Hixtra News and Blog

Our Geotechncial, Soils & Earthworks Lab Testing

20th August 2020

Our geotechnical and aggregate testing laboratory has recently completed a number of site investigation testing projects and has classified lots of imported fill materials against the Specification for Highway Works standards.  We can conduct a large variety of routine classification tests including grading, hydrometer analysis, compaction, CBR and moisture content to name but a few as well as triaxial compression and plasticity.  We can collect your samples for you and we have the quickest turnaround in the industry!  To give us a try please get in contact.

Earthworks Compaction Control Testing

10th July 2020

How can we help with your earthworks compaction control? Well, it’s simple really, by providing some of the following, tailored to your needs and specification, all in accordance with the Spec for Highway Works Series 600 to ensure your material is compliant and compacted to specification requirements.


Classification of Earthworks Materials, such as Class 1A, 2A, 6F2 and such like using laboratory based tests

  • Grading

  • Water content

  • Maximum dry density and optimum moisture content

  • Los Angeles abrasion

  • Constituent particles

  • MCV/water content relationship


    On site testing

  • Insitu dry density and moisture content

  • Plate bearing testing

  • CBR testing

  • DCP testing

  • Lightweight Deflectometer testing

  • MCV testing


    We know that time is money and to help you we have industry leading turnaround times on all our tests – no waiting ages for results!


    Please do get in touch if you would like to know more

    Hixtra UKAS accreditation maintained

    17th April 2020

    We are delighted to announce that Hixtra's UKAS accreditation has been maintained following a remote surveillance visit this month.  Our scope of accredited testing services is available here.UKAS accreditation of testing services carries many benefits to our clients.  You can be confident that the company providing the test results, on plate bearing tests for example, results you base expensive and important decisions upon, is independently proven to be competent to carry out that testing for you.  Additionally, by using accredited testing services you can:-

    • Minimise risk
    • Keep your reputation
    • Reduce costs
    • Demonstrate credibility
    • Defend against litigation

    UKAS is the sole accreditation body recognised by the UK Government to assess, against internationally recognised standards, organisations that provide testing services. UKAS combines a depth of technical knowledge and expertise built up over many years with scientific and technical specialists operating across a range of testing activities.  Key elements of service they examine include:-

    • Technical competence of staff
    • Validity and appropriateness of test methods
    • Suitability and maintenance of test equipment
    • Testing environment
    • Sampling, handling and transportation of test items
    • Quality assurance of test data

    Remember ISO 9001 certification or Constructionline does not ensure technical competence and validity!More information about testing laboratory accreditation is available at www.ukas.com

    Testing Stabilised Materials

    12th March 2020

    At Hixtra we have been providing a number of clients testing to support their ground stabilisation works.  We have an in-depth expertise in the testing of stabilised materials to a number of standards including BS1377, BS1924 and BS EN 13286.  We have a full on site capability including sampling, density testing, plate bearing and CBR testing as well as degree of pulverisation and Lightweight Deflectometer testing.  All of this on site capability is backed up by our in house laboratory offering mix design for lime and cement stabilised materials, compaction and classification testing to support the on site works.  Please get in touch if you’d like to benefit from our quick attendance and same day reports!

    Plate Bearing Plate Size?

    8th January 2020

    A question that is often discussed with users of plate bearing tests is what plate size do I need for my testing?  As usual for soils and geotechnical testing the answer is never straightforward as it is often material dependent!

    For the selection of plate size - common sizes are 300mm, 450mm and 600mm diameter –a few things need to be considered such as:

    • Will the mass of the construction plant I provide as a reaction load for the test be sufficient to provide the stress on the plate that I need?

    • How thick is the material that I want tested?

    • What kind of depth do I want the zone of influence of the test to extend to?

    • What is the approximate maximum particle size of the material I want tested?

    • Is my testing to obtain a CBR value, or to measure settlement under a specific load, such as for testing the ground underneath crane pads or pile mats?

