Concrete Testing, A Concrete Investment

While it is important to know how concrete will be cast, cured and placed at a construction site, a proficient engineer understands it is also integral to have a plan for how and who will test it. In Canada, this type of service is provided by professional engineering companies, like Tryon Professional Group, with the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories (CCIL) certification of Concrete laboratories. With an in-house concrete testing lab in its main office in Dawson Creek, BC, Tryon is CCIL certified in Category “0” Basic Certification Concrete Testing. This category includes the most common field procedures for sampling and testing plastic concrete, and measuring the compressive strength of concrete.

CCIL Certification

CCIL certification of Concrete laboratories is a Canadian-wide program certifying laboratories, like Tryon’s Dawson Creek-based lab, to ensure they perform in accordance with Canada’s current code for concrete testing and other criteria established by CCIL. In order to maintain their CCIL concrete testing certification, Tryon must:
• Have the equipment and trained staff capable of performing the concrete test procedures for Category “0” Basic Certification.
• Maintain their equipment and calibrate it to comply with specified requirements.
• Employ at least one technician with a valid CCIL certification, who has passed the written and practical exams for both laboratory and field to match Category “0” Basic Certification. Only certified technicians can carry out field and laboratory concrete testing.
• Maintain records of test results, within-laboratory proficiency, calibration and verification of equipment, qualifications of staff and identified deficiencies and corresponding corrective measures.
• Ensure their lab is supervised by a professional engineer who has a minimum of two years of working experience related to a concrete testing laboratory and is a full-time employee of the laboratory.
• Demonstrate continued compliance by undergoing an annual audit by CCIL to maintain its certification.

Why Perform Concrete Testing?

Concrete testing is the only way to assess the strength of a concrete pour in relation to existing structures; basically, determining how safe and durable the concrete will be. Essentially, testing ensures the quality of the concrete and aggregate sample thus determining if it complies with Canada’s strict regulations and quality control standards. Examples of concrete testing include:

Compressive Strength Test

This test determines the capacity of concrete to withstand loads. Concrete can fracture or deform at its compressive strength and therefore this test determines the limit for compressive load. Compressive strength is one of the most important engineering properties of concrete.
A concrete compression-testing machine measures the compressive strength of the concrete cube or cylinder samples by breaking the samples. The compressive strength is then calculated from the failure load divided by the cross-sectional area resisting the load and reported units of pound-force per square inch.

Slump Test

This test measures the consistency of fresh concrete before it sets in order to check the workability of freshly made concrete and therefore the ease with which the concrete flows. It can also indicate if the concrete batch was mixed improperly, thereby ensuring uniformity for different loads of concrete under specific field conditions. The test uses a metal conical frustum or slump cone mould, which is open at both ends. It is placed on a hard non-absorbent surface and filled with fresh concrete in four stages. Ultimately, the concrete is struck off flush with the top of the mould, which is lifted vertically upwards. The concrete then slumps. The slump is measured by determining the distance from the top of the slumped concrete to the level of the top of the slump cone. The slump can take various shapes and this will indicate if the concrete is too wet or high workability etc.

Water Permeability Test

This test determines the resistance of the concrete sample against water under hydrostatic pressure. In other words, it measures the ease in which water can flow through concrete. When concrete is permeable it can cause corrosion in reinforcement and result in cracking. The permeability of concrete can be minimized by adopting low water-content ratio and therefore, ensure proper compaction and curing of concrete.

All of these CCIL concrete certification tests assure the quality of the sampled concrete for its given use and environment.

The Value of Concrete

Concrete – composed of portland cement, water and aggregate such as gravel, sand or rock – is present in most modern-day construction builds. It is one of the most widely used principle materials for foundations, support walls, bridges, tunnels, sidewalks driveways, dams, houses and high rises as well as structural support as paviours, kerbs, pipes and drains. According to the BC World of Concrete Sector Engagement Report published September 2017 by Canadian National Trades Expo Inc., “concrete is vital to the success of virtually all construction projects.” In fact, the B.C. Construction Association estimated that in 2016, the concrete sector contributed 8.1% to B.C.’s gross domestic product. It is clear that the concrete industry is a major contributor to Canada’s economy, which the Cement Association of Canada relates to over 151,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country and $73 billion in direct, indirect and induced economic impact.

Because of its renowned strength, durability, resilience and versatility, concrete and concrete products are in high demand and extensively used meaning that quality assurance and certified testing are key to ensuring public and economic safety.

Tryon Professional Group’s highly qualified team of engineers and technical staff can help you ensure your concrete structures are safe and of the highest quality through in-house, CCIL certified laboratory testing at their main office in Dawson Creek, BC.

Comply with Canadian concrete regulations and ensure quality control at your construction site and in your concrete structures by contacting Tryon Professional Group today.