Survey of CCIL Certified Concrete Laboratories
In November 2014, the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories (CCIL) conducted a survey of all concrete laboratories certified by CCIL. The purpose of the survey was to: determine their level of satisfaction with CCIL's certification program, and identify opportunities for improvement and promotion of the program.
The results are now in, and overall, you think we're doing a pretty good job. While we will always strive to do better, we're glad you're generally pleased with the program.
Here's what you told us:
- 88% agreed that the program provides a valuable service.
- 67% agreed that CCIL is adequately involved in the development of the standards used for this program, and 60% agreed that CCIL promotes and advertises the program to the extent necessary.
- 61% agreed that the current fees charged for the program are appropriate. Only 22% thought that CCIL's service to this program should be increased.
- 79% of respondents felt that the reference and working documents are a benefit to their laboratory.
- There are very high levels of satisfaction with the annual audit process (86%) and CCIL's response time for laboratory technician certification (83%).
- 57% agreed that they have seen general improvements since CCIL took over the administration of the program in 2009.
The survey was administered by PR POST to ensure independence, protect the anonymity of respondents, and encourage frank input. The survey was distributed via Survey Monkey to 278 certified labs. The response rate was 37%.
For a full report on the Survey, please click here.
The certification of Concrete laboratories is a national program which certifies laboratories in accordance with CSA A283-06, the current qualification code for concrete testing laboratories, as well as additional criteria as may be established by CCIL.
CSA A283-06 defines several mandatory components, including:
- The laboratory shall have the equipment and trained staff capable of performing the test procedures for the category under which the laboratory is certified.
- The equipment shall be maintained and calibrated to comply with the appropriate requirements of CSA A23.2 and CSA A283.
- Each certified laboratory shall employ at least one technician who holds a valid CCIL Certified Concrete Field Testing Technician card. In addition, laboratories must employ one or more technicians qualified in the appropriate category, and for all additional tests listed on the laboratory's certificate.
- The laboratory shall maintain records of test results, within-laboratory proficiency, calibration and verification of equipment, qualifications of staff, and identified deficiencies and corresponding corrective measures.
- The laboratory must be under the supervision of an engineer licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which the laboratory is located and who has a minimum of two years of working experience in the operation of a concrete testing laboratory and is a full-time employee of the laboratory.
- The laboratory shall execute a formal undertaking in writing to abide by the test methods and procedures in the applicable standards.
- The laboratory shall demonstrate continued compliance by undergoing an audit by CCIL at least once per year to maintain its certification.
In addition, all new Concrete laboratories applying for certification must participate in correlation testing to demonstrate their proficiency and ability to produce reliable test results on compression samples.
There are four categories of Concrete laboratory certification:
- Category 0 - Basic certification. This category includes the most common field procedures for sampling and testing plastic concrete, and measuring the compressive strength of concrete.
- Category 0 - Basic certification plus the flexural test option. This category includes all the tests in Category 0, as well as the field and laboratory procedures for measuring the flexural strength of concrete.
- Category 1 - Intermediate certification. This category includes all the tests in Category 0, as well as laboratory and field procedures for sampling and testing concrete aggregates, more tests on plastic concrete, and the obtaining and testing of drilled cores.
- Category 2 - Advanced certification. This category includes all the tests in Category 1, as well as more specialized tests on aggregates and concrete.
Laboratories certified as Category 1 or 2 may also be certified for several test methods defined in CSA A283-06 as additional tests. In general, these are specialized tests performed on aggregates, concrete, groundwater, and grout.
Concrete technicians employed by certified laboratories must demonstrate their proficiency in carrying out the test procedures for which the laboratory is certified, through practical tests and written examinations. Technicians passing the written and practical Field Exams are issued a CCIL Certified Concrete Field Testing Technician card valid for a period of 5 years. The laboratory is provided with a written record of technicians passing the written and practical Laboratory Exams. The qualifications of a laboratory technician are also valid for five years.
Program Details and Tests
The test methods included in the CCIL certification program for Concrete laboratories are those listed in Update No. 2 of CSA A283-06 (dated June 2013). Test method ASTM E1155M is not included in the program because it applies to construction tolerances rather than material properties. The following test methods are included in each category:
- Category 0 - Basic Certification: CSA A23.2-1C, 3C (compression specimens only), 4C, 5C, 9C, 17C and 19C;
- Category 0 - Basic Certification plus the flexural test option: Category 0 tests methods plus CSA A 23.2-3C (flexural test specimens) and 8C;
- Category 1 - Intermediate Certification: Category 0 test methods plus CSA A23.2-1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A, 7A, 10A, 11A, 12A, 13A, 6C and 14C;
- Category 2 - Advanced Certification: Category 1 test methods plus CSA A23.2-8A, 2C, 11C and 12C (including 18C).
- Laboratories certified as Category 1 or 2 may be certified for any of the following additional tests: CSA A23.2-9A, 14A, 16A, 17A, 23A, 24A, 25A, 26A, 29A, 1B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 6B, 8B, 3C (flexural test specimens), 7C, 8C, 10C, 13C, 15C, 16C, 18C, 20C, 21C and ASTM C457, C666/C666M and C1202.
Reference and Working Documents
The following documents provide info and the terms of references for the certification program:
- CCIL Concrete Certification Program Application for Services Form
- Information for New Concrete Laboratory Applicants
- CCIL Concrete Testing Laboratory Certification Program Description
- CCIL Concrete Testing Laboratory Certification Compliance Report
- CCIL Concrete Testing Laboratory Certification Checklist
- Procedures for Upgrading the Certification of Concrete Laboratories
- CCIL LC-102 , Concrete Laboratory Certification Document
Laboratories must purchase copies of:
- CSA Standard A283-06 "Qualification code for concrete testing laboratories"
- CSA Standard A23.1-09 "Concrete materials and methods of concrete construction and CSA Standard A23.2-09 "Test methods and standard practices for concrete"
- All ASTM Standards for which the laboratory is certified.
CCIL does not provide any technician training. Alternative ways of preparing technicians for the written and practical examinations, and details of the examinations, are given in the document:
Information for New Applicants (How to Become Certified)
There are a number of documents given above, under Reference and working documents that describe the certification process for a concrete testing laboratory and provide other information relevant to the process. The document "CCIL Concrete Testing Laboratory Certification Program Description" describes the procedure for the certification and annual audit of concrete laboratories. A more informal description, as well as details of the concrete cylinder correlation test, is contained in the document "Information for New Concrete Laboratory Applicants". Information concerning technicians, and the written and practical examinations for laboratory and field technicians, is given in the document "Training and Certification of Concrete Technicians".
The certification process begins when the applicant laboratory completes an "Application for Services" form. The form must be signed by the supervising professional engineer of the laboratory and state the category of laboratory to be certified and the number of technicians to be examined. Completed applications should be emailed to the CCIL Certification Office, firstname.lastname@example.org . Upon receipt of the form, the applicant will be contacted by CCIL to review the application and answer any questions relating to the certification process. Information on fees is available from the CCIL Certification Office.