Safety, quality, and efficiency of construction projects cannot be left to chance with imprecise instruments or calculations says John Bogart 

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. 

Unfortunately, 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. 

Kett HM530 Wood Moisture Meter – Instant, non-destructive

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. 

Improper moisture management in construction can endanger not only safety but also the project. 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, 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 it is vital to take corrective steps to improve overall safety and performance. 

To understand the issue of industrial instrument problems in greater depth, a provider of testing instruments reviewed many independent studies across industries and sectors. The results indicated that contractors encounter several types of instrument challenges. 

 Risk reduction 

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 are already frustrated. Some moisture meter providers fully understand that selecting the wrong instrument is upsetting, time-consuming, and incredibly costly. 

Based on their research findings, Ketts, a provider of moisture meters and analyzers developed a comprehensive framework, and called it the ‘total care solution package’, to dramatically reduce the risks and errors related to inaccurate measurement and composition analysis. The framework is a comprehensive process to identify the proper instruments, provide calibration assistance, and ongoing support for the life of the instrument.

Portable, universal moisture meter. Programmable. Instant measurement, non-destructive.

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 changes with the concentration of the analyte. 

The provider also offers performance guarantees, warranties, and a 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, Ketts designs instruments that can endure the rigors of the field, and still serves equipment purchased over 40 years ago.  

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

Kett provides instant moisture meters, organic composition analyzers, and instruments for testing coating thickness, friction, wear, peel, adhesion, and other physical properties. For more information about Kett’s total care solution package, visit: