Supervision & Testing

Monitoring the execution of any given job is always an exciting field of practice, especially when it comes to major public infrastructures. The civil engineer, working in the field of supervision, feels pride in being one of the guardians for the proper use of public funds. Within the family of trade supervision, the material engineer is the architect of design, specifications and proper implementation of on-site material.

Our material engineers are available to the contracting authorities to impart their understanding of material behavior and offer advice on the use of the most appropriate material to achieve the desired levels of performance required for structures.

Monitoring the execution of all activities related to the work ensures that the quality of the final product will be consistent with the objectives of the project as well as the plans and specifications according to the standards set by the industry.

Professional Practice Guide (OIQ)
Bituminous mixes

Bituminous mixes

Commonly called asphalt, bituminous mixes are a uniform mixture of coarse and fine aggregates coated with bitumen (binder).

Quality control of asphalt begins during the manufacture of the asphalt by the validation of compliance of materials (aggregates, binders and recycled materials), manufacturing methods in the factory and the finished product (temperature, homogeneity). The engineer continues his work by monitoring the implementation of the mix on-site (homogeneity of asphalt temperature during laying, density, thickness, adhesion). The finished coating is also subject to a series of controls (uniformity and surface roughness, compaction).

Aware of their ecological footprint, the producers are trying to think of new ways to reduce emissions through the introduction of recycled materials, vegetal bituminous binder or by producing warm mix.

In addition to ensuring the durability over time, the quality of manufacturing as well as the laying of asphalt are important elements of road safety. Driving comfort is also part of all criteria which are subject to quality control.

By visual surveys, site testing and laboratory analysis of the samples taken.

By engineers with experience and training who provide quality control of bituminous mixes and technicians performing tests and obtaining samples on-site with all certifications required for these mixes.
The asphalt manufacturing plants and public administrations (MTQ, Municipalities and Cities) make up the key clients of the engineer specialized in quality control of asphalt.
Hakim Benrabah, ing.
Hakim Benrabah, ing.
Bituminous mixes & Pavement

The asphalt producers have decided to invest, over the last years, in a better understanding of their ecological footprint. And some of the results they have presented go against the grain of accepted ideas. While inviting you to retain your critical sense, viewing the summary page of “Bitume Québec” can be quite instructive.

Hakim Benrabah

Over 10 million tonnes of asphalt are produced annually in Quebec, most of which is used for road network.



Cement concrete, commonly known as concrete, is a mixture of cement, aggregates, water and additives. Of all the problems affecting concrete and of which a material engineer can help control, carbonation is the most common. This is a chemical reaction between carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere and the concrete cement. This reaction attacks steel inside the concrete. Steel corrodes, swells which in turn bursts concrete producing the visual result which is observed on several bridges.

Cement concrete is the building material most used in the world. It is also the second mineral material used, just behind… water! This huge consumption has led the industry to become increasingly interested in the recyclability of concrete.

Concrete is the most used material in construction. Therefore, ensuring its quality is one of the major contributions to society by the material engineer.

The engineer first studies the environment where the construction will occur and then formulates recommendations concerning the best proportions and characteristics of the concrete constituents. One of the objectives pursued by the engineer is to find the best combination to ensure the longevity of the concrete. Once he has developed the constituents and the proportions to be used, the material engineer is then best able to determine and validate that predetermined requirements have been met by the manufacturers.

Tests are conducted during the manufacturing of concrete as well as prior to and during its’ use on-site (temperature, slump, air content). Other tests are done at a later date in a laboratory on samples taken during previous phases (compressive strength at 7 and 28 days). These tests are conducted according to very specific North American standards (ASTM standards).

As a general rule when it comes to monitoring purposes, the concrete in place can also be cored and subjected to laboratory tests to determine its state (microscopic determination of air void network, chipping resistance to de-icing salts).

The field of concrete is one of the major fields of expertise for material engineers. An apprenticeship of several years with an experienced engineer and a fair amount of personal involvement is needed to develop the expertise of a new engineer.

On construction sites and in laboratories, our technicians, accompanying engineers in the many activities of concrete sampling and testing, have specific training and a known North American certification.

The wide variety of clients requiring an engineer specialized in concrete is as large as the many different areas for its use.

Individuals, developers, public institutions, but also plants producing concrete are just some entities who seek the expertise developed by our engineers in concrete.

In response to the growing awareness for energy conservation and preservation of natural resources; it is exciting to see the emergence of new and greener ways of producing concrete. We follow closely these developments which allow us to always recommend the newest and the most adapted concrete for the project.