    Don’t worry though, as experts in this type of testing we can sort all of this out for you quickly, efficiently and prior to testing to make sure you get exactly what you need.  It’s all part of our service.

    So what happens to your CBR value when the ground is soaked?

    6th November 2019

    As is well known, CBR values are dependent to some degree on the water content of the material that's tested so what happens to your CBR values if your material gets wet by poor weather or rising groundwater? Well to find this out you could ask for a series of soaked CBR tests carried out at the laboratory.  These will measure the effect on CBR values when the sample is soaked in water for a number of days.  Ask us to know more and check out our video!

    Hixtra Site Laboratories

    11th September 2019

    Our new site laboratory is up and running providing full scale earthworks testing for a large new build industrial project in Nottinghamshire.  To ensure testing is carried out promptly site based tests such as CBR and density are supported by an on-site laboratory providing gradings, compactions and other classification and compliance tests.  Having everything on-site means there is no delay waiting for testing results and decisions on compliance can be made instantly.  We can fully mobilise in just a few days and we’d be pleased to provide this for you, just get in touch.       

    Hixtra is now a member of the Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists

    1st July 2019

    We are pleased to announce that we are now a member of the Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists.  We share a commitment to quality in the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industry. This has become widely recognised by the clients, governmental bodies and other associations that touch issues to do with the ground.


    Now, in our own small way we can help shape the industry, continually improve practice and collaborate on those issues that affect us all – from client all the way through to the people who use the land and buildings we help develop.

    Our UKAS accrediation has transitioned to ISO 17025 : 2017

    24th April 2019

    We are pleased to announce that our UKAS accreditation has been transitioned to the latest version of ISO 17025 (2017).  This provides our clients additional benefits in terms of our independence, risk management, impartiality, reporting, and tender reviews to name but a few in addition to all the other rigorous requirements that are still keystones of ISO17025.


    Why risk your high-cost decisions based on test results from an unaccredited lab? It could be costing you a lot more than you think.  Let’s look at the facts.  With ISO 17025 you have written, formal evidence that the company carrying out your testing is competent to do so, is impartial, independent, has the correct and calibrated equipment, is using the right method, reports it in the correct format, has results traceable to national standards, has systems and records providing full traceability, has procedures in place to continually improve, is a legal entity with the resources in place to deal with things when they go wrong, has people fully trained and regularly assessed, has systems to keep equipment in working order and fully calibrated and monitored, has a requirement to agree with you beforehand if anything is subcontracted, has facilities to conduct tests in the correct conditions, regularly conducts audits to monitor compliance and correct non conformities.  You get all this confidence and more without having to do anything but ask that the test be UKAS accredited.  A lab without accreditation to ISO17025 has, potentially and evidentially, well, nothing…  So you build a road using 600mm of 6F2 capping that you didn’t need because of inaccurate CBR values, or a crane company gets a report that the ground under a crane is fine when it isn’t because of a poor plate bearing test, or you dispose of material that ‘failed’ and import new material when the original was fine – now, there are some major costs and risks to safety there!  be smart and reduce your risk; always ask for UKAS accredited testing services.

    Size is Everything!

    13th March 2019

    With our 760mm diameter bearing plate, we can achieve 45T/m2 during plate loading tests, perfect for crane base testing as it more closely replicates the outrigger size.  In addtion if you need to know the ground strength perfomaance of soils at depth, this plate size will stress the ground to around 1.5m depth.  Get in touch if you'd like to know more

    Christmas Period Testing is Available

    13th December 2018

    We have some testing crew coverage from 22-12-18 to 01-01-19 after which we are back to full capacity.  If you have any testing requirements over the Christmas period then please get in contact using the website form or email as we're sure we will be able to help!  Have a great Xmas!

    Hixtra Joins Europe!

    22nd November 2018

    We travel far and wide to provide earthworks and geotechnical testing and our new project is no exception with an appointment for several months geotechnical testing including plate bearing, LWD and CBR testing in northern Germany.  Our UKAS accreditation for plate bearing testing is recognised by the German Government as equivalent to the country’s own Dakks accreditation; one benefit of being part of Europe that we hope won’t disappear!


