Nick Fransted, PE
CMET Division Manager
As you turn on your lights at home or push the start button on your microwave, it is easy to forget what goes into making everyday life convenient. Winter storms have a tendency to remind us of our reliance on electricity when the power goes out and candlelight and wood fires just do not cut it. It is our dependence on electricity that illustrates the necessity of building power-generating facilities to last.
Materials Testing Consultants has developed the capabilities and procedures to help energy companies ensure their upgrades and renovations meet the specifications and requirements the design engineers intended. To demonstrate our experience, in 2012 we provided construction materials testing at all three nuclear plants in Michigan, at three hydroelectric dams, at a coal power plant, various natural gas and oil pipeline projects, and at two wind turbine projects. All of these projects have their unique attributes and testing requirements but their one commonality is high quality requirements. Testing and inspection of many materials included deep foundation installation monitoring, pile integrity testing, preconstruction approval of concrete aggregates including alkali silica reactivity testing and soundness, field concrete testing, epoxy grout testing, various soil subgrade verification, soil density testing, masonry testing, thermal imaging, ground penetrating radar, and steel bolting and welding inspection.
Prior to providing our services, each of our energy clients has in some way reviewed or audited MTC and our quality assurance procedures. They each found at a minimum, we are AASHTO accredited and participate in AASHTO reference sample programs and independent reviews of our internal quality program. Our in-house laboratory meets the requirements of ASTM C1077, D3666 and D3740, the standards that set minimum requirements for laboratories conducting tests on concrete and aggregates, bituminous paving materials, soil and rock. While the certifications and programs are not an easy standard to obtain, we prefer to maintain higher standards through a greater level of personnel training and special attention to human performance and complacency.
What drives us as a company is exceeding our client’s expectations and in the end, looking back on a project with a sense of accomplishment. To demonstrate our performance, the following excerpt was received from one of our clients this winter as we completed testing for one of the nuclear plant projects:
“As part of the oversight on this project, I had the opportunity to research the specifications involved with the concrete testing we were requiring. I was impressed with the level of detail required to perform these tests. For example, on a slump test everything is specified from the wetting of the equipment, the number of layers, number of times to rod, depth of rodding, type and dimensions of rod and mold, how to strike off the surface, the measuring device, how to raise the mold and how long it should take to raise it, and how to measure the slump. During my observations, I was impressed with the attention to detail and the strict adherence to the ASTM standards that your technician took. Every one of the details specified was followed. We have been doing a lot of other concrete placements and I have had the opportunity to watch other testing companies performing the same work and your technician stands out. It’s easy to get complacent when you are doing this work over and over, but I saw no signs of that with your technician. His work reflects well on your organization.”
It is positive feedback similar to the comments above that helps propel us to meet the highest standards on any type of project. The energy sector is one of those areas that is critical to all of us and we want to help ensure it is BUILT TO LAST.