On a global scale, the consumption of concrete is estimated at more than one cubic meter per capita/year.

Soil & Aggregate

Soil & Aggregate

The term aggregate refers to rock fragments, smaller than 6 inches, which are part of the composition of materials for the manufacturing of public work structures, civil engineering work and other building work. Aggregates are used for :

  • The construction and maintenance of roads (about 55%);
  • The manufacture of concrete (about 25%);
  • As various fillers (about 15%);
  • As an abrasive against ice, mortar sand, ballast for railway tracks, jet sand, rubble for rock fill, filter in sewage treatment plants, etc. (about 5%).
The strength and durability of constructions are often very closely linked to the characteristics of a given aggregate used.

For example, some cement components may react with certain types of aggregates used in the concrete and may cause swelling and premature bursting of a concrete work. In all of these cases, the role of the material engineer is to ensure that the aggregates used in the concrete mixtures are suitable for its’ intended use and the type of exposure the structure is subjected to. Generally, material engineers contribute to the durability of structures hence ensuring the proper use of granular soils and materials used for construction.

Whether sampling at source or on-site, aggregates are subjected to laboratory tests and the results must comply with various standards in the industry. Certificates of compliance are prepared and submitted to suppliers for purposes of recommendation of its use in the work for which it is intended.

Established standards set the parameters for laboratory and on-site tests in order to demonstrate compliance of soils and granular materials for an intended use.

The engineer works closely with qualified technicians who perform tests then use the results to establish a technical opinion. Throughout the testing process, monitoring is performed by the engineer. The tests are performed in Groupe ABS laboratories. These laboratories are certified according to the ISO standard and are registered with the “Association des consultants et laboratoires experts (ACLE)”. They are comprised of state of the art equipment calibrated according to precise standards.

The area of quality control of aggregates and soil materials is the largest in the field of a material engineer. Individuals, private developers, quarry operators, public institutions… Any form of construction requiring concrete or concrete ground foundations may require the expertise of a material and soil engineer.

Dominic Ste-Marie
Dominic Ste-Marie
Quarry and Asphalt plant

Quality control is a branch of activity where rigor is one of the most important criteria. Continuously maintaining rigor here proves to be a challenge for all companies in this sector of activity. Only a great passion for this business and its benefits to society will allow us to meet this challenge daily.

Dominic Ste-Marie

Nearly 100 million tonnes of aggregates are produced each year in Quebec which is more than 10 tons per capita.



Metals, mainly different types of steel, are now a major component in heavy construction works (sports halls, swimming pools, warehouses, factories, high-rise buildings, bridges) where they serve as support structures. Generally, metal structures are made up of prefabricated parts or elements, which are joined together directly at the factory or on-site.

The quality control of these assemblies is one of the major fields of application for our engineers and technicians (verification of welding procedures, tightening torques, mounting tolerance). The protection of these metal structures from the effects of time and weather conditions (corrosion) is another field of practice for our many different teams (control of covering thicknesses).

Once they are properly assembled and are adequately protected against atmospheric damage, metals are materials that offer great flexibility when building.

The quality of a well-applied protective coating extends the life of metal parts and helps avoid higher costs for replacing these parts.

The inspection of the integrity of welded joints is done using visual surveys, but also magnetic testing, penetrant testing and ultrasonic non-destructive testing.

Metal quality control is one of the most instrumented branches of material control. Advanced equipment, constantly changing, is required. The rapid evolution of technology and the level of sophistication of the equipment demands continuing education at a steady pace for engineers and technicians working in this field.

Groupe ABS has specific rare types of equipment currently available which makes our company one of the most high-tech and competitive company on the market.

All inspectors and technicians from the team of metal element control at Groupe ABS have a set of certifications from either the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB W178.2) and/or the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE International Institute). These sets of certification are required to practice in these fields of activities.

Our customer portfolio for monitoring/control of metals is growing every day :

  • Road infrastructure (MTQ, Cities)
  • Buildings (Bombardier, Municipalities, promoters)
  • Ski resorts (lifts)
  • Steel structures manufacturing plants
Benoit Gauvin, ing., M.Ing.
Benoit Gauvin, ing., M.Ing.
Visual inspection

Quality control of metallic elements is a highly specialized expertise. We have not only developed an investment plan for specialized equipment, but we have also invested in continuing education of our staff in order to maintain competitive bidding in our field within an industry that is constantly evolving.

US studies estimate the direct annual cost of corrosion, just in the area of road bridges, to be over $ 8 billion (US) in the United States.