Construction materials consultants, inc.

Serving the Industry through Testing, Investigation, Evaluation, & Research

forensic investigation of construction materials & diagnosing construction failures account for more than 60 percent of our business

petrographic examinations, air-void analysis, aar tests, chemical analysis, xrd, sem-eds

Most of the forensic investigation projects initiate with a detailed phone conversation with the client, gathering all information related to the project irrespective of their importance, clear understanding of the ongoing issues, extent of distress, any other tests done, review of the project specifications, environmental conditions during service, manufacturers' data-sheets of all materials and ingredients, examinations of field photos of conditions of the structure and at the locations of the samples, and many other information. No diagnosis will be comprehensive without gathering detailed information of the project prior to scheduling the most appropriate tests and strategies to take.

Various tests for failure investigation of construction materials include:

forensic (failure) investigations


  • Poor Quality Control, and/or Batch-to-Batch Quality Assurance - Failure to Conform to the Project Specification
  • Surface Distress (Scaling, Spalling, Discoloration, Popouts, Mortar Lift-offs, Salt-scaling, Delamination, Dusting, Crazing, Cracking, Blistering)
  • Curling and Cracking
  • Corrosion of Reinforcing Steel in Concrete and related Distress
  • Alkali-Aggregate Reactions
  • Internal and External Sulfate attacks
  • Delayed Ettringite Formation (DEF)
  • Seawater Attacks
  • Efflorescence, Staining, Discoloration
  • Loss of Strength
  • Delayed Hydration of Free Lime & Magnesia in Hardened Concrete
  • Physical Salt Attacks
  • Acid and Alkali attacks
  • Surface Abrasion
  • Saturated Freezing of Plastic or Hardened Concrete and Distress
  • Abnormal Setting (Delayed or Accelerated Setting)
  • Fire Attacks and Related Discoloration, Spalling, Cracking, Softening, Strength Loss, etc.; Determining depth/extent of fire attacks;
  • Cement & Concrete Burn


  • Water Leakage
  • Cracking
  • Freeze-Thaw Durability
  • Masonry Efflorescence, Salt Attacks
  • Weakened Masonry-Mortar Bonds 
  • Masonry and Mortar Compatibilities in Compositions & IRAs - for good bond
  • Masonry Discoloration, Pop-out, Staining
  • Quality Assurance
  • Mortar Evaluation - Type, Composition, Condition, Comparison

Tiles & Flooring

  • De-bonding of Floor or Wall Tiles from Substrate Mortar
  • Tile Cracking, Discoloration, Blistering, Bumps
  • Bumps, Blisters, Discoloration, Delamination of other Floor Surfaces
  • Moisture-related Problems and Floor Covering Failures on Concrete Slab-on-Grades

Protective Coating, Plaster

  • Paint failure from plaster, drywall
  • Cracking, Corrosion, De-bonding, and Other Failures in stucco
  • Paint failure from concrete floor and other surfaces
  • Other coating/topping failures from substrate

Field Reconnaissance

  • Condition Survey and Selection of Sample Locations
  • Delamination Survey
  • Half-cell Potential Survey
  • Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate
  • Relative Humidity Profile