    We have a small team there providing ground testing services for a new fast-track industrial development with time critical testing being part of the quality assurance program.  We keep our fingers crossed that the best of British testing will remain an option to international clients in the future.

    Lightweight Deflectometer (LWD) Testing

    2nd August 2018

    Our Lightweight Deflectometer (LWD) has been in action recently on a site in South London.  The apparatus is ideal for obtaining CBR values from areas where it is not possible to provide a large excavator to act as a dead weight or in tight areas where the traditional method of CBR using apparatus bolted to the back of a 4 x 4 cannot reach.  Most suited to granular materials such as sub base the LWD provides instant CBR values on site, is quick and simple to operate and can go just about anywhere.  If you would like a quote for carrying out this type of testing or for any further information then please get in touch.

    Crane Pad Outrigger Load Testing

    8th June 2018

    When a lifting operation by mobile crane is planned, there is usually a requirement to calculate the maximum pressure on any single crane outrigger pad and to assess whether the ground that the crane pad sits on can sustain this pressure.  Without testing the ground, and using this information in the overall lift plan, there is a risk that the crane pad could sink into the ground and the crane could then become unstable or topple over in use.At Hixtra, testing the bearing capacity of the soil for crane pads is our routine business, we do it every day around the UK, for a variety of mobile crane types, sizes, loads and ground conditions.  Don’t leave the ground conditions to chance on your next lift and give us a call to arrange those critical tests.

    New Testing Services

    8th April 2018

    With our loyal client base continuing to grow we are pleased to announce that our scope of testing services continues to grow with it including a new, larger central laboratory.  In addition to the expansion of site based testing services to include Lightweight Deflectometer (LWD), Density and Shear Vane Testing, our central laboratory has expanded to provide triaxial testing, soils classification testing and aggregate analysis – perfect for all geotechnical consultancies out there needing a reliable, competent testing partner and those contractors needing to classify the soils and aggregates they use on site including sub bases, Class 6F materials and much more.


    We are very proud of our growth, centred on our helpful, responsive, UKAS accredited services, all delivered  in-house in a prompt manner that reflects the urgency you need to save cost and time.  A big thank you to all our existing customers and if you would like to experience a top level testing service then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    Adding New CBR Testing Methods to our UKAS Scope of Accredited Tests

    20th January 2018

    January has got off to a flying start!  Following another rigorous assessment by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to monitor our compliance against the international standard for the competence of testing laboratories, ISO 17025, we are pleased to announce that at our request we will have further extended our scope of accredited tests shortly to include Insitu CBR testing and Dynamic Cone Penetration (DCP) testing.

    There are a large number of advantages in selecting a testing laboratory that is accredited by UKAS for the testing you need,  not the least the fact that you can have confidence the testing is being carried out correctly, using appropriate equipment by competent technicians!  With big decisions resting on test results it makes sense to insist that your testing provider is UKAS accredited.


    With these additional tests appearing on our Schedule of Accredited Tests soon, we now have multiple accredited ways of determining CBR values on your site.  So whatever the circumstances and material to be tested we have a solution waiting for you.


    We hope our increasing scope of accreditation goes some way to demonstrating our continued commitment to provide proven high quality, competent, expert testing services, recognised and accepted nationally.

    Sentinel PTS Rail Qualified Technicians Available

    13th December 2017

    Hixtra now has a number of Sentinel registered Personal Track Safety (PTS) qualified technicians available for conducting site based testing such as plate bearing and CBR at the trackside.


    We are experienced in track side testing works for Network Rail and have Weekend and Bank Holiday availability to help complete urgent works on time.  If you would like to know more then please get in touch.  

    Hixtra Testing on Thames Tideway Project

    22nd October 2017

    Hixtra is pleased to announce that we have fully qualified to undertake testing works on the Thames Tideway Project. Our technical staff have attended and passed the rigorous three day induction programme and are ready to provide plate bearing and CBR testing to more Tier 1 and Tier 2 contractors on the various sites along the route.  Our clients will benefit from UKAS accredited testing, that can be carried out at short notice, 24 hours a day, with results reported the same day – essential for such a large scale, fast moving,  critical infrastructure project.


