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The importance of compliance testing of quarry products and how it can help quarries secure more projects

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Quarries play a crucial role in the construction industry by providing essential materials such as aggregates, concrete, asphalt, and road base. These materials must meet specific requirements and standards to ensure they are safe and reliable for use in construction projects. Compliance testing is a process that helps ensure the products produced by quarries meet these standards, and it is an essential aspect of quality assurance in the quarrying industry.

What is compliance testing?

Compliance testing is the process of testing quarry products to ensure they meet the required specifications for their use in various construction materials. The testing is performed on products such as concrete, asphalt, and road base to determine their strength, durability, and overall suitability for particular applications. Compliance testing is vital to ensure that products meet the required standards, which gives confidence in their quality.

For example, in Queensland, the main roads specification MRTS05 Unbound Pavements states that:

  • Compliance testing of unbound pavements shall be done on a lot basis, in accordance with MRTS01 Introduction to Technical Specifications.
  • A lot must contain only the same subtype of material.
  • The Contractor is responsible for performing enough tests to ensure compliance with Technical Specification requirements for each lot.
  • The Contractor’s testing program must be equal to or exceed the minimum specified in this clause.
  • The Contractor must provide sufficient, clearly documented construction compliance records to ensure traceability of unbound pavement materials from their source to the constructed pavement.
  • Materials may only be incorporated into the work if they meet Technical Specification requirements before delivery to site.
  • Conformance results must not be over 18 months old unless the Administrator agrees otherwise.

What tests are involved, and what do they tell us?

Basic compliance testing includes grading the material to determine the particle size distribution (PSD – the dispersal of individual particle sizes across the entire sample) of the product. There are also various strength tests performed to determine the durability and overall strength of the rock. Such tests can include; Point Load, Wet/Dry Strength Variation, Degradation Factor, Los Angeles Abrasion, and Mill Abrasion. These tests allow us to determine the overall suitability of the product for certain applications.

Why is compliance testing important, and how does it relate to quality assurance?

Compliance testing is crucial as it ensures that the products being produced and sold meet the requirements and specifications, which gives confidence in their quality. Compliance testing is part of the overall Quality Assurance (QA) program within the quarry, which helps ensure that the products produced by the quarry are of a consistent quality and meet the required standards.

Why is it Important for the testing to be accurate and reliable?

Testing of quarry products needs to be done accurately to provide the quarry with results that are relative to the products being produced. The testing also needs to be conducted within a specific time frame as the sale of products can be reliant on the test results. If false or misleading results are supplied, then the products may be used in applications that they are technically not fit for. This could lead to catastrophic failures in concrete structures, road failures, and other structural integrity issues.

How does compliance testing and QA programs help quarries secure projects?

A good quality assurance program and reliable compliance testing give confidence to prospective clients of the quarry. In particular, relevant government agencies (for example Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads) look for compliance test certificates when quarry products are being delivered to major highway projects. These agencies have a list of specifications and requirements that quarry products must meet to be used on their projects. Additionally, concrete producers have requirements that the aggregates must meet to be fit for purpose in concrete applications. Asphalt and Precoat aggregates must also meet specific specifications before they can be used in road seal applications.

Compliance testing is an essential aspect of quality assurance in the quarrying industry. It ensures that the products produced by quarries meet the required specifications and standards, which gives confidence in their quality. Compliance testing is critical to the success of quarries, as it helps them win projects by demonstrating their commitment to specifications, quality, and reliability. Quarries must ensure that their compliance testing is accurate and reliable to maintain the trust and confidence of their clients and the wider construction industry.

Require compliance and QA assistance for your quarry?

At Geotechnical Services, we have a team of Managers and Technicians who have decades of experience working with quarries across Queensland and throughout Australia providing aggregate testing services and expert advice to ensure their compliance testing and QA programs are unparalleled.

Contact our team here if you’d like more information or click here to request a quote.