Did you know there’s a Fastener Quality Act

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry, including the passing of the Fastener Quality Act (FQA) of 1990. Amendments designed to clarify the rules and make it less burdensome were signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1999.

The FQA protects the public by:

  • Requiring fasteners to conform to the specifications in manufacturing
  • Providing for accreditation of laboratories testing fasteners
  • Requiring inspection, testing, and certification according to standard methods

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology with the US Department of Commerce, the amended Fastener Quality Act in 1999 protects against the sale of mismarked, misrepresented, and counterfeit fasteners, and eliminates unnecessary requirements.

Below are some interesting details of the Fastener Quality Act (Public Law 101-592 as amended in 1999) from the Industrial Fasteners Institute. Of course, to clarify any legal interpretations of the law, you should always contact your attorney.

The Definition of a Fastener

A fastener, include bolts, nuts, screws, and studs, must have all of the following elements:

  • It must be metallic
  • It must have internal or external threads 1/4 inch or 6 millimeters or larger or it must be a load-indicating washer
  • It must be through-hardened as required by a consensus standard
  • It must be made to a consensus standard that requires the parts to be marked with a grade identification

Exemptions Under the FQA

If a product meets ANY of the following conditions, it is NOT a fastener under the FQA and therefore exempt:

It is part of an assembly

It is a spare or repair part and is packaged in quantities of 75 or less

It is made according to ASTM A307 Grade A

It is made to ASTM F432

It is manufactured under the oversight and/or requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration

It is manufactured according to a “fastener quality assurance system” such as ISO 9001, ISO 9002, QS 9000, AS 9000, TS16949, or VDA 6.1 standard

It was manufactured before December 6, 1999

It is a part made to the proprietary standard. A proprietary standard is a document or drawing provided by a fastener end user to describe a part. The document or print may make direct or indirect reference to a consensus standard and still is considered a proprietary standard.

Other Provisions of FQA

Inch hex socket products are exempt from the FQA. But metric socket head cap screws are covered by the FQA. No stainless-steel socket products made to the inch or metric standards are covered by the FQA. Products made before the enactment of the FQA are exempt as well.

  • Record of Conformance
  • Manufacturers must create a record of conformance that includes the following:
  • Name and address of manufacturer
  • Fastener description
  • Lot number
  • Nominal dimensions (example: 3/8-16 X 4) e. Applicable consensus standards
  • Chemistry and material grade
  • Coating or plating and applicable consensus standards
  • Results or summaries of the tests and inspections performed

Activities Prohibited

Activities prohibited by the FQA:

  • Falsification of record of conformance
  • Falsification of the identification, characteristics, properties, mechanical performance marks, chemistry, or strength of a lot of fasteners
  • Falsification of the manufacturer’s insignia
  • Failure to maintain required records


Fastener suppliers who do not comply are subject to civil or criminal penalties, which can reach up to $25,000 for each offense. A criminal conviction can bring a prison sentence of 5 years per offense.

At Fasteners, Inc. in Denver, we are a leading industrial fastener distributor. We have decades of insight and experience with the Fastener Quality Act (FQA) of 1990 and its amendments passed in 1999. For any questions about the rules or to inquire about our full inventory of compliant fasteners, feel free to call or get in touch with our team today.

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