    Thames Tideway is one of the biggest projects to improve and future-proof the Thames Water network. This is a 15-mile-long sewer, the width of three London buses, which is being bored under the River Thames. It’s designed to prevent millions of tonnes of sewage from overflowing into the tidal Thames every year from the capital’s overloaded Victorian sewer system.  The new tunnel will pipe sewage to our Beckton works. After that, we’ll return clean water to the environment – and use the sewage waste to generate more renewable energy too.  At 15 miles long, seven metres wide and up to 65 metres deep, the Thames Tideway Tunnel is the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry. Most of the engineering work is being carried out by a separate company independent to Thames Water, known as Tideway, who will finish construction by 2024, and hand over the tunnel for Thames Water to operate.


    If you would like to know more then please get in touch.

    Hixtra is now CHAS accredited

    19th September 2017

    Hixtra is delighted to announce that it is now is accredited within the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) having demonstrated compliance with and sound management of current health and safety legislation.

    This, when combined with our UKAS accreditation, adds another layer of confidence for our clients that our approach and operations relating to competence, quality, health and safety is proven industry compliant.

    Client Service Feedback

    21st August 2017

    Recently we conducted a survey our of key clients to assess how well Hixtra’s testing services met their needs.  We are delighted with the results which show that our commitment to speed, responsiveness, technical competence, UKAS and a no fuss service have reflected in what our clients think of us.  Thank you to all those that participated, your feedback is invaluable.

    Meet the Team!

    8th June 2007

    With testing teams dotted around the country we are able to get to your site quickly to ensure you get your CBR and plate bearing testing results promptly saving you time and money.  You will always get your formal test certificates the same day as we know how important it is.

    All this comes as standard in our service to you in addition to UKAS accreditation, CHAS accreditation and a friendly helpful approach!  Contact us for more info or to make a booking

    Time for CBR Testing: The Little Things We Do with a Big Impact for You

    9th April 2017

    Refining our testing services to better serve our clients is foremost in our aims.  Our goal is to make Hixtra the obvious and only choice whenever you need plate bearing testing or CBR testing, no matter where your site is.

    Some features of our service, with great benefits to you, are our time saving measures.  Here are a just few:

    ·         We always arrive at site on or before 8am to make sure you don’t waste time duplicating site inductions just for us, or have to divert other staff to assist with testing when they have already started something else.

    ·         Our staff are trained not only to conduct the tests exactly to the test method, but also as quickly as they can so it means your machinery and site activities are held up for the minimum time.

    ·         Our test reports are always, yes always, issued the same day, meaning you can act on results a day earlier than others.

    Small measures individually, but adding up to significant time and money savings; our added value to you.

    Variety is the Spice of of Life

    28th February 2017

    A busy period has seen us all over the United Kingdom.  Thank you to all our loyal clients from Consett to Barry to London and Bristol!

    Plate Load Test or CBR Test?

    11th January 2017

    One question we are often asked is do I need plate loading tests or CBR tests, or both!  Well, in general, if you are looking at measuring sub-grade strength for road design or construction then CBR values would be the norm.  The complicating factor here though is the material being tested.  If there are particles in the sub-grade that exceed 20mm then the traditional CBR test may not be valid and it would probably be best to go for an equivalent CBR test, which is the plate bearing test with an added calculation – simple eh!  If you are not sure what testing regime would suit you best, then at Hixtra we are just a phone call or email away to help.

    Demolition Behmoth Gets Testing Treatment

    9th November 2016

    In the picture is the UK's largest high-reach, tracked demolition machine, weighing in at an impressive 160 tonnes!  It was so heavy in fact that our client wanted to ensure the ground underneath its tracks would be able to take its weight safely.  With a series of high pressure large diameter plate bearing tests we were soon able to confirm the ground was more than up to the job.  

