Materials

If you are an owner, contractor, or engineer associated with the design and construction of structures, you want to verify that the materials used during construction comply with the project specifications. To ensure today’s buildings and infrastructure perform adequately during long time periods, proper selection, quality and workmanship of materials is vital. Terracon’s construction materials engineers work with clients to minimize material replacements, reduce the likelihood of deterioration, avoid potential failures, and investigate and evaluate materials-related problems and failures when they do occur.

Local knowledge and resources, combined with the technical support available from our national network of offices, enable Terracon to respond quickly to ever-changing construction needs and schedules. We respond with innovative solutions and alternatives that target your long-term performance objectives while considering cost consequences.

Services

Learn more about how Terracon’s proprietary Construction Materials Engineering and Laboratory Management System (CMELMS™) automates the delivery of information so that test results and inspection information can be quickly transferred from the field to the office.


Special InspectionsBack to Top

Terracon’s Special Inspections program provides valuable quality assurance/quality control that benefits all parties related to the proper fabrication, installation, and placement of specific structural components and other materials (e.g., EIFS, fireproofing, and soils and foundations) that require special knowledge, expertise, and attention. Benefits include improved communication between design professionals and contractors, testing companies, and jurisdictional building officials, while providing a safe structure for the public. The keys to successful Special Inspections are clear communication, good record keeping, a drive to keep the project moving forward, and most of all, qualified people.


On-site Observation and MonitoringBack to Top

On-site testing and observation requires materials engineers and technicians who are experienced and certified. Terracon personnel are trained in the areas of ASTM requirements, equipment usage, and health and safety issues. On-site services typically fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Soils
  • Concrete & Masonry
  • Asphalt
  • Aggregates


Construction Quality Control and Quality Assurance ProgramsBack to Top

Quality control is a critical responsibility for all Terracon employees. Management and technical functions operate under Terracon’s Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QA/QC) policy and procedures manual. The quality program assigns the immediate responsibility of construction quality control to the project manager with oversight from senior management. The following elements of quality control are addressed during the project:

  • Operational procedures
  • Qualifications of personnel
  • Condition and accuracy of instruments and equipment
  • Standard materials
  • Statistical evaluations
  • Supervisory review of technical procedures and documents
  • Use of control standards for evaluation of activities
  • Sample identification, protection, chain-of-custody, storage and disposition
  • Data recording, identification, security, checking, routing, filing and disposition

We have developed standard operating procedures for various tasks so consistent project quality can be obtained. The procedures are considered guidelines for office managers, project managers, project engineers and scientists to provide direction to Terracon field personnel. The procedures are flexible enough to account for the variations that exist between offices in such arenas as state regulations, site conditions and geology.

Our operating procedures provide direction to staff and require accurate documentation of field services. Field data is assembled and checked by project engineering personnel prior to recommendation development. Site characterization work and design tasks are reviewed by senior management personnel for technical accuracy and conformance to client objectives. In addition to the field procedural guidelines, Terracon utilizes a two-step review process to produce reports and designs. The work product is reviewed by a senior authorized reviewer in draft form prior to the submission of a final report to the client. All authorized reviewers have completed rigorous training and must meet certain guidelines as far as education and years of experience.


Field and Laboratory Testing and AnalysisBack to Top

Virtually all of Terracon’s nearly 100 offices have construction materials testing laboratories. These laboratories have state-of-the-art equipment for testing soils, concrete, masonry, asphalt and aggregates. Each office follows strict quality assurance guidelines for equipment usage and calibration.

We are familiar with specifications from various agencies such as state and federal highway departments, ASTM, FAA, FHWA, AASHTO and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Many of Terracon’s staff and laboratories are inspected by CCRL and AMRL, and then certified by AASHTO and the respective state departments of transportation.

  • Soils
    Laboratory tests are performed to define soil properties and identify those soils that do not conform to project specifications. For moisture content, strength and stability, the early identification of issues helps avoid future problems and allows for the correction of problems during construction.
  • Concrete & Masonry
    New criteria for concrete and masonry construction are evolving on a continual basis. We can design mixes for concrete, mortar and grout to satisfy the project specifications.
  • Asphalt
    Modern construction practices involving asphalt require consideration of such factors as durability, adaptability to fast track construction and proper performance under specialized applications. Asphalt concrete mixes can be designed using local materials that best fit roadway and airport needs.
  • Aggregates
    Aggregate quality is established and monitored by performing such laboratory tests as gradation analysis, specific gravity, absorption, soundness, freeze-thaw, abrasion, deleterious substances and acid solubility.


Design and Review of Concrete, Grout, and Asphaltic Concrete MixesBack to Top

Terracon materials engineers are able to provide a full range of engineering services involving not only testing and observation of construction materials and practices, but also design services and condition assessments that require special expertise.

