What is the difference between Construction Materials Testing (CMT) and Construction Materials Engineering (CME)?

Construction Materials Engineering (CME) and Construction Materials Testing (CMT) are closely related but are not the same thing. The differences are detailed below.

Construction Materials Testing (CMT)

CMT includes collecting samples, performing test procedures, and the physical examination of materials used in construction. It is primarily the quality control testing of the materials used in construction projects.

CMT involves various laboratory and field tests performed primarily on construction materials  like concrete, masonry, soil, aggregates, asphalt, steel, and other building materials. These tests measure properties such as density, moisture content, compaction, and strength. 

The primary goal of construction materials testing is to verify the quality, performance, and safety of materials used during the construction process – including the initial testing of raw materials, testing during construction, and even post-construction evaluations at the end of the project.

Some of the most common types of construction materials testing include:


  • Proctor moisture/density compaction curves 
  • Field compaction test
  • Field moisture content determination
  • Atterberg limits tests (liquid limit, plastic limit, plasticity index)
  • Grain size analysis (sieve analysis)


  • Compressive strength testing
  • Flexural strength testing
  • Concrete mix design and proportioning
  • Reinforcing steel size and location
  • Slump test for workability
  • Entrained air content testing
  • Temperature testing

 Masonry (grout, mortar, brick, block)

  • Compressive strength
  • Water absorption


  • Gradation analysis (sieve analysis)
  • Specific gravity
  • Water absorption


  • Field compaction and voids analysis (nuclear and core methods)
  • Lab theoretical maximum specific gravity
  • Asphalt content determination
  • Gradation of asphalt aggregates
  • Specific gravity and absorption

Construction Materials Engineering (CME):

CME is the analysis of the properties, behavior, and performance of construction materials under different conditions to determine their suitability for construction projects. CME involves the application of scientific and engineering principles to select, design, and specify appropriate materials for construction projects based on project performance requirements. This includes the development of specifications, providing recommendations for material selection, and evaluating alternative materials and construction techniques. 

The Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors considers the assessment of construction materials for quality, appropriateness and acceptability to be CME, and requires those activities to be performed by a licensed professional engineer.

Examples of CME

  • Determining of the scope of construction materials testing
  • Determining the procedures for construction materials testing
  • Supervising the performance of construction materials testing
  • Analyzing the test data collected during construction materials testing
  • Interpreting construction materials testing test data
  • Accepting or rejecting a material based on construction materials testing data
  • Making engineering recommendations

JACOB | MARTIN is available to provide all of the Construction Materials Testing and Construction Materials Engineering services discussed above and more, and welcome the opportunity to work with you on your future construction projects.

For more information, contact Barry Fowlkes, P.E., Director of Construction Materials Engineering and Testing, or Blake Steen, Materials Operations Manager at (325) 692-3958.

Contact Information

Ph: 325-695-1070

Address: 3465 Curry Lane, Abilene, TX 79606, USA

Opening Hours:

Mon - Thurs: 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Fri: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM