Laboratory Assessment Program
AMRL’s Laboratory Assessment Program (LAP) was established in 1966 to provide on-site assessments of laboratories that perform testing of materials that are used for construction and the preservation of roads and bridges. The scope of the program currently includes the following fields of testing: soil, aggregate, asphalt cement, emulsified asphalt, hot mix asphalt, metals, and spray-applied fire-resistive materials (SFRM). Laboratories that participate include state DOT’s and other government laboratories, universities, research facilities, material producers, and commercial testing laboratories.
The On-Site Assessment
An on-site assessment can last anywhere from one to five days, depending on a laboratory’s scope of testing. A typical assessment begins with an opening meeting, where the assessor reviews the scope and schedule of the assessment with laboratory personnel. Next, the laboratory’s technical personnel demonstrate each test method while being closely observed by the Assessor. The testing is performed on samples of construction materials that are provided by the laboratory. The apparatus associated with each test method is also examined for conformance to AASHTO and/or ASTM requirements. Our assessors are equipped with kits of specialized equipment for this purpose, such as thermocouples, standard masses, digital calipers, and digital vacuum gauges.
The on-site assessment may also include a review of the laboratory’s quality management system, including the quality manual, for conformance to the requirements of the AASHTO Accreditation Program
(AAP) and AASHTO R 18
. This review is required for laboratories that participate in AAP. A review of the quality system requirements noted in the following ASTM standards may also be included, if desired: C 1077, D3666, D3740, and E329.
At the conclusion of the assessment, the assessor will conduct a closing meeting with laboratory staff. A preliminary report of the findings uncovered during the assessment is distributed. The findings are discussed and questions are answered by the assessor to ensure that each finding is thoroughly understood by laboratory staff. Upon return to the AMRL office, the official final report is prepared and then distributed to the testing laboratory within 30 days of the closing meeting.
Our assessors are technical experts in the CMT industry and will provide you with excellent customer service. AMRL Assessors are subjected to a rigorous training program that includes thorough in-house instruction as well as shadowing on-site assessments. AMRL encourages professional development and many of our Assessors have received additional technical training from organizations such as Troxler, Humboldt, National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET), National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT), and the Asphalt Institute.
Preparing for an Assessment
Laboratories should be familiar with the specific AASHTO and ASTM test method requirements for each requested test. Official and current versions of each applicable test method should be available at the testing laboratory for review by the Assessor. Assessment Preparation Lists are available on our website (on the Laboratory Assessment page). These lists describe the steps that laboratories should take to prepare for each test, such as sample preparation and testing guidance. In addition, the test method worksheets used by the Assessor are available to registered users of our website. These worksheets are checklists that include the specific apparatus and testing requirements for each test method, as well as quality management system requirements.
AMRL prides itself on providing excellent customer service to our valued customers. Feedback regarding your on-site assessment experience will be actively solicited during and after the assessment. You will have the opportunity to rate the Assessor on categories such as knowledge, communication, and punctuality. Your feedback is taken seriously and helps us improve our programs and services.
Interested laboratories must submit an Assessment Request
in order to schedule an on-site assessment. AASHTO accreditation can also be requested by using this form. You will be notified of the specific on-site assessment date approximately 3-4 weeks in advance. AMRL completes a tour of all laboratories within an approximately 24-month interval. Therefore, on-site assessments take place approximately every 2 years at each facility. Visit the schedule
to determine if we will be visiting your area in the near future. If you would like to have an assessment at a time other than that shown on the schedule, an additional fee
for an out-of-sequence assessment may apply. Regular assessment fees
are calculated based on the requested scope of testing.