been reached)
  • The system height may only be increased by 0.5 m for systems tested below 4 m height and by 1 m for those tested at 4 m height or more
  • A system may never be produced at a height below the as-tested height
  • Any significant change from the as-tested system, such as steel profile thickness, wire rope diameter, etc. are not allowed and result in the loss of CE-marking

Certification Process

Testing for systems according to ETAG 27 guidelines is carried out at facilities in Erzberg, Austria by an independent approval body. The body is responsible for the initial type-testing and inspection of the factory and production control. They are also responsible for the on-going supervision and assessment of production control and the issuance of the certificate of conformity.


EOTA (2008) ETAG 27: Guideline for European Technical Approval of Falling Rock Kits. 2008. Brussels, Belgium.