Instruments & Calculations: Key for Construction Safety

Instruments & Calculations: Key for Construction Safety

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Partnering with an expert in moisture measurement and composition analysis can be essential to ensure the safety and performance of construction projects.

For contractors exposed to outdoor weather and even storms, the safety, quality, and efficiency of their construction projects cannot be left to chance with imprecise instruments or calculations. Whether measuring the moisture content of concrete, framing, drywall, insulation, or the composition of other building materials, it is critical to use precise, high quality analytical instruments designed to meet the application’s specific requirements with accurate, repeatable results.

tunately, instruments are often incorrectly selected for the job, improperly calibrated, or fail prematurely, which can result in construction project delays, downtime, and even pose a safety risk. Even the slightest miscalculation can lead to errors and costly mistakes.

“At the construction site, rain, snow, humidity, plumbing leaks, and storm damage can expose building materials to moisture. Without moisture measurement, contractors can make serious, even dangerous mistakes with the drying and curing times of concrete, adhesives, mastics, and other materials,” says John Bogart, Managing Director of Kett US, a manufacturer of a full range of moisture and organic composition analyzers.

Bogart outlines some of the perils of improper moisture management in construction. A structure built on improperly cured concrete is unsafe. Insufficiently cured adhesives or mastics can lack strength, allowing materials to come loose over time. Excessive moisture can also lead to mold growth, metal corrosion, structural deterioration, and chemical breakdowns in finishes and adhesives.

Given the importance of accurate measurement and analysis, Bogart says it is becoming an industry best practice to partner with an expert that can provide not only guidance in instrument selection and calibration but also ongoing training and consultation.

“Analyzer manufacturers with expertise can tailor the instrument to the specific needs of the application. The first step is research to determine the most common types of instrument usage errors in the industry, so we can take corrective steps to improve overall safety and performance,” says Bogart.

To understand the issue of industrial instrument problems in greater depth, Bogart and his team at Kett reviewed many independent studies across industries and sectors. The results indicated that contractors encounter several types of instrument challenges.

In some cases, contractors could not find the appropriate moisture measurement or composition analysis instruments for their specific type of production. Instead, they relied on analyzers that did not provide the required accuracy, consistency, or repeatable results.

Alternatively, some instruments failed due to abrasive wear and tear or exposure to harsh conditions. Extended exposure to moisture, salts, or chemical solvents, for example, can accelerate corrosion, breakdown, and the need for replacement.

Construction contractors also reported they often did not have enough support from suppliers to evaluate, install, and calibrate the instruments or train their personnel on proper operation. Errors occurred when employees improperly handled and used the instruments, particularly when they had unanswered questions.

“In these kinds of situations, many construction managers come to us already frustrated. We understand, because selecting the wrong instrument is upsetting, time-consuming, and incredibly costly,” says Bogart.

Based on their research findings, Kett developed a comprehensive framework, called their “Total Care Solution Package,” to dramatically reduce the risks and errors related to inaccurate measurement and composition analysis. In over 40 years of engineering and operation, Kett has developed a comprehensive process to identify the proper instruments, provide calibration assistance, and ongoing support for the life of the instrument.

“We understand that construction managers rely on the accuracy of our instruments,” says Bogart. “That is why we invest time up front to learn about the construction industry and specific applications before creating a tailored solution.”

Support comes in the form of assistance with calibration curve development to ensure accurate readings, along with on-site operator training. A calibration curve is one approach to the problem of instrument calibration. The calibration curve is a plot of how the instrumental response (i.e.-the analytical signal) changes with the concentration of the analyte (i.e.-the substance to be measured).

Kett also offers performance guarantees, warranties, and guaranteed 24-hour turnaround to perform repairs or provide loaner instruments so customers can return to full operation as quickly as possible.

Because construction sites can be harsh, the OEM designs instruments that can endure the rigors of the field.

“We are still servicing equipment purchased 40+ years ago. Our work is not transactional. Instead, we aim to build a long-term working relationship with you, including instrument selection, calibration, and ongoing support, for years or even decades to come,” concludes Bogart.

As the need to increase output while maintaining safety and quality continues, construction managers that partner with an OEM that can provide the instruments and expertise required will have a competitive advantage in the market.

For more info, contact Kett: call 800-438-5388; email; or visit

Author:  Del Williams

Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California

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