Materials Testing: Why Do We Do It, and How Can We Do It More Efficiently at the Jobsite?

September 17, 2020 Command Alkon

Materials testing in the construction industry refers to the evaluation of any kind of building materials used in a project. These tests encompass everything from the soil composition on which the building will be built to the concrete and steel elements that will be used in the structure.

It is essential to test all these substances to ensure that quality support materials are used to build the facility, ensuring long-term stability.

Materials testing incorporates testing a variety of properties of the materials; these properties include:

  • Physical Properties: density, porosity, durability, weather resistance, permeability
  • Mechanical Properties: strength, hardness, brittleness, elasticity, plasticity, creep
  • Chemical Properties: chemical and corrosion resistance
  • Electrical Properties: the ability to conduct or resist electricity
  • Magnetic Properties: permeability and hysteresis
  • Thermal Properties: capacity, conductivity, resistivity, heat

If sub-par materials are used on a jobsite, it can put the entire structure at risk. Testing of the materials helps contractors to identify issues before problems can occur at the build site. Detailed inspections support environmental and personal safety while eliminating risk for your business. Materials testing helps avoid expensive repairs or renovation work to correct faults and mitigate risks. Laws and regulations also exist in individual states and cities requiring material testing to prove the quality of the materials.

Materials testing often begins with an examination of on-site materials like soil, aggregates, and asphalt. These materials are tested to ensure that the building will be adequately supported from the ground up. Monitoring the foundation's installation is an essential component of materials testing since inferior materials can lead to potentially dangerous outcomes.

However, it is essential to utilize electronic testing (eTest) during the materials testing process so that builders will have the results of the eTests immediately. If using paper-based testing processes, papers can get lost, out of order, or become unreadable from dirt or water. eTests provide electronic reports to all parties involved in the construction project to be on the same page with the most current information.

Contractors want immediate quantifiable results on the characteristics of the materials used within building structures. They don’t want to have to wait days, even hours, to see if the material they are about to install is of the best quality, required by law and for the job. Gaining knowledge of test results while in the field can keep the project timeline in check. You don’t have to go back to the office to get the results or call the testing lab to see when you can expect results.

Materials testing is critical in construction; sharing the results of these tests is most beneficial for the entire project's viability and safety. In order to stay compliant and pass inspection, project managers must know the quality of the construction job's materials. The ability to have this information at your fingertips can reduce rework, boost profits, and enable quicker, informed decisions.

Electronic testing features will be made available soon with CONNEX Jobsite. For more information, visit

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