Friday, November 11, 2011

AMRL and Caltrans together at last?

The last thing from the CalAPA meeting that I thought was worth mentioning to our quality control readers is that Caltrans is currently moving towards using AASHTO test methods in the future.  They plan to require each lab that tests materials for Caltrans jobs to be AASHTO/AMRL certified in the future.  This includes the Caltrans laboratories, and will probably make quite a few independent laboratories happy because there has always been grumblings about how it can't be effective for Caltrans to certify its own laboratories.  With AMRL, the Caltrans laboratories will be certified by a third party, making the entire process more fair.  This will hopefully reduce some of the issues between Caltrans lab results and independent lab results not matching up.

Joe Peterson is not sure at this time whether or not Caltrans will still keep the Caltrans Independent Assurance (IA) program but believes that they probably will because several of the tests that Caltrans requires (CV for example) are not AASHTO test methods and therefore can not be AMRL qualified.

Although this will take the independent lab certifications from being free through Caltrans to having a fee from a AMRL certification company, this is a great move on Caltrans' part.  Like I mentioned before, it should cut down on some of the inaccuracies and trust issues between Caltrans' labs and our labs but it will also save the taxpayers a great deal of money since the IA program will likely be greatly reduced in size and man hours.

The AASHTO/AMRL accreditation information can be found here.  Their system of accreditation is very similar to the Caltrans IA program but is slightly more strict.  You will probably need to update your Quality Control Manual with additional information about your lab, personnel, and procedures and you may also have to implement a few additional lab and calibration procedures into your work.  Your Quality Management System will need to meet the requirement of AASHTO R-18: "Standard Practice for Establishing and Implementing a Quality Management System for Construction Materials Testing Laboratories"  which is for sale for $55 at the online AASHTO Bookstore here.

Good Luck!

1 comment:

  1. It appears as if the state is going through some sort of rebirth with respect to the department of transportation. Kudos to Mr. Peterson. This is a huge momentum shift for the state and I am sure that it comes with a great deal of heartache.