concrete special inspections


The primary special inspection “Bible” is thought, by many, to be Table 1705.3, “Required Special Inspections and Tests of Concrete Construction” and it is found in IBC, Chapter 17. This table lists 13 different line items under a column which specifically describes 13 types of special inspections that must be provided on all projects. Does this mean that there are ONLY 13 types of special inspections to be provided by the concrete special inspector on construction projects? HARDLY.

Have you ever heard someone say “special inspections for concrete is one of the more SIMPLE special inspection processes to teach and learn?” I have, many times, and the only thing simple about it is that it is simply not true. Within Table 1705.3 and those 13 different line items of types of special inspections, there are more than 50 ACI and ASTM inspections and tests stipulated that range within the jurisdiction of the concrete special inspector. In order to study these tests and inspections, review the ACI and ASTM standards listed under the referenced standard column of Table 1705.3.


Most of these ACI and ASTM designations are listed in IBC, Chapter 35 which makes them enforceable as part of the CONCRETE CODE; standards like ASTM C 29, C31, C33, C39, C94, C140, C172, C173, C231, C1064, etc. Any experienced concrete special inspections project engineer or engineering technician will recognize the name of these standards without the ASTM companion “title” (which is not listed) because they implement these code mandated test methods and inspections almost every day. If that last statement did not IMPRESS those of you who do not provide concrete special inspections regularly, then consider the fact that each of those 10 ASTM designations listed (above) in this paragraph sets forth an additional 4 to 6 tests or inspections per ASTM standard for the special inspector to do. Applying simple multiplication yields over 50 code required inspections and tests by the 10 aforementioned standards?

The 10 code required ASTM standards mentioned, herein, tend to result in the lion’s share of project discrepancies including the BIG ONE listed below in the “featured” picture block.

Here it is…THE BIG ONE!

A common project discrepancy is addition of mix water to the concrete truck AFTER concrete has been discharged from the ready-mix truck.

ASTM C 94, Sec 12.7 (IBC chapter 35 and ACI 318 reference code)
One-time addition of mix water is allowable, provided that no concrete has been discharged except for slump testing (prior to offloading concrete at project site) and provided that design w/c ratio is not compromised. Water shall not be added to the concrete ready-mix truck at any other time.

But Wait, We Have a Lot More to Say!

CODE issues got you cracking up? For a complete picture of the Code and how it relates to Special Inspections, F&R would love to provide an AIA accredited Lunch & Learn presentation to the professionals at your firm. Contact Alan Tuck for more details at: