Testing the quality and suitability of asphalt products (asphalt mixtures and installed asphalt courses) is one of the Central Laboratory’s main focuses – including the performance of special tests not feasible in any local lab unit of the Colas Group. (E.g. asphalt-mechanical tests, bitumen rheology, conventional and special testing of modified bitumen, comprehensive petrophysical tests, in-situ pavement condition assessment: surface evenness, roughness and special condition assessments)
The Central Lab is in possession of so-called routine competences required for asphalt road construction activities (soils and soil mechanics, mineral base materials and bituminous binders, asphalt mixtures and installed asphalt courses), and the performance of which are requirements for all independent (accredited) road construction laboratories pursuant to Hungarian specifications and regulations.
The Central Laboratory and the network of lab units constantly maintain and expand their accredited testing laboratory status certified by the National Accreditation Board in accordance with the MSZ EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard.
In addition to the Western- and Eastern Hungarian Laboratories tasked with carrying out production control at mixing sites and providing support for construction activities, the controlling of major projects is assigned to a separate technological division.
Technical assistance and consulting
In case of major projects involving motorway construction, the reinforcement or reconstruction of pavement structures, or large-scale civil engineering works, a technological content with proper details and basis is crucial as early as the tendering phase. Alternative bids enable the technologies proposed for construction to become an advantage in the tendering phase by resulting in savings with respect to costs, materials, energy, time or human resources. Moreover, they may also lead to an extended life span of the structures to be erected.
Throughout the construction period, the constant follow-up of the applied new technologies, the selection of raw materials (suitable quality, purchase prices, market research), the quality control of the product (asphalt) at the mixing site, and coming up in-situ solutions for any technical issues arising during the installation works are all vital. Consequently, technological supervision, coordination, site inspections and consultation are to be ensured for the procedures of both production and installation.
During the qualification and handover of completed structures (and the defect liability period), the standardised and effective performance of condition assessments, tests, core sampling, miscellaneous laboratory testing, as well as the issuance of suitability certificates and expert statements are to be ensured in keeping with all specifications and the relevant contract. For the introduction of non-standard new technologies, the preparation and release of permits and method statements are essential, similarly to the compilation of the sampling plans and the qualification documentation. Managing the group-level coordination and performance of the aforementioned responsibilities are all within the Technology Directorate’s scope of duties.
Pavement Structure optimisation
Based on the calculation of stress and deformation of the pavement due to passing vehicles and climatic conditions, it is feasible to determine the thickness of each pavement structure layer required to enable the pavement to withstand loads.
As part of the procedure used by Colas, we take the plastic limit state into account upon determining dimensions, while utilising the results of mechanical laboratory tests. The application of high-modulus asphalts facilitates the optimal design of the complete structure for the designed life span.
Controlling systems and quality assurancee
With respect to fields audited in accordance with the ISO systems, Colas is performing its construction activities in cooperation with the Group’s subsidiaries. Therefore, the operation of the company’s management systems is based on the systems of the companies performing operative duties. Consequently, coordinating the management procedures and ensuring the suitability of technical documents is also within the Technology Directorate’s scope. Concerning the management and coordination of group-level laboratory and technological activities, we provide compliance with the generally applicable OHSMS (occupational health and safety management system) requirements.
For the sake of constant and efficient market presence, an evenly high standard of works is required from all subsidiaries of the Group – as far as the technological domain is concerned, this implies the operation of an internal controlling system (e.g. controlling of aggregates and bitumen base materials, dedicated supervision of major projects, coordination of reference sections and innovations, pavement structure design, special asphalt-mechanical testing).
Organisation of trainings for employees of the Hungarian subsidiaries (mixing plant managers, foremen, site managers, technologists, laboratory personnel; separate training for the technological field on an annual basis within the Tech Days). Development of a detailed multi-level training- and education plan for the Group, in addition to the organisation and management (with the assistance of renowned independent experts) of trainings.
Organisation of trainings for companies belonging to the Central European Colas region (professional visits, study tours, exchange of experience, conferences, internal training courses).
Organisation of trainings for external clients: MAÚT (Hungarian Road Society) conferences, ÚTLAB (Association of Hungarian Road-, Bridge- and Civil Engineering Laboratories) training courses, etc.
Employees of the Directorate participate regularly in Hungarian and international conferences, and hold presentations both within and outside the Colas Group.
Monitoring standards, and reporting potential changes to members of the Group’s laboratory and technological organisation.
Organisation of trainings with regard to product certification, the certification of mixing plants and quarries (use of the CE marking), the accreditation and certification of laboratories.
Conferences: presenting the innovations and achievements of the Colas Group.
Presenting R+D+I (Research-Development-Innovation) through publications.
Representation of interests
On behalf of Colas, the Technology Directorate is engaged in the work of Hungarian organisations for the representation of interests (MSZT, HAPA, MAÚT, ÚTLAB, etc.), and participates in technical regulation and standardisation procedures.