Geotechnical testing laboratories are being invited to benchmark their skills against others worldwide in a bid to improve standards.
This third bi-annual proficiency scheme, run by Geolabs, allows laboratories to anonymously carry out tests on identical samples and compare results with other similar organisations.
“The BRE started a similar programme in the 1960s,” says Geolabs director John Masters. “This initiative operates in the same way with all the results reported but companies only know where they fall within the rankings and not the names of the other participants.”
In addition to enabling labs to identify areas where equipment needs replacing or staff need further training, Masters said that the testing has also helped to refine testing methods used in the UK. “The BRE’s comparison of the Casagrande method and cone penetration testing for liquid limit helped to show that the cone method was more reliable,” he said.
Samples for the 2012 proficiency testing are currently being prepared and labs can still register to take part.