Construction Materials Testing
Geotest staff specializes in the test and inspections of soils, concrete, bituminous, structural steel, reinforcing steel, brick, roofing, and fireproofing materials and in the provision of geotechnical engineering, environmental, and geohydrologic engineering consulting services. Geotest serves both private industry and governmental agencies. Typical projects buildings, roadways, bridges, storage tanks, pipelines, canals, dams/ embankments, water treatment plants, sewer systems, landfills, waste remediation sites, and water supply wells.
Geotest’s staff is highly trained and motivated and is capable of handling various phases of construction projects. Our experience and knowledge go far beyond materials testing and engineering. We have been called on to provide problem solving consultations during the construction phase and the owners have realized significant cost and time savings based on our recommendations.
Geotest’s laboratory is equipped to conduct testing of soils, concrete, asphalt, bituminous materials, steel, and various nondestructive tests. Based upon the project scope and site conditions, Geotest will use the most appropriate equipment and available resources to perform the necessary tasks for the project. All laboratory testing is performed under the direction of the lab manager and in accordance with each project’s requirements. Geotest’s team will report test results in a timely manner as per project requirements.
Geotest’s construction materials testing and inspection services and capabilities include:
- ✧ Construction Quality Assurance/Quality Control
- ✧ Field and Laboratory Testing
- ✧ Mix Designs/Review
- ✧ Specialty Testing
- ✧ Additional Services
Construction Quality Assurance/Quality Control
Quality at Geotest encompasses all the requirements that our laboratory uses to demonstrate our quality system, technical competence, and valid results, as well as, the operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfill the requirements for quality. Our objective is to demonstrate sound management, demonstrate technical competence in our laboratory and maintain client satisfaction while meeting the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO 9001. Geotest’s quality assurance program follows the guidelines outlined in ISO-17025 and satisfies the requirements of ISO 9001 and ASTM E329, D3666, C1077 and D 3740. Management review of the quality system is performed yearly. In addition, internal audits of each department are performed on a regular basis.
All personnel are to take an active role in establishing, implementing, and maintaining our quality management program. We do not separate quality from our business. Quality cannot be something that we do just to pass audits. Quality is involved in every facet of the decision-making process in the management of our laboratory and the science that we practice. Training, certifications and continuing education is a high priority at Geotest. Our technicians carry our mission by promptly responding to clients’ needs, providing quality services, and reporting the test results as early as possible while maintaining rigorous quality standards. Our technical and administrative staff also responds similarly by providing outstanding customer service through technical excellence and able office support.
Our quality system is audited by American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), City of Houston, Harris County and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Geotest also participates in AASHTO, CCRL and TxDOT proficiency sample programs. Calibration and maintenance records are maintained for each piece of equipment at regular intervals as required by ASTM, TxDOT and AASHTO test methods. Proficiency testing, accreditation, and calibration of test equipment are essential in having a high-level Quality Program. Our commitment to maintaining the quality system has allowed Geotest to meet the special needs of our clients.
Our Quality System is established, implemented, and maintained by management. All policies, systems, programs, procedures and instructions are documented to the extent necessary to enable the laboratory to assure the quality of results generated. These documents are communicated to, understood by, available to, and implemented by the appropriate personnel. The purpose of our Quality System is to ensure that all services and products satisfy the client’s requirements and have been designed, manufactured, and delivered under controlled conditions.
Field and Laboratory Testing
Geotest is located in a 15,000 square-foot facility at 5600 Bintliff Drive in Houston, Texas. This facility consists of engineering offices and testing laboratory. In this facility, Geotest maintains a fully equipped soil mechanics laboratory and a construction materials laboratory for testing of soils, concrete/masonry, asphalt, aggregates and steel.
Calibration and maintenance records are kept on each piece of equipment and are maintained on intervals required by ASTM, TxDOT and AASHTO test methods. Geotest maintains at least two pieces of equipment for most of standard test procedures. Examples include 4 compression machines, 8 ovens including a 168 cubic foot drying oven, 6 proctor machines, 5 Liquid limit devices and 2 beam breakers.
