01 Apr, 2024

Site investigations are essential to identify any potential weaknesses in your project, helping you keep to your schedule and budget with peace of mind.

Conducting concrete cube testing is one of the main ways to guarantee that your concrete is strong and safe to use. If the concrete you use isn’t up to the requirements of your project, then it could crack, crumble, or collapse under heavy loads in just a few months.

In this article, you will find out how concrete cube testing can give you confidence in the quality of your concrete.

What is Concrete Cube Testing?

Concrete cube testing is the process of testing concrete for its level of workability, strength, and other key qualities. Typically, cubed samples of concrete are extracted from the site and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Experts will then determine the quality of the concrete.

The control of concrete quality is crucial in avoiding structural issues in construction projects. If concrete is not tested to the relevant BS or BS EN Standards, the progress of projects can be put at risk, potentially leaving you with the cost of downtime, repairs, and new materials.

Concrete cube testing ensures that your concrete can withstand the level of compression forces required for its intended use. This means that your projects can go ahead as planned, and you can be assured that you’re complying with British Standards.

How is Concrete Cube Testing Performed?

Different concrete testing methods can be conducted depending on whether the concrete is freshly mixed or hardened. Tests typically measure the concrete’s water permeability / moisture absorption, carbonation depth or bond strength, workability, and compressive strength.

Slump testing ensures that the correct amount of water has been added to a mix. A cone is filled with three equal layers of concrete before it’s turned upside down to determine if the concrete will stay in place. For the concrete to be suitable for use, it must maintain the same shape. If it subsides, it’s considered a shear slump. If it collapses, it’s considered a collapse slump.

Compression testing requires cube samples to be made in 100mm or 150mm cube moulds and sent to the laboratory for analysis. There, the cubes are filled with wet concrete in two or three layers and left to cure.

The following day, they are removed from the moulds and left to cure in a tank at a temperature of 20°C. The cubes are then tested in a compression machine where they are subjected to an increasing weight until they crack, crumble, or collapse. The resultant crushing strength will then be compared to the intended load resistance of the concrete mix.

Test cores may also be drilled out from hardened concrete, allowing strength tests to be conducted on older or suspect concrete if necessary.

The Importance of Quality Control in Construction

Ensuring the integrity of the work you manage is critical. One reason is that while it may cost more at the start of the project to use quality, tested concrete, durable and strong concrete will require less maintenance over time, saving you in repair costs.

Most of all, quality control in construction means that buildings and other projects are durable, suitable for their intended use, and safe for everyone around them. There are multiple industry standards for concrete to ensure that construction projects are conducted to the necessary quality and safety requirements.

Concrete British Standards

British Standards for concrete specify different methods and guidelines for all stages of concrete development and application.

They are as follows:

  • BS 8500 is the British Standard describing the methods of specifying concrete and provides guidance for the specifier.
  • BS EN 206 clarifies the best practices for specifying, producing, and using concrete in construction structures in all conditions. It also specifies the guidance on conformity assessments.
  • BS EN 12390-1 specifies the tolerances, shapes, and dimensions of concrete cube test specimens, as well as cylinders and prisms and the moulds required to produce them.
  • BS 1881-108 covers the method for making and curing test cubes from fresh concrete, while BS EN 12390-2 describes the methods for hardened concrete.

Concrete Cube Testing by ACS

ACS offers an extensive range of UKAS Accredited testing methods on fresh and hardened concrete. With ACS concrete testing and investigations, you will be provided with quality service from our experienced technicians, who hold current CSCS cards and are thoroughly trained in safety procedures.

Not sure what type of concrete testing you need? Our team would be happy to talk to you about any concrete testing projects you may need assistance with – contact us today.