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Section 2: Materials Testing

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General

Provide test results in accordance with the contract and upon request in a timely manner so that 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:

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

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Type of Test

Results

Action

Test Performance

Project: Acceptance

Pass or Fail

Material(s) is accepted by independent verification sampling and testing by TxDOT.

Failing material is:

  • rejected and replaced OR
  • reworked and re-tested OR
  • accepted at reduced unit price if specified in the contract and only if engineering judgement is documented in SM.

Usually in the AE laboratory In other cases, district laboratory, MTD central laboratory, or outside laboratory

Material Producer List (MPL)

PreapprovedMaterial or Product

Preapproved material sources must be sampled and tested in accordance with the required program interval.

MTD Central Lab or its designee

Quality Monitoring Program

PreapprovedMaterial Sources

Preapproved material sources must be sampled and tested in accordance with the required program interval.

MTD Central Lab or its designee

Independent Assurance Program (IAP)

Meets tolerance or does not meet tolerance

Compare the Independent Assurance test to acceptable tolerances established in Appendix B of the Quality Assurance Program for Design Bid Build Projects. Document results of the comparison. If the result is out of tolerance, determine the cause and take remedial action.



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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 section 6 and 7 of the Quality Assurance Program for Design Bid Build Projects (the QAP). Examples of equipment needing calibration include, but are not limited to: concrete cylinder compression machine, air meters, nuclear gauges, voltmeters, and scales. Display the date of the last check or calibration on each piece of testing equipment. Maintain calibration documentation in accordance with the QAP.

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Project Tests

Use acceptance testing to verify that the material conforms to the contract requirements.

Any acceptance of failing materials must be documented under exceptions under the Material Certification Letter provided at the end of the project.

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Independent Assurance Program

The Independent Assurance (IA) Program goals (found in the QAP) are to ensure the accuracy of the equipment, procedures, and techniques used by testing personnel. The Department employs the system approach to accomplish these goals.

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System Approach

The system approach bases frequency of IA activities on time-regardless of tests, quantities of materials, or numbers of projects tested by the individual being evaluated. Use the system approach and implement testing schedule for testers, laboratories, and testing equipment qualified in accordance with the QAP. Ensure that IA sampling and testing is conducted by split or proficiency samples and complies with the QAP.

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Forms, Reports, and Materials Documentation

Refer to the Materials and Tests Reports for Project Records found on the Inspector Development Program intranet page (internal access only). This document provides project requirements per Item number, to be used in conjunction with the Guide Schedule and the Material Inspection Guide. Ensure to keep SiteManager updated with all acceptance and Sampling and Testing (S&T) requirements.

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Material Producer List (MPL)

Individual Departmental Materials Specifications provide the requirements and procedures for prequalification of various materials approved for use on Department projects. Prequalified materials are published on the appropriate Material Producer List.

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Sampling and Testing

The DBB Guide Schedule tables apply to all design-bid-build 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 quality control (QC) sampling and testing may be used as part of the acceptance decision when verified by the department. In all other cases, contractor testing is for information only and is conducted at the contractor’s expense.

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Commercial Labs

When the contractor selects a Commercial Lab (CL) for conducting project-level sampling and testing in accordance with Special Provision 006-001, the cost will be deducted from the estimate through Item Code 9606-6057 (“Force Account - Commercial Lab Use Deduction”). To help ensure consistency through the term of the contract, the contractor must specify the use of a CL from the onset of the project, preferably by the time of the Preconstruction Meeting. Contact the Professional Engineering Procurement Services Division (PEPS) for available Commercial Lab Contracts. The project manager who manages the CL Contract must complete contract management training as prescribed by PEPS.

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Helpful Links for Material Testing & Inspection

Test Procedures may be used to find how to conduct testing.

Department Material Specifications (DMS) is used to find specifications for materials need to meet as well as possible description of the material.

Material Inspection Guide is for procedures on how pay items may be inspected.

Material and Test Reports Documentation for Project Records is a list of all paperwork and requirements per pay item.

Material Producers List is a list of pre-approved providers that may not require testing.

Sample Size Guide may be used to determine how much of quantity of an item is needed for proper testing.

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Project Closeout for Materials

For state and federal projects, use the Materials Certification Letter to document reasons for material acceptance when a test fails. Do not include failing materials that have been reworked, re-tested, and meet the specifications in the list of exceptions in the documentation. Refer to the QAP for example certification letters.

If there are Exceptions on a project, explain all exceptions on a Test Exception Letter. The test exception letter is used when materials test results or other characteristics of the work that indicate reasonable conformance with specification requirements, but did not meet the minimum specification requirements, may be adequate for their intended use. Documentation will include the location where the material is incorporated, the specification requirement, the recorded test value, and the engineering judgment applied to allow use of that material, method, or product.

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