Geotest is accredited by The American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). We are also certified by US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and American Association of State Highway and Transportations Officials (AASHTO). We are also certified as Independent Assurance (IA) Laboratory by TxDOT. Geotest is also a member of the Texas Council of Engineering Laboratories (TCEL). We are regularly inspected by the City of Houston, TxDOT, METRO, and Harris County. In addition, we participate in AMRL, CCRL and TxDOT reference sampling programs.
Geotest is sensitive to the needs of clients to provide only experienced and thoroughly competent personnel for field, laboratory and engineering assignments. Geotest has a full inventory of laboratory and field-testing equipment for materials engineering and testing. Our staff is fully trained and experienced to manage one or more projects of the indicated size, on an on-call basis. Our senior principals meet on a monthly basis to assess current and anticipated projects and add team members as and when required. The new staff (field, engineering, and administration) are properly trained and are ready to contribute at a short notice. We also employ interns for both field and in-house engineering help and hire many of these interns for full time positions. Our lab manager has extensive knowledge of various lab testing procedures for concrete, soils and asphalt.
Our field and laboratory testing services measure to make sure the materials you are using will meet the project specifications. All our technicians (including the ones performing field density tests only) are required to carry concrete compressive strength testing equipment, nuclear gauges and mud scales for lime slurry tests at all times.
Conformance testing will vary depending on the components of construction and may include the following:
Soils and Aggregates – gradation, plasticity, and compaction characteristics of natural and stabilized soils and rock.
Concrete and Masonry – properties of constituent materials for Portland cement concrete, including gradation, alkalinity, hardness, and durability of aggregates while properties of placed concrete- including clump, air content, and strength parameters.
Asphalt – temperatures, compaction/density with hot mix asphalt sampling and testing.
Steel – strength and elongation of reinforcing steel.
Testing Laboratory Capabilities
Geotest maintains a fully equipped laboratory and the inventory includes the following testing equipment:
|Liquid Limit Device||Plastic Limit Plate|
|Scales||Sieves (both coarse & fine aggregates)|
|Sieve Shaker||Mechanical Rammer|
|Proctor Machine||Concrete Compression Testing Machine|
|Concrete Flexural Testing Machine||Concrete Specimens Curing Facility|
|Aggregate Sample Splitter|
All the testing equipment is routinely calibrated, and the equipment calibration records are kept for review by clients and accreditation agencies. Testing equipment are put on inactive list as soon as they are found to be non-functional and sent to repair shop for immediate repair of the problem and recalibration work. Older equipment is regularly retired from service and new testing equipment is added routinely to keep up the highest standard of testing needs on all om projects. In addition, highest-level quality controls are put in place 24×7 to maintain laboratory facilities to store, prepare and cure samples and test specimens in conformance with applicable A2LA accreditation requirements.
Our project managers are able to review job specifications and make recommendations types of materials to use, as well as, the types and frequencies of test to perform on soils, concrete, and asphalt. They are able to provide the following services: Soils – cement and lime stabilization, compaction, drilled pier inspection; Concrete – batch plant monitoring for verification of batching tolerances and verification of mix designs, field testing of concrete, precast/prestress and post tensioning inspection; Asphalt – plant monitoring for temperature and mix verification, field testing including cores for in-place density.
A concrete mix design involves mixing and testing water, fine aggregate, coarse aggregates, cement, chemicals, reinforcements and soil to create the strength and durability for a concrete structure. An asphalt mix design involves mixing aggregate, asphalt binder content and the ration of aggregate to asphalt binger content. The amounts and ingredients will vary from one project to another so properties must be tested for the requirements of the project in order to create foundations for sound infrastructures.
In addition to standard testing on reinforced concrete, pavement materials, and soils, the Laboratory may be called upon to perform specialty testing, including, but not Limited to, the following:
- Weld testing and other NDT methods and destructive tests of welded connections
- Tests of concrete areas by coring, impact hammer, sonoscope, probe penetration or other methods as requested by PHA
- Off-site testing and inspection of material sources or fabrication facilities as required
- Drilling mud testing
- FRP testing
Specific tests include the following:
- Windsor Probe
- Schmidt Hammer
- Sprayed Fire
- Resistive material
- Asphalt and Concrete coring
- Floor Flatness
Geotest will provide Construction Engineering and Inspection services and therefore be responsible for the successful management, inspection, record keeping and general administration of construction and inspection activities for the project, as well as material testing. CEI Services provided by Geotest include the following: