If you were to tell an engineer to reduce the reinforcing steel in a structure or to cut back on the design strength, s/he would probably think you were crazy. However, many engineers, owners, contractors, and laboratories routinely violate the building code and possibly endanger workers and the public.

It’s a violation of the building code when concrete producers aren’t provided with test results, yet it’s happening regularly. I know of no section in the building code or related standards that allows acceptance tests to be withheld from the concrete producer. It is time to put an end to this unsafe practice and comply with the code.

Of course, not all concrete is governed by the building code but, except for paving or government work, almost all concrete is covered by one of the documents below.

ACI 318-14, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete: Para (e) the Code states, “All reports of acceptance tests shall be provided to the licensed design professional, contractor, concrete producer, and, if requested, to the owner and the building official.” I don’t think the Code can be any clearer than that.

Furthermore, the commentary to the Code states, “R26.12.1.1(e) The Code requires testing reports to be distributed to the parties responsible for the design, construction, and approval of the work. Such distribution of test reports should be indicated in contracts for inspection and testing services. Prompt distribution of testing reports allows for timely identification of either compliance or the need for corrective action. A complete record of testing allows the concrete producer to reliably establish appropriate mixture proportions for future work.”

ACI 301-10, Specifications for Structural Concrete: Section 1.6 of ACI 301 needs to be clarified by ACI. First, it states that the owner may hire a testing lab to do inspection and testing. If so, section states, “The Owner’s testing agency will report test and inspection results of the Work to Owner, Architect/Engineer, Contractor, and concrete supplier within seven days after tests and inspections are performed.”

However, Section 1.6 states that the contractor will retain a testing lab to do tests as required by the contract documents. However, there is no specific requirement in ACI 301 that the contractor’s lab report test results to the concrete producer. However, there are statements in several ASTM documents that any test for acceptance of the concrete must be reported to the concrete producer.

ASTM C94, Standard Specification for Ready-Mixed Concrete: Para. 6.1 of ASTM C94 contains the following statement, “The purchaser [of the concrete] shall ensure that the manufacturer is provided copies of all reports of tests performed on concrete samples taken to determine compliance with specfication requirements.”

The only problem is that sometimes the purchaser does not hire the testing lab and does not control the distribution of tests. In that case it is the responsibility of the purchaser to specify to the organization that hires him/her that the tests be provided to the manufacturer.

What to do

If you are not receiving test results for a project, I hereby grant permission for you to print this article and provide it to the owner, designer, contractor, and laboratory and let them know that you are required to receive the concrete test results.

This is one elephant that doesn’t belong in our living rooms any longer. Let’s get rid of it. Read the full blog and participate in a discussion.

Jay Shilstone is a concrete technologist with Command Alkon Inc. He has been in the concrete industry for more than 35 years and has been working on quality control software. Shilstone is a Fellow of the ACI and a member of multiple ACI, ASTM, and NRMCA committees.