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New Approach To Materials Compliance

30 September 2014

Costain has developed a new approach to materials testing, giving work sites and operational units an opportunity to establish their own laboratories in direct support of their business activity.

Overseen by Bhavika Ramrakhyani, Costain’s Materials and Technical Manager, and reporting to Bill Hewlett, Group Technical Director, the Company has developed a set of flexi-scope tests that are tailor-made so labs can be quickly and efficiently established to meet operational needs.

Costain is one of a handful of organisations to be granted Flexible Scope as a UKAS accredited testing laboratory, No.1489, replacing the centralised service that used to be offered by Costain Environmental Services (CES).

This new approach carries many tangible benefits for the customer because it offers improved cost controls and a rapid turnaround in reporting, highlighting any potential issues.

Other benefits include giving an on the spot commercial interpretation of the test results. For example, if tests from concrete summaries reveal elevated strengths, people on the ground can manage the reduction of cement, which will save money and enhance sustainability.

For more complex projects with long lead times, the work carried out by the on-site testing team will contribute to a body of knowledge that will benefit the project by harnessing and implementing a best practice approach.

“This new approach to Materials Compliance Testing enables us to establish laboratories and obtain accreditation as soon as we are operational. That means we are not required to wait several months for an initial assessment visit. As part of a highly skilled and trained technical team, on-site lab testing provides a clear and effective reporting system which will highlight areas of concern and enable decisions to be made with greater confidence,” said Bhavika.

Costain is principally accredited to internationally recognised standards BS, BSEN and ASTM procedures. Where such standards do not exist or are not relevant, the Group Materials Expert Community has developed and validated in-house methods. The Site Lab teams are accredited to BS EN ISO 17025:2005 for a wide range of activities.

The new approach has already enjoyed some success. Since gaining accreditation, facilities at LUL Bond Street recently tested materials used in sprayed concrete lining. Elsewhere, a lab is up and running at the M6 to Heysham Link Road and a lab is being set up at Felixstowe.

Negotiations, as a part of its work winning and ECI phase works, are also at an advanced stage for a suite of laboratories at other projects.





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