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How Automatic Alerts & Notifications Improve Construction Materials Testing Results Management

Before construction can move forward, engineers and technicians have to first approve the materials in use – a keystone of the CMT process. That’s why engineers and technicians at your organization work tirelessly on projects to provide a high-quality testing experience for your customers. To ensure that you and your customers achieve prompt, actionable testing results and deliverable reports, you need automatic alerts and notifications.

For many organizations, the CMT workflow is highly manual, which can lead to missed or late tests, overlooked material strength issues, ASTM non-compliance and delayed strength report review and approval.

A manual workflow coupled with high demand and a labor shortage only magnifies the problem. When lab techs, project managers and professional engineers are overloaded yet operating under a time-consuming, manual review and notification process, issues with tested construction materials might slip through the cracks – increasing the risk and cost of the construction project and ultimately negatively impacting your customer relationships.

Let’s look at three examples to see why and how this is a problem.

3 CMT Issues that Need to be Flagged Right Away

#1. Cylinders Overdue

Traditionally, CMT labs test cylinders at specific intervals after concrete placement. It’s important that cylinders are broken in the correct time window to comply with contractual obligations, building code and industry standards.

The clock starts with wet concrete. The cylinder must first set in a controlled environment in the field before moving to the lab to finish the curing process. Any mistimed step during this process would deem the cylinders unusable for testing because time, weather and various other conditions all impact the concrete’s properties.

In the lab, the shorter the testing interval, the smaller the time window for completing and reporting the test. Fast and accurate alerts on which cylinders need to be tested when is critical to the CMT workflow.

#2. Below Expected Strength

To give a better indication of concrete strength, ACI standards require a set of cylinder breaks to be averaged and reported as one “test” to provide comprehensive results.

So, say a lab tests a set of 28-day cylinders and the average of that set is too low. This means the concrete strength is in question and requires an investigation of strength tests according to ACI 318 to determine the significance of low test results and whether they indicate need for concern. A series of in-place tests might be triggered, adding significant cost and delays to the project.

It’s critical to be aware of any low breaks so the lab knows to hold a cylinder for testing at a future date, and the project stakeholders know that they need to evaluate possibly substandard concrete.

#3. Early Break Results

Lastly, even though early breaks are not used for acceptance of concrete, they are an important part of the project. Determining the strength of concrete for form removal, post-tensioning and highway opening are all examples of early tests. Maturity sensors can be used to approximate the early strength, but most project managers like to test at least one actual cylinder as verification. The quicker these early results can get to the project site, the quicker the project can proceed.

Your LIMS may report on the above results, but it lacks the functionality you need to proactively act on them. In short, you need an automatic way to send and receive alerts and notifications before a problem becomes serious. This functionality is not built into a LIMS, but it is built into ForneyTools, essential concrete testing software for ForneyVault users.

Here’s how it works.

Automatic Alerts & Notifications with ForneyTools

Your organization can prevent the above construction material problems (and much more) and optimize the CMT testing process with ForneyTools Alerting. This new Alert & Notification functionality allows you to work smarter and faster – and fortify your CMT business by proactively monitoring crucial test results and reporting workflows in near real-time.

The key is making information that’s already created – sample date and times, test results, scheduled break age – actionable in some way. All of this data is already captured but requires someone to manually look for it. With automatic alerts from ForneyTools, users can shift focus from seeking out issues to proactively solving them.

ForneyTools Alerting Features & Benefits

ForneyTools provides testing labs with a path to CMT visibility in today’s complex and distributed construction project landscape.

With automated and actionable SMS and email alerts, test labs are prepared to efficiently respond to test results and deliver timely strength reports that keep projects moving forward. At the same time, project managers can receive testing insights in near real-time, seamlessly collaborate, and elevate test results and status visibility to key stakeholders.

Replacing error-prone manual processes with ForneyTools Alerting will benefit you in five ways:

  1. Enhance resource utilization
  2. Scale your team
  3. Reduce cost
  4. Improve test process reliability and response time
  5. Produce valuable process metrics

Here’s how specific alerts work.

Test Due

Like a calendar reminder, Test Due notifies you when a test is due to complete in the specified coming days/hours. This ensures that you remain compliant with ASTM C39.

Test Overdue

Test Overdue notifies you when a test is not completed by the specified due dates/time. With a proactive notification, you can quickly address test tasks that the team mistakenly missed and any compliance issues.

Completed Set

Completed Set notifies you when your 28-day set has been tested, helping you stay on track with test result review and reporting.

Early Break Set

Early Break notifications can be used for road opening, post-tensioning or form removal. This allows you to effectively manage time-sensitive tasks for your project.

Low Break Set

Low Break will notify you when material expected strength is too low per your specification so you can avoid material and project compliance risks.

Outlier Specimen

Outlier will notify you when a material’s expected strength is out of range per your specification, again helping you avoid material and project compliance risks.

Report Workflow

Report Workflow notifications let you know when someone has submitted a strength report for your approval or if a report that you submitted was rejected. This empowers you to efficiently collaborate and manage the reporting workflow, proactively address issues surfaced in reports and remain on schedule.

Conclusion

Configuring pre-defined alerts for your projects is effortless with the ForneyTools Alert manager. Choose the project, type of alert, alert parameters, notification message type, recipients – and you’re up and operational. Once alert notifications are flowing, stay organized with ForneyTools Alert Dashboard, where you can review and manage your triggered alert notifications. 

With automatic alerts and notifications, you can stay on top of possible testing issues and materials non-compliance while effectively managing your schedule and efficiently driving process improvements. 

See ForneyVault and the alerts & notifications feature in action by scheduling a no-strings-attached demo!

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