  • Preparation and Review of Material Specifications
    The preparation and review of specifications by Terracon engineers is done to provide recommendations on material properties, the type and frequency of tests to perform, as well as reporting requirements for quality control and assurance of material quality.
  • Mix Designs and Production Testing
    Mix designs require blending available and cost-effective component materials into a mix that will fulfill the needs of the project. Terracon provides production testing in the form of batch plant inspections and calibration, plus testing and observation during placement of materials to monitor specification compliance and thereby maximize system performance.


Structural Steel Nondestructive TestingBack to Top

Testing and observation of structural steel is a specialized field that requires equipment and personnel trained in accepted operating procedures. Observation and testing can occur during or after the erection process for connections that are welded, bolted or between precast elements and the structural frame.

Terracon steel professionals perform testing in accordance with a number of specification standards. Our personnel are certified by the American Welding Society (AWS) and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). In-house compliance standards specify minimum requirements for certification and testing of Levels I, II and III personnel for magnetic particle, ultrasonic and liquid penetrant examination.


Deep Foundation Nondestructive TestingBack to Top

Cross-Hole Sonic Logging (CSL)
Using state-of-the-art equipment, Terracon professionals can provide Deep Foundation Nondestructive Testing (NDT) services throughout the country. Having conducted testing on over 28,000 lineal feet of drilled shafts throughout the United States, we have the experience to deliver quality data and analysis in a timely fashion to meet your project and construction needs.

NDT of deep foundations is a specialized field requiring equipment and personnel trained in current procedures and methods. NDT can be applied to many deep foundations, including drilled shafts and piers for determination of construction foundation integrity, detection of anomalies or determination of foundation length.

Terracon foundation and structural consulting professionals offer NDT testing of deep foundations using Cross-Hole Sonic Logging (CSL), Cross-Hole Tomography (CT) and Sonic Echo/Impulse Response (SE/IR) methods. Our personnel have been trained on and use state-of-the-art equipment and software developed by Pile Dynamics, Inc. (PDI) and Olson Instruments, Inc. In addition, NDT professionals are involved in numerous continuing education and publishing opportunities throughout the year.


Forensic Investigation and Evaluation of In-place MaterialsBack to Top

When failures occur, it is common for the parties involved to disagree on the cause. “Experts” in their respective fields are often engaged to investigate and determine the cause of failures. Terracon professionals are often called upon to provide forensic services.

  • Site review and photography
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Identifying standards of care
  • Identifying applicable codes, standards, regulations, etc.
  • Researching opinions of other experts
  • Claim evaluation
  • Subsurface exploration
  • Laboratory testing
  • Data analysis and reports
  • Consultation
  • Participation in interrogatories and depositions
  • Trial testimony

Many Terracon professionals are considered experts in the following fields:

  • Geotechnical engineering, slope stability, earth dams and foundations
  • Evaluating performance of materials including soils, concrete, masonry, and asphalt
  • Performance of materials engineering and testing
  • Foundation evaluations
  • Wind damage evaluations


Diving ServicesBack to Top

Utilizing surface-supplied diving equipment (hard hat diving) along with trained and certified commercial divers and professional engineers, Terracon performs inspections and other diving related services. These services further our testing and inspection competencies and technical capabilities. Our diving activities provide clients with access to underwater structures and information necessary to complete their projects while aiding in assuring the integrity of structural elements below the waterline. All underwater activities are performed in accordance with safe diving practices specified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Army Corps of Engineers, and Association of Diving Contractors International. Additionally, a thorough site-specific emergency action plan is prepared for each dive event.

Materials Inspection/Assessment of:

  • FHA Bridge Substructure Inspections – Level I, II, III Bridge Inspections in accordance with Federal Highway Administration National Bridge Inspection Standards Adopted in January 2005
  • Underwater Quality Assurance/Quality Control
  • Intake, Outfall Structures
  • Lock and Dam Structures
  • Ecological/Environmental Surveys
  • Potable Water Storage Facilities
  • Fire Supression Water Storage Facilities
  • Wastewater Treatment Facilities
  • Chemical and Powerhouse Facilities
  • Industrial Cooling and Reclamation Chambers/Pits
  • Pipelines, to Include Penetration
  • Riverfront Structures & Marine Terminals
  • Vessels, to Include Detailed Hull and Running Gear
  • Asset Recovery
  • Unmanned Inspection through Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
  • Hydrographic Mapping

Other Underwater Service Capabilities but not limited to:

  • Potable Water Diving
  • Contaminated Water Diving
  • Video/Digital Photography
  • Welding
  • Nondestructive Testing – Ultrasonic testing
  • Partial & Destructive Sampling
  • Coatings
  • Coating Thickness
  • Debris Removal
  • Sediment Removal


Additional ServicesBack to Top

  • Consulting for material selection, compatibility and acceptability
  • Pavement materials engineering and construction management