Aggregates and Soils Testing

AGGREGATES AND SOILS TESTINGFrom our main Laboratory in Poole, Dorset, ACS Group of Companies provide quality testing and material consultancy for the construction and civil engineering industry. Since our initial UKAS Accreditation in 1990, our scope of testing has steadily increased as we are now able to offer a comprehensive range of tests, carried out to both British (BS) and European (EN) Standards and to our approved In-House Test Methods.

We provide a comprehensive range of Aggregates and Soils Testing meeting British and European Standards together with Standard Highways MCHW requirements. Mechanical, physical and chemical testing is conducted on a wide range of natural and recycled aggregates to ensure they are fit for purpose.

As well as testing, our Operations Manager and Senior Technicians are on hand to advise clients on their testing requirements as well as interpreting their results.

Aggregate Testing

TestMethodWhat is shows
Water ContentBS 1097-5Percentage of water based on dry mass of sample.
Particle Size DistributionBS EN 933-1Grading Aggregates to determine suitability using grading limits defined in BS Standards and MCHW.
Constituents of Coarse Recycled AggregatesBS EN 933-11Recycled materials, physical examination to determine the constituent parts and foreign materials within a sample. (Note; this test is not suitable for sands)
Los Angeles (Fragmentation)BS EN 1097-2A common test to indicate the resistance to fragmentation indicating toughness, replaces BS 812 Ten Percent Fines test.
Micro DevalBS EN 1097-1Abrasion resistance and durability of aggregates
Magnesium SulphateBS EN 1367-2Soundness of aggregates, resistance to disintegration from soaking and crystallising of salts granules.
Frost HeaveBS 812 & SHWMeasurement of swell when a sample is subjected to available water in freezing conditions, requirement under MCHW for materials with 450mm of final construction
Particle Density & Water Absorption BS EN 1097-6Particle density, sometimes referred to as specific gravity and absorption to show porosity of the aggregate when used in conjunction with Loose Bulk Density and Voids test.
Sand Equivalent BS EN 933-8Determines the cleanliness of a fine aggregate. Reports to % sand presence in sample.
Methylene BlueBS EN 933-9Determines how absorptive the fine fraction (<2mm fraction) of a material is. i.e. harmful fines content.
Particle Shape – Flakiness/Shape IndexBS EN 933-3/4Slotted sieves designed to determine flaked / elongated shapes with in the aggregate
Loose Bulk Density & VoidsBS EN 1097-3With single size material this will provide mass against volume and using PD/WA voidage can be calculated. 
Max Dry Density/Optimum Moisture Content (Vibrating Hammer)BS EN 13286-45 point test to determine the optimum water content to achieve the best density

Soils Testing

TestMethodWhat is shows
Natural Moisture ContentBS 1377-2Percentage of water in a soil based on dry mass
Saturated Moisture Content or IDDBS 1377-2Carried out on chalk lumps to determine suitability 
Plasticity Index (Atterberg Limits)BS 1377-24 parts, Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, plasticity index and liquidity index.  Clay testing to determine suitability and shrink ability potential
Equilibrium CBR Combination of tests, Moisture Content, Grading, sedimentation and Atterberg limits used by designers to calculate potential CBR value.
Particle Size Distribution (PSD)BS 1377-2Grading of soils for compliance to specification including SHW, also provides data to determine uniformity coefficient
SedimentationBS 1377-2Additional to PSD to provide a grading of material passing 63micron to 2 microns
Moisture Condition Value (MCV)  BS 1377-4Compaction test to determine the compactive effort required to compact a material in to a cylinder at ‘as received’ moisture content.
CBR TestingBS 1377-4Laboratory CBR can be carried out on material at natural or specified moisture content, in additional soaked lab CBR involves immersing the sample in water and measuring swell
Shear Strength TestingBS 1377-7Applying pressure to a disturbed or un-disturbed sample to measure force required to shear a clay sample.
MDD/OMC (2.5kg, 4.5kg and vibrating hammer)BS 1377-45-point test to determine the optimum water content to achieve the best density, different compaction methods depending on the material type and size.
Permeability BS 1377-6To determine flow of water through a specimen of clay/silt for purposes of landfill design/compliance testing.
Topsoil SuiteBS 3882Combination of physical and chemical testing to determine the suitability of topsoil and reported with BS 3882 limits.

Please note; this is not a complete list of the testing we provide, for a full list of tests please contact us.


Please see below for a list of the services provided by ACS;

  • On-Site Testing Services

    ACS Testing offer a comprehensive range of professional On-Site Testing, all carried out by our fully trained Site Technicians

  • Aggregates & Soils Testing

    From our main Laboratory in Poole, Dorset, ACS Group of Companies provide quality testing and material consultancy for the construction and civil engineering industry.

  • Bituminous Testing

    Bituminous road surfacing materials are produced by mixing mineral aggregate with a bitumen binder in predetermined quantities and within defined temperature ranges.

  • Concrete Testing

    Concrete was the first service to be offered by ACS Testing back in 1987, since then we have increased our scope to cover a wide range of UKAS Accredited testing on fresh and hardened concrete, both on site and in our laboratories.

  • Mortar & Screed Testing

    Mortar has played a major role in construction since ancient times with the oldest example having been found in Israel and thought to date back 10,000 years.

  • Contamination & WAC Testing

    At ACS Environmental Testing we offer an efficient and reliable analysis service using various test leaching procedures specified by the Environment Agency.

  • Chemical Testing

    ACS Environmental Ltd was established in 2007 to complement the physical materials testing service provided by ACS Testing Ltd to offer a range of analytical services to clients in order to meet their overall needs.

  • Leachate & Water Analysis

    Our purpose built analytical laboratory enables ACS Environmental Testing Ltd to provide, in conjunction with our other group companies, a comprehensive sampling, monitoring and analysis service on a wide range of leachate and water samples.

  • Natural Stone Testing

    Our newly refurbished Stone Testing Laboratory has given us the opportunity to expand our testing scope as well as increase production and better improve on our turnaround of samples.

  • Site Laboratory Service

    Over the last twenty-five years, ACS Testing Ltd have supplied custom fitted Site Laboratories with Technicians to many construction sites and projects worldwide.

ACS Group of Companies offer a professional weekly collection service covering the South of England and Wales. See below for our coverage range;

ACS Testing Coverage Map

Contact One of the Team

If you require a collection that is outside of our usual range, please feel free to call us on 01202 622858 or contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your requirements.