Quality Tests That A Civil Engineer And A Quality Engineer Should Know

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If you are a Civil Engineer or a Quality Engineer and you are new to the field of construction and guess why? I am writing this because I am going to show you, what are the quality tests to be applied in the particular activity on your ongoing project.

This will become your guide on making your tests on your ongoing project. Like me when I was a newbie in construction, I don’t have an idea then “what are the tests to be done?” So this would be a great way to write a post for you to learn fast.

There are various tests needed in different areas of site activities whether it is in infrastructure or building projects. Infrastructure projects like road, embankment, bridge, viaduct, tunnel, dam, etc. In the building project, it has common test that is normally done which I will show in the foregoing paragraph.

So let us proceed with the following different types of quality tests in different areas of your site.

On Infrastructure & Road projects

When I was in the City Engineering Department in my home country. Our projects there were roads, bridges, school buildings, public markets, coliseum, parks but most of the projects I attended were roads like 8 kilometers long and the longest is 15 km including drainage and box-culvert.

Here are the quality tests that you will require.

1. Soil analysis – If you need to backfill a part of your road project then you will be requiring a borrow area, there you will take at least five (5) samples in different locations in order to determine the suitability of the soil. The soil test that will be done is the proctor test, California bearing ratio (CBR), atterberg limits, organic matter, etc.

2. Field density test or In-situ density test – This test can be read in this article “How to do compaction test.” Some people called it compaction test and some others called it in-situ density test, but in fact, it has similar test procedure. Here is the meaning of a compaction test “is a soil quality test used to assess the level of compaction, which can occur in the soil on a site.”

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In order to determine the result of compaction the test shall be conducted further in the laboratory to get the result, where they would make further weighing the soil sample, drying it in the oven, and last calculation and then the result. A road project (rigid pavement) has different types of layers. The first layer is sub-base, the second is base course, and the last layer is the concrete pavement.

Each layer, excluding the concrete pavement has to be compacted to the required degree of compaction. The sub-base is usually to be compacted to 95 percent of maximum dry density and the base course is 100 percent of maximum dry density but please refer always on your respective specification.

3. Flexural strength – Here is the meaning of Flexural Strength “Flexural strength, also known as modulus of rupture, bend strength, or fracture strength, a mechanical parameter for brittle material, is defined as a material’s ability to resist deformation under load.”

The strength requirement varies depending on the specification, but here on our site, the specification says 4.6 Mpa for 28 days strength.


Quality Tests On building projects 

In a building projects, there are several kinds of tests that you should expect. Our first project in Dubai was having an approximate area of 119, 000 square meters consisting of 9 buildings with one common parking. Here are the quality tests that we have done and you also might conduct these on your building projects.

1. Soil Investigation – The purpose of the soil investigation or Geotechnical investigations is to determine the surface and subsurface conditions of the project and the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of the ground in order to provide the structural engineer with sufficient information for the design of the safest and practical design of foundations.

Read also:  Top 6 Important Quality Tests Of Concrete

2. Plate load test – This test is sometimes taken on below slab-on-grade or on the foundation, but it would depend on your specification, this is in order to just verify the bearing capacity of soil which have been taken from the soil investigation.

3. Soil analysis (Sampling) – This test shall be done prior to compaction test in order to determine the suitability of the soil to be used for backfilling. The sampling test includes atterberg limits, sieve analysis, organic matter.

4. Proctor test – The proctor test result shall be used in the calculation of the degree of compaction or in-situ test report. That is why it is necessary to do first the proctor test prior to compaction test. Here is the meaning of proctor test “It is a laboratory procedure of experimentally determining the optimal moisture content at which a given soil type will become most dense and achieve its maximum dry density.”

5. Compaction test or In-situ density test – Compaction test shall be done at a rate given to this article the-frequency-of-various-tests. Compaction test is a soil quality test used to assess the level of compaction, which can occur in the soil on a construction site. Compaction test for building projects shall be done below footings, tie beams, and slab-on-grade, but note; if granular backfill (Engineered fill) is required below slab-on-grade you shall then compact it to 100 percent of maximum dry density.

6. Compression test of concrete –  Most commonly the specification says 3 cubes will be taken for 7 days compressive strength test and another 3 cubes to be tested for 28 days to get the specified strength of concrete. These quality tests are the most common on building projects.

Read also:  A Quality Engineers Guide to Concrete Cube Testing

7. Durability test – The durability test commonly consists of; water penetration and water absorption test. The requirement for water penetration is not more than 10mm and the water absorption most commonly require not more than 20 percent.

8. Mechanical and chemical test – This test is for reinforcing bar that you are going to use on your project site which includes bending, tension test etc. Before you use the steel reinforcement, as a quality engineer or an inspector, you shall send the samples of 3 for each diameter to an approved independent laboratory.

9. Compression test for CMU – This test is sometimes mentioned on your specification. The tests include, dimension test and compression test. Three samples of each size of CMU have to be sent to approved independent laboratory.

10. Non-destructive test – This quality test shall be done on steel structure and it is usually done in the fabrication plant. The non-destructive test consists of Magnetic Particle Inspection, Ultrasonic Inspection or Ultrasonic Testing, and Water Penetrant Inspection or also called Dye Penetrant Inspection. The non-destructive test shall be performed by an independent laboratory approved by the consultant. The non-destructive test should be done if it is mentioned in the specification, if not the tests shall be done internally as per quality standard procedure of the fabrication company.

There are many more quality tests to be done in the construction project, what I wrote here are just a really important one and others shall be done during the project is in progress and in sometimes by the consultant or client’s willingness to do so.

If you have suggestions and supplements to the above quality test, you may write down in the comment box below.

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