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Construction Works

Topic: Testing of Materials

R Ram Supt Engineer

Engineering Services Division

S.NO. Description

1. Objective

2. Type of Tests on Materials

3. Standards for Material Testing

4. Contract Provisions for Testing

5. Testing on important material

Chapter - I

1. Objectives of Testing on Material

1.1. Material testing is one of the most important parameters of

Quality Assurance and Control in a Construction Project.
1.2. It ensures that the quality of material used in the work conforms
to the designs parameters adopted.
1.3. It confirms that the use of the facility/ infrastructure created will
be optimal and upto desired level.
1.4. It helps in rejection of Sub-standard materials.
1.5. Test results help in establishing that the structure will last its
designated life.
Chapter- II

2.0 Types of Tests on Materials

2.1 Field Tests

- Visual tests by checking colour, shape and size.
- Physical tests like checking of dimension etc.
- Preliminary tests that can be conducted in field labs.
(Example: Sand, Aggregates, Bricks Etc.)

2.2 Testing in Laboratories

- Checking of physical, chemical and structural properties of
- Lab tests require precision and sophisticated machinery.
- These tests are carried out under controlled conditions.

2.3 Testing at Manufacturer’s Premises

- Normally reputed manufacturers have their own system of
quality control.
- They have in-house laboratories and issue test certificates
with every lot of materials.
- Equipment manufactures for Electrical, Lifts, DG sets &
HVAC works carry out tests at their own premises under the
inspection of Owner’s engineers.
2.4 Materials with ‘Standard Mark’

- Materials are tested at manufacturer’s premises and certified

as “IS’ marked or any other standard implying that they
conform to certain set of specifications.
- These tests are carried out by independent agencies on
samples of every lot.
- The manufacturers has to pay certification charges to these
- If the lot of materials bears a ‘Standard Mark’ then normally it
is not be tested. However in case of doubt or with a view to
check quality, ‘Engineer’ may send samples at random for
Chapter - III

3.1 Standards for Material Testing

- Materials are normally tested as per CPWD specifications or

any other ‘standard’ identified.
- CPWD specifications carry a list of materials bearing ISI
certification. These specifications also contain the
Dimensions and Unit weight of various building materials.
This information can be used during field tests.
- In case CPWD specifications are not available then the
materials are tested as per stipulation in IS codes.
- CPWD specifications lay down a list of Mandatory Tests on
materials. Similar stipulations are given in IS codes.
- For specialized materials BS codes/ DIN/ any other
international codes can be specified & followed if these are
not covered by IS codes.
Chapter – IV

4. Contract Provision on Material Testing

4.1 The ‘Conditions of contracts for Works’ in CSIR have a Clause

on Testing of Materials. The ‘Engineer’ is required to direct
the contractor to get the materials tested as per CPWD
specifications. The expenses on testing is to be borne by the
4.2 The contractor is required to get the materials approved
before testing.
4.3 As per CPWD Manual 2003, the contractor will get the
material tested & in case it conforms to specification, then the
department will bear the testing charges. If the material is
Sub-standard then the testing charges will be borne by the

5.1 Testing on important materials

5.1.1 Water
- The testing of water should be done periodically (3 months
for bore well & 6 months for Municipal supply) mainly to
check Chlorides & Sulphate levels
- Even if the water is fit for drinking & from municipal supplies,
still it should be tested.
- Tests on water are for Ph Value, Limits of Acidity & Alkality,
Percentage of Solids
- If ground water is not found conforming to IS 456 then
contractor has to arrange good quality water.

5.1.2 Cement (Grade 33/43/53)

- Cement is tested for fineness, soundness, intial & final
setting time & comparative strength.
- Cement brought to site shall not be more then 6 weeks old
from the date of manufacturer.

5.1.3 Sand
- Tests on sand can be conducted at site. The tests are for
grading, silt constant (5), organic impurities(55), particle size
distribution and building of sand.
- Fine sand shall be river sand or pit sand or combination of
two. Fine sand in Delhi means 2 parts of Jammu sand and 1
part of Badarpur sand.

5.1.4 Stone Aggregate

- Most of the tests on stone aggregate can be done at site.
- These include percentage of deletension materials, particle
size distribution, crushing strength, impact value, bulk
diversity, specific gravity

5.2 RCC
Tests for RCC
i) Slump test
ii) Cube test
iii) Steel

- Tensile strength
- Proof stress
- Elongation test
- Bend test
- Rebound test
- Chemical test

5.3 Bricks
Tests on bricks are
- Dimensions
- Compressive strength
- Water absorption
- Efflorescence

5.4 Marble

Tests are:-
i) Moisture absorption
ii) Mhos scale hardness test

5.5 Other Materials

5.5.1 Wood (moisture cement)

5.5.2 Terrozo tests (Transverse strength, water absorption, Abrasion
5.5.3 White glazed tiles (Water absorption, crazing test, chemical
resistant test, impact test)