Best Practice for Materials Testing

Keeping on top of the materials testing industry can be challenging. Tests come in and out of popularity; often as a result of changes in legislation. When it comes to preparing a tender for testing services, it isn’t always an experienced engineer tasked with putting the spec together, so we’ve put together a list of six key considerations to help you with your next tender.

  1. Rarely will testing requirements be identical from one project to the next. They are often similar, and it is common to receive a specification where elements have been “cut and pasted”, but there are times when previous requirements are not all relevant.
  2. Involve your test house as early in the process as possible. Engage with the experts as a part of the tender scoping process – it just might change the way you approach the job entirely.
  3. Review the testing requirements thoroughly before submitting. Do the math’s. Even if you aren’t an experienced technician, you’ll get a feel for whether it makes sense or not.
  4. Don’t forget to include tender approval into the process. Understand the timing implications for your project.
  5. Before you submit the RFP, get someone else to review it. Find someone with first-hand knowledge of the tests you are requesting to sanity check it.
  6. Give your test house sufficient time to deliver a considered response. While they thrive on short turnaround times, they need enough time to give you an accurate proposal.

We appreciate most of this seems like common sense, but experience has taught us that small errors in the materials testing RFP process can lead to major delays further down the line. As the dynamics of the modern construction industry change, we are seeing more engagement with back-office staff, finance departments or commercial staff in the RFP process. You can’t always assume that the person who has been tasked with putting the tender together understands the implications of each and every test.

Communication is key. With fewer materials engineers in the industry, project managers may not have access to best-practice advice in terms of test methods, frequency and timings. Don’t assume that because a test can be carried out by a supplier, that they can also design a test schedule and interpret the results on your behalf.

This is where a good materials testing partner can add value. Here at CET we offer tender support to clients and prospects alike; no fee and no obligation for quotes. If we are asked to submit a proposal, we will quote based on the requirements; but expect us to also make some recommendations (based on our experience) around frequency and types of test.

More often than not, our clients are sub-contractors themselves. The smoke and mirrors approach to hiding suppliers has been eliminated in recent years, as visibility of specialist suppliers can actually be a good thing.

If you are looking for some support on your next RFP, or looking for a testing house that offers greater value than simply executing a list of tests, contact CET now on 0343 227 2362 or email