Section 2: Material Testing

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Provide test results in accordance with the contract and upon request in a timely manner so the contractor may adjust their products and operations to continuously satisfy contract requirements.

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Testing of Materials

Sampling and testing of materials may be divided into the following:

  • Project Tests
    • acceptance
    • monitoring.
  • Independent Assurance Tests.

The following table identifies actions and responsibility for the different types of tests.

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Type of Test



Test Performance

Project: Acceptance

Pass or Fail

Passing material is acceptable.

Failing material is:

  • rejected and replaced OR
  • reworked and re-tested OR
  • accepted at reduced price for specific items only.

Usually in the AE laboratory; other cases, district laboratory, CST-M&P’s laboratory or outside laboratory.

Project: Monitoring

Pass or Fail

Passing material is acceptable.

Failing material may be accepted; however, contractor must modify the process to bring the product into a passing condition.

Usually in the AE laboratory; in other cases, district laboratory or outside laboratory.

Independent Assurance (IA)

Meets tolerance or does not meet tolerance

Compare the Independent Assurance test to acceptable tolerances established in the Quality Assurance Program for Construction. Document results of the comparison. If the result is out of tolerance, determine the cause and takes remedial action.

Any qualified laboratory. NOTE: If IA testing is performed by a non-departmental laboratory, the laboratory must be accredited by the AASHTO Accreditation Program. The same technician must not perform both the project and IA tests.

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Test Methods and Testing Equipment

The contract may specify test methods and equipment that are outside the department. Ensure that all the testing equipment is in good working order in accordance with the appropriate testing procedure. In addition, ensure that a qualified laboratory technician makes an independent check or calibration on each piece of testing equipment used on project testing at least once each year or as required by the Quality Assurance Program for Construction, Laboratory Qualification Program. Examples of equipment needing calibration include, but are not limited to: beam breakers, air meters, nuclear gauges, volumeters, and scales. Display the date of the last check or calibration on each piece of testing equipment. Maintain calibration documentation in accordance with the Quality Assurance Program for Construction, Laboratory Qualification Program.

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Project Tests

Use either acceptance or monitoring tests to verify that the material conforms to the contract requirements.

Acceptance Tests

Use acceptance tests to determine if the quality of the materials or the quality of the construction work satisfies contract requirements. Select one of the following solutions when an acceptance test fails:

  • reject and remove
  • rework, then retest for acceptance or
  • accept and adjust the unit price as provided by the contract.

Monitoring Tests

Use monitoring tests to determine if the contractor’s operations or materials need adjustment. Instruct the contractor to adjust operations to comply with the contract. The area engineer (AE) does not reject and remove materials or products represented by a failing test unless the AE determines that it is clearly unacceptable for the purpose intended.

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Independent Assurance Program

The I ndependent Assurance (IA) Program goals are to ensure the accuracy of the equipment and procedures and techniques used by testing personnel. The department employs the system approach to accomplish these goals.

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System Approach

Compared to Project Tests, the system approach reduces the amount of testing required. Use the system approach and implement testing schedule for testers, laboratories, and testing equipment qualified in accordance with the Quality Assurance Program for Construction. Ensure that IA sampling and testing is conducted by split or proficiency samples and complies with the Frequency for System Approach Independent Assurance Testing. Do not accept or reject material based on the results of IA testing.

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Forms and Reports

Complete and send the following forms and reports to the proper division in Austin:

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Form No.

Form Title

Reference Publication


Pile Record

Construction Bulletin C-8 – Pile Driving Manual


Test Pile Data

Construction Bulletin C-8 – Pile Driving Manual


Drilled Shaft Records

Construction Bulletin C-9 – Drilled Shaft Manual


Monthly Record of Material Received

CST-M&P, Operations Manual


Identification of Material Samples

CST-M&P, Operations Manual.


Tag Envelope

CST-M&P, Operations Manual

*Required only if the contract is not on computer (such as emergency contracts).

**Forms available through the TxDOT Intranet only.

Complete the following forms or equivalent substitutions, according to instructions issued by the district engineer and maintain in the district project file:

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Form No.

Form Title



Daily Road Report – Asphalt

Construction Records to Support Pay Quantities of Work Done on Contract Construction Projects

311 Rev.

Daily Road Report – Concrete Pavement

Construction Records to Support Pay Quantities of Work Done on Contract Construction Projects


Weekly Summary of Embankment Subbase or Base Material Tests Results

May be used as construction records to support pay quantities of work done on contract construction project. No longer required.


Concrete Batch Tickets

Item 421

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Portland Cement Concrete Plant Inspection

A department inspector must be present at the concrete batch plant when batching concrete for:

  • bridge decks
  • concrete with high range water reducer
  • concrete for post tensioned members
  • mass concrete with temperature control
  • critical concrete such as latex-modified concrete
  • instances when the maturity method is used for estimating concrete strength
  • instances specified by the engineer.

The inspector will ensure:

  • practices, such as stockpiling and loading at the plant, contribute to maximum uniformity and durability
  • only materials conforming to the contract are used
  • batching and mixing practices are satisfactory.
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Quality Monitoring Programs (QMP)

The QMP provides the requirements and procedures for product acceptance and allows the use of materials from qualified rated sources without project testing by CST-M&P. Subject only Aggregate Quality Monitoring Program (AQMP) materials to job control tests for final acceptance. Refer to the CST-M&P Operations Manual for a list of materials covered by the QMP.

“Tex-499-A, Aggregate Quality Monitoring Program,” for example, provides continuous quality assurance of aggregate products, including:

  • quality monitoring of aggregate products representing normal production at a single source
  • statistical evaluation of recent aggregate quality test histories (aggregate suppliers are added to AQMP based on test history of aggregated products)
  • assurance of sufficient aggregate resources by reducing project tests prior to use.

Refer to the “Materials Directory” in the Operations Manual to obtain detailed information and rules regarding the QMP for specific materials.

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Sampling and Testing

Guide Schedule tables 1993/1995 Specifications or 2004 Specifications) apply to all construction contracts. The minimum acceptable project test frequency is shown in these tables as a guide. Perform additional testing as necessary.

Unless otherwise specified in the contract, testing is conducted by the department or independent laboratories employed by the department. When specified by the contract, contractor-performed QC sampling and testing may be used as part of the acceptance decision. In all other cases, contractor testing is for information only and is conducted at the contractor’s expense. Unless specified in the contract, do not replace department testing with contractor testing.

For non-exempt federal-aid (Federal Letter of Authority [FLOA]) projects, use the “Letter of Certification of Materials Used" to document reasons for material acceptance when a test fails. Do not include failing material which has been reworked, re-tested, and meets the specifications in the list of exceptions in the documentation.

For exempt federal-aid (State Letter of Authority [SLOA]) projects and state projects, document the justification and explanation for acceptance of materials that fail project tests in the project file.

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