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The gold standard for laboratory accreditation in the construction industry

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"Nobody ever questions us when we submit our accreditations for a project based on procedures, proficiency sampling or lab audits. It gives us a good feeling that every time we do an audit, it will meet the minimum standards that are accepted in the Northeast."


Atlantic Testing Laboratories

Scott McCasland, CWI, Vice President, Quality

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50 years of experience
3,000+
PSP participants
22,000+
samples shipped per year
1,000
laboratory assessments per year
1,800+
accredited labs





Frequently Asked Questions - AASHTO Accreditation

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How do I find an accredited laboratory in my area?
Go to our accreditation directory and search based on your location. You can search by city or by entire state. You can even search by type of material being tested and by individual test method.
I hired a laboratory to work on a project because they said that they were AASHTO accredited. I checked the directory, and they are not listed. Why would this be?
It is because the laboratory is not accredited. Our database shows the current accreditation status of all laboratories in our program.

If you find that a laboratory is claiming accreditation when they are not actually accredited, you should contact AASHTO re:source about this false claim of accreditation.
Can I find out why a laboratory’s accreditation is suspended?
We cannot give you the specific details for a laboratory suspension, but it would most likely be one of the following reasons:
  • Lack of adequate resolution of nonconformities noted during their last AASHTO re:source or CCRL assessment report.
  • Repeated low ratings or non-participation in the AASHTO re:source or CCRL proficiency sample programs relevant to the laboratory's accreditation.
  • Non-payment of invoices for services rendered by AASHTO re:source.
  • Some other lack of conformance to the guidelines of the AASHTO Accreditation Program.
Please contact the suspended laboratory directly for more information on their suspension. If you want to be able to receive notifications about a particular suspension, please register yourself as a specifier on our website. As a specifier, you will receive access to accreditation change notifications, proficiency testing results, and more. Apply to become a specifier today.
How does my laboratory obtain AASHTO Accreditation?
For a detailed explanation on how to become AASHTO accredited, please review the following article: A Beginner’s Guide to AASHTO Accreditation. Below is a brief list of steps required to obtain accreditation:
  • Ensure that your laboratory’s practices and quality management system (QMS) meet the requirements of the AAP Procedure ManualAASHTO R 18, and any other ASTM quality system specifications that you may need to comply with such as C1077, D3666, D3740, and E329.
  • Schedule an on-site assessment with AASHTO re:source for asphalt binder, emulsified asphalt, hot mix asphalt, aggregate, soil, sprayed fire-resistive materials, pavement preservation, or metals testing accreditation. For concrete, cement, masonry, or rebar testing accreditation, please contact CCRL for the on-site assessment.
  • Enroll in the appropriate AASHTO re:source or CCRL proficiency sample programs. Enrollment in AASHTO re:source-supplied samples will be done automatically once we receive your request for accreditation. Please contact CCRL for enrollment in their program.
  • Complete your Annual Review form online. You can only view this documentation when logged into our website. The documentation provides us with your organizational structure, along with other basic laboratory and personnel information.
  • Resolve the nonconformities noted in your on-site assessment within 90 days of the issuance of the report. Please log in to our website and click “View My Accreditation Events” to submit responses. 
What are the benefits of AASHTO Accreditation?
The process of becoming accredited helps your laboratory improve its quality through our rigorous review of testing, equipment, and quality system management. Many laboratories that are new to the program find the process to be a bit overwhelming but ultimately they appreciate the benefits of knowing that their laboratory is maintaining the highest standard in the industry. Once your laboratory obtains the accreditation, you become part of the elite group of materials testing laboratories that can start bidding on projects that require the accreditation. Specifying agencies include the DOTs, FHWA, the FAA, and many local, state, and regional authorities.

Being accredited also enters you into the AASHTO re:source community of accredited laboratories. The people that work for laboratories in our program do more than just conform to standards – they set the standards. Many of the participants in our programs write and submit balloted changes to ASTM standards. As an AASHTO program, AASHTO re:source is able to offer its accredited labs the ability to submit a change to an AASHTO standard too – even if you don’t work at a state DoT, your voice can be heard by the AASHTO Subcommittee on Materials.
How long does it take to get my laboratory accredited?
That depends on how quickly you are prepared to get your on-site assessment, whether or not we have an assessor available to get to your laboratory quickly, and how quickly you can complete the process. Most of the process is in your hands – you are responsible for resolving all of the nonconformities in a timely manner. It can take 3 weeks or it can take 3 months.

How much is accreditation going to cost?
That depends - to maintain accreditation your lab will have to participate in both the PSP and the LAP programs. The fees associated with each of the programs, as well as the annual accreditation fees, can be found in the corresponding pages.

What is the minimum amount of tests that I need to perform to gain AASHTO Accreditation?
The minimum is technically one test, but you should always contact the agencies that require the accreditation to find out exactly what they suggest. If your laboratory is not accredited for the list of test methods or the quantity of test methods required by the specifying agency, the accreditation may not qualify your laboratory for certain jobs.

If you are required to become accredited for an ASTM quality management system specification such as C1077 or D3740, there are test requirements that are listed. Please view those documents before requesting an AASHTO re:source or CCRL on-site assessment.
Where can I get a detailed program description?
Download the Procedures Manual for the Accreditation of Construction Materials Testing Laboratories for a complete explanation of the AASHTO Accreditation Program’s policies and procedures.
Who do I talk to about my accreditation?
For specific questions regarding your laboratory’s accreditation, you would need to contact your Quality Analyst. Under the AASHTO Accreditation Details section of your lab’s homepage, you will find your Quality Analyst listed. You can also find a list of Quality Analysts and their contact information on the Contact Us page of the site.
I need to show that I am accredited in order to bid for a job. Where can I get something that shows the tests for which I am accredited?
Go to our Accreditation Directory and search for your laboratory. Once you locate it, click on “Show This Entry Only,” which will be located just under your laboratory name and location. Print the page that shows your laboratory’s information and submit it to your specifier as a means of proving your accreditation status. At the bottom of this page, you will see the date for which this information is considered valid. The specifier may wish to check the website directory themselves to ensure that the information is accurate. Our online directory shows the most current accreditation information. If you know who your specifier is, you can use the specifier selection function that can be found by selecting “View / Manage Specifiers” from your laboratory’s home page. If you select them, you allow them direct access to your accreditation information.
I am already accredited and need to add D3666 right away so I can bid for an airport job. Can you help me?
That depends – do you meet the requirements of D3666? You can submit evidence to your Quality Analyst showing that your laboratory meets the requirements. We charge $100 for the review of this documentation. Often laboratories request D3740, D3666, C1077, and E329, and they need it right away. The problem is that those standards require technician certifications, and the courses are not offered as quickly as the laboratory needs them to be. It is up to the laboratory to obtain the required certifications before applying for accreditation. AASHTO re:source will not grant your laboratory the accreditation unless you meet the requirements of the specification or test method.
Does my Laboratory Manager have to be a Professional Engineer?
It depends on your accreditation requirements. AASHTO R 18 and the Procedures Manual for the Accreditation of Construction Materials Testing Laboratories do not require that your Laboratory Manager be a P.E., but the person does have to have their education and experience approved by our oversight committee, the AASHTO re:source Administrative Task Group (ATG). If your laboratory needs to be accredited for ASTM C1077 and E329, you do need to have a Laboratory Manager that is a full-time employee of your laboratory (not a contractor or consultant) and holds a valid Professional Engineer’s license.
Can the AAP notify me if my lab is in danger of a suspension?
It depends. If there is just a need for clarification, we will call or email you for more information. However, we do not notify the laboratories just before a suspension is going to occur when it occurs due to a lack of conformance such as not resolving nonconformities by the deadline or receiving multiple low ratings on samples. The laboratories have a responsibility to maintain their accreditation independently. We have the responsibility for monitoring conformance and recognizing those who conform to the requirements of the program.
How do I resolve a suspension?
If the suspension is due to unresolved items from an AASHTO re:source or CCRL report, the laboratory must provide corrective action and substantiating evidence (in the timeframe specified) for each item listed in the suspension notice.

If the suspension is for low ratings received in proficiency sample testing, the laboratory may elect to wait until the next round or order an extra proficiency sample. If the laboratory ordered an extra proficiency sample to resolve a suspension, the laboratory is required to receive satisfactory ratings on the next regularly scheduled round of proficiency samples in order to prevent another suspension from occurring.

If the suspension is due to unpaid invoices, the laboratory must make full payment on the invoice and wait for up to 2 weeks for the payment to clear with the bank.

There are other possible reasons for suspensions, and the suspension notice will explain the process. Keep in mind that resolving any suspension takes time, and reinstatement of accreditation is not immediate even if the issue has been resolved.

See the Procedures Manual for the Accreditation of Construction Materials Testing Laboratories for a complete description. All suspension information can be found when logging into the AASHTO re:source website and viewing your Accreditation Events. You must submit your corrective actions on that page for the corrective actions to be accepted.
How many times can I try to resolve the same nonconformity?
We do not have an absolute maximum number, but a laboratory should expect that if they are not resolving the issue after the second rejection, they should expect a suspension to be forthcoming unless they can quickly resolve the issue after that second rejection. There are some laboratories who do not try to resolve the nonconformities, but rather, they attempt to figure out new ways to circumvent them with creative explanations. While we do appreciate innovation, we are really focused on recognizing conformance to documented standards. Even if there is time left before the deadline, a laboratory’s attempt to circumvent requirements will simply be denied and the accreditation will ultimately be suspended if the requirements have not been satisfied. We will not engage in continuous discussions about the merit of the standards – we will simply leave the nonconformities marked as unresolved.
What is the difference between an observation and a nonconformity?
Some people call them gigs, docks, dings, notes, or deficiencies. CCRL calls them footnotes. AASHTO re:source calls them findings and classifies findings into 2 categories: observations and nonconformities, which are defined below:

Nonconformity: A finding that indicates policy or practice contrary to the requirements of applicable AASHTO or ASTM standards or documented quality system procedures.

Observation: (1) A technically-related nonconformity that judgment and experience indicate is not likely to affect the ability of the laboratory to produce valid and accurate test results; (2) A minor failure in some part of the documented quality system, such as a single observed lapse in following one item of the company’s quality system; (3) Specific technical information provided for informational purposes only.
Which findings/footnotes on my AASHTO re:source On-Site Assessment or CCRL Laboratory Inspection report are required to be resolved?
All findings (nonconformities and observations) on AASHTO re:source reports need to be resolved unless they are designated as “informational” within the text of the note. Once you resolve each finding, you are required to submit an explanation of the corrective action taken to resolve only the nonconformities (or footnotes for CCRL reports) using the online submittal tools on your Accreditation Events page.

This submittal must include any substantiating evidence to support your explanation. If the nonconformity is a repeat issue, you must perform a root cause analysis and complete an On-Site Assessment Correction Action Form if your company does not have its own version of this document that includes all of the information that our form does.

Although your findings that have been designated as observations require corrective action to be taken, you are not required to submit an explanation of this corrective action to us in order to maintain your accreditation.
How do I submit corrective actions to my AASHTO re:source or CCRL Report?
Log onto the AASHTO re:source website and view “My Accreditation Events.” Once you are there, you can submit corrective actions to each individual nonconformity noted in the AASHTO re:source or CCRL report. You must submit supporting evidence along with your written responses.

If a repeat finding is noted, you must also complete the form called the Assessment Corrective Action Report and submit with your other corrective actions.

Please note that we ONLY accept submittals using the website submittal functions. Paper, faxed, and emailed submittals will not be accepted.
I received low ratings on a proficiency sample. What do I do?
Any result below a 3 is considered a rating worth investigating. You do not need to submit that corrective action to AASHTO re:source, but it can be useful to get our opinions on the corrective actions in some cases. The corrective action report for low ratings can be found in our document library. Improved ratings on the next round are a good indication that your corrective actions were effective.

If the ratings were a 0 or 1, you must receive satisfactory ratings on the next round of proficiency testing to avoid a suspension. This suspension occurs whether or not a corrective action was completed because repeat low ratings indicate that either no corrective actions or ineffective corrective actions have been taken.

You may also request an extra proficiency sample (XPS) to resolve the suspension before the next regularly scheduled sample round. We charge the same fees for an XPS used for accreditation reinstatements, but please note that we only ship one sample of soil and aggregate instead of the typical two samples that you are used to receiving. We also limit the attempts to become reinstated to two attempts. If you failed to receive satisfactory ratings on an XPS that was used for accreditation purposes, you will have to wait until the next regularly scheduled round of testing to attempt to have your accreditation reinstated. Also, if your accreditation is reinstated based on satisfactory ratings received on an XPS, you must receive satisfactory ratings on the next regularly scheduled round to maintain the accreditation.

