Materials Services: Explanation

Materials Services include tests, monitoring procedures & technical assessments to evaluate & document the properties of construction materials (e.g. concrete) and/or the construction methods (e.g. pile installation).  This information serves to confirm that the specified materials  and methods are used by the contractor on the project. Measuring the consistency of building materials, along with observations of construction quality, contributes to increased facility performance with reduced construction delays and fewer change orders. When problems develop after construction, this information aids in evaluating causes of damage and in developing repair solutions. Appropriate compliance sampling & testing methods are material and situation-specific, but generally are governed by a multitude of industry standards.  Tests are conducted on the broad variety of materials used in buildings, including: concrete, steel, masonry, asphalt, roofing, fireproofing, wood, and plastics. Monitoring is conducted on elements that are fabricated at the project site when the fabrication procedures and details are integral to their structural performance.

 

While the majority of construction materials generally meet project specifications, some portion of the materials tested may fail or perform unsatisfactorily, requiring analysis and remediation. The identification of such materials can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful project. Testing during construction is conducted to confirm that the materials being supplied meet the project specifications.  Utilizing various forms of sampling, as well as destructive and non-destructive testing, our engineers and technicians can assess material properties or the interaction between materials and loading conditions that may be causing or contributing to a problem. 

Materials services fall into two general categories: field services and laboratory services. Field services involve material evaluations that can or must be made at the construction site or fabrication facility.  Examples of field services include: density testing of fill as it is compacted; testing the slump and temperature of plastic concrete when it is delivered to the site; testing the tightness of nuts in a bolted steel connection; and measuring the thickness of spray-on fireproofing material. Laboratory services are required when tests must be conducted on selected samples with special equipment that cannot be used at the site and/or in a controlled environment. Examples of laboratory services include: compressive strength testing of concrete samples; consolidation testing of soil samples; asphalt content of a paving mix; and specific gravity of wood.

 

Materials services apply to a wide range of construction elements including:

Foundations

We conduct tests to evaluate the suitability of fill & native soil/rock that will support new foundations. We test & observe placement of foundation concrete & reinforcing steel (e.g., footings, grade beams,  mats, slabs, etc.).  We monitor the deep foundation installation including augercast piles, micropiles, drilled piers, and driven piles. We plan, monitor and evaluate load tests to confirm bearing capacity and settlement behavior.

Structures

GEM personnel are trained and equipped to provide construction testing and inspection services for a multitude of structural elements. We test fresh concrete, observe its placement, and obtain samples to be cured in the laboratory and tested for compressive strength at specified curing time intervals. We evaluate the condition of hardened concrete using either destructive or non-destructive methods. Our field representatives can observe reinforcing steel placement and post tensioning operations. We provide visual inspection and non-destructive testing of structural steel both in the field and in the fabrication plant. Further, our experienced technicians inspect fabrication of precast/prestressed concrete products. We are capable of testing wood, masonry, and roofing materials. On our staff we have certified field technicians to provide Special Inspection services required by building codes.

Pavements

GEM provides testing, monitoring and inspections for light and heavy duty, flexible (hot mix asphalt) and rigid (Portland cement concrete) pavements. Services are provided at the construction site and at the materials supply plants. We provide mix-design services for pavement materials (asphaltic concrete, Portland cement concrete, soil cement, etc.), observation and testing at the batch plants to evaluate compliance with the mix-design, and testing of the in-place product to verify compliance with the project plans and specifications. We also provide destructive and non-destructive testing of completed pavement sections, and condition assessments to estimate remaining pavement service life. We conduct evaluations of existing pavements and provide recommendations for repair of damaged areas.

Other Facilities

GEM provides testing, monitoring and inspections services for many other types of projects. We are especially qualified and experience with testing related to environmental and waste disposal projects. We provide quality control testing for natural soil and synthetic liners, and monitoring of underground storage tank removal and backfilling. We are truly a full service construction materials testing and monitoring organization, and we have provided services on thousands of projects, and can satisfy our clients’ needs on virtually any type of assignment.