More information on this topic can be found in the newsletter article, I Received A Low PSP Score, What Next?
Why was my laboratory accreditation suspended even though I submitted corrective actions to low ratings on proficiency sample testing?
The AASHTO Accreditation Program suspends accreditation any time a laboratory either does not participate or receives ratings of 0 or 1 on both proficiency samples in the set for two rounds in a row. Participation is only required for samples that include test methods covered under the scope of the laboratory accreditation.

This suspension occurs whether or not a corrective action has been submitted by the laboratory. This is because after receiving the first set of 0s or 1s, an accredited laboratory should be able to take effective corrective action to resolve the issue(s) that led to the low rating.
I disagree with the accreditation decision that was made. Can I appeal?
Yes you can appeal a revocation or denial. The appeal must be very clear and include appropriate documentation to support your case. All appeals are presented to the oversight committee for AASHTO re:source (the ATG) along with an explanation from the AAP. A suspension cannot be appealed.
What do I do if I want to be accredited for a test that I don’t see offered?
Please let us know. We are always expanding our services, but we need your input to ensure that our programs are meeting the needs of the construction materials testing industry.
Can I back-date my accreditation to when I received my assessment?
No. Your laboratory is not accredited until all nonconformities are resolved and your laboratory has been found to comply with the requirements of the AASHTO Accreditation Program.
Are my mobile laboratories considered to be accredited because my main facility is accredited?
No. A mobile facility is required to undergo the same process as a regular facility. If your site facility requires accreditation according to the project guidelines, please check with the owner of the project for clarification though. Although AASHTO re:source does not consider your mobile facility to be accredited based on your main facility’s accreditation, it may be sufficient for some projects or specifiers.
My deadline is tomorrow. Can I just submit some responses and get an extension?
No. A laboratory has 3 months to resolve the nonconformities noted in the report. That is more than enough time to submit responses that show that each nonconformity has been effectively resolved.
I want to be accredited for a test where only a mercury thermometer is specified, and I am not allowed to use mercury in my state. Can I still be accredited for that test method?
Yes. We know that ASTM and AASHTO are working on providing the language to specify non-mercury alternatives in all of their standards, but the process has not caught up with the process of outlawing mercury in certain states. In the meantime, the AASHTO Accreditation Program is not going to restrict these laboratories that operate under a mercury ban from obtaining and maintaining their accreditations even when a non-mercury alternative has not yet been specified in the test method.
Does AASHTO accreditation expire?
No, it does not as long as the laboratory actively and effectively participates. AASHTO Accreditation is a continuous process of laboratory quality improvement. Accreditation remains active as long as a laboratory is effectively participating in the programs and continues to comply with the Procedures Manual for the Accreditation of Construction Materials Testing Laboratories. If a laboratory ceases to comply with the requirements, accreditation will be suspended and will ultimately be revoked unless the laboratory can demonstrate compliance by the deadline specified in their suspension notice.
Why am I getting a bill for the AASHTO Accreditation Program?
When you apply for the AASHTO Accreditation Program, you pay an application fee. The following April, you will receive a bill for AAP which covers the accreditation for the time between your initial application and April. Each year thereafter, you will pay for the previous year’s accreditation. A detailed explanation of the billing process can be found on the AAP Fees page. If you do not pay your bill, your accreditation will be revoked for the entire scope of the accreditation.

AASHTO re:source used to send out bills for all services at once, but now it is split out and itemized. The AAP fees cover the administrative costs of managing the accreditation program.
Why am I being billed for last year’s accreditation?
When AASHTO re:source split apart its annual invoices and began itemizing all program costs, it was deemed appropriate to bill for the accreditation that was held throughout the year. Sometimes the laboratory does not gain the scope of accreditation for which it seeks – so invoicing for accreditation services ahead of time would not be accurate. To avoid complications, AAP bills represent the accreditation held throughout the previous year as stated at the time of invoicing.

The AAP Invoice shows the billing cycle. This information was added to the printed invoice, but there was no change in the way our billing is processed.
How is the pro-rated discount calculated?
We pro-rate the AAP fees for new fields of accreditation. If a laboratory added a field or is totally new to AAP, their invoice will be pro-rated for the billing cycle indicated. This does not affect individual methods within an already established accredited field of testing. Here is how it works:
  • Take the subtotal for the new field and divide by 12.
  • Multiply by the number of months that the lab was not accredited to determine their discount.
I don’t see the answer to my question. Can I ask a new question?
Yes, you can. Send us your question, and we might add it to the FAQ page. You may also want to check the FAQ pages for the other programs as well as review previous newsletter articles.
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