    Need CBR Testing but there is no construction plant or no room?

    06th September 2016

    If you need CBR tests but there is no room for any construction plant or a vehicle then we have the solution by using what is called a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP).  DCP is recommended as a suitable method for use in the bottom of core holes and test pits to indicate the strength and thickness of the foundation layers. The equipment is relatively simple and fast to operate. The unit is hand held and uses an 8 Kg hammer dropping through a height of 575mm and a 60° cone having a maximum diameter of 20mm. The strength of the material is assessed on the rate of penetration per drop or “blow”.  In practice the depth of penetration is recorded at increments of about 10mm, together with the number of blows to achieve this. The number of blows is then converted to a CBR value, giving a CBR/depth profile.  If you would like to know more or would like to book a visit then please get in touch.

    In Situ CBR Testing and Dynamic Cone Penetrometer Testing Now Being Offered

    1st June 2016

    Following strong demand, we are pleased to announce that we have added In-Situ CBR testing to our scope of on-site soil strength testing services.  Utilising this method of CBR testing our clients can benefit in several ways such as:-


  • The ability to conduct the tests without need for some construction plant to act as a reaction load

  • Being able to test in small or difficult to access test areas when compared to plate bearing tests

  • Being able to test at depth in much smaller trial holes where the size of the excavation has to be limited

  • When the definitive method of determining CBR is required

  • Should space be even more restricted then we have the solution by using our new Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) system to obtain estimated CBR values.  Wherever a person can go, so can the DCP!


    To find out more then please get in contact and we'll be happy to advise

    Equipment Calibration and Traceability; your assurance of accuracy

    30th March 2016

    To ensure your test results are accurate all of our equipment is calibrated and traceable to UK national standards.  Used in our plate loading tests for example, our load cells are calibrated by an external UKAS accredited calibration company, ensuring the measurements they are used for are as accurate as they can be, giving you confidence that the decisions you make based on our test results are correct.

    It’s not only key items that are calibrated but in fact every piece of equipment we use that contributes to a measurement is subjected to regular checks and calibrations.

    In the picture, our ambient temperature measuring thermometers are about to be calibrated.

    We're Recruiting!

    5th Jan 2016

    As we continue to grow, we have opportunities available for Trainee Site Materials Technicians to join our expanding team.


    We are seeking candidates to be trained as Site Materials Technicians.  The main function of the job is to test soils and concrete at various construction sites to measure physical properties.  This involves manual handling of some heavy hand-carried testing equipment around construction sites in all weathers. The successful candidate would travel extensively throughout the region, perhaps visiting a different site on each day.  A vehicle would be provided for work duties. The ideal candidate will need a clean driving licence, have the capability to carry heavy equipment and move around on construction sites unaided and have recognised qualifications in Maths, English and preferably Science subjects.


    This is a great opportunity for someone who enjoys outdoor work and a combination of physical and technical tasks to be one of the founding employees within the materials engineering world with a small but growing business.


    In return, we offer full training, a full time position with a competitive salary, flexi-time, the opportunity to progress into many other areas of work and to be in at the beginning to help shape the future of our new exciting business.


    Please apply by email, with a covering letter including your CV to enquiries@hixtra.co.uk, or call us on 01908 505 833.

    Increasing capacity for Plate Bearing Testing

    19th November 2015

    Strong demand, and widening geographical coverage has lead Hixtra to a recent doubling of capacity for plate bearing testing and CBR testing.  This will ensure that our clients are not kept waiting for site visits to test crane bases, pile mats and road foundations.  Our Director commented “Our clients have come to expect rapid deployment to site and same day test certificate issue and our recent investment in a doubling of capacity reinforces our commitment and ability to deliver this every single time.”


    Along with these developments, Hixtra has also expanded it’s scope to include Dynamic Cone Penetration (DCP) testing.  This will help clients establish CBR values in difficult to access areas or locations where construction plant is not available for full CBR testing.


    As we develop our services further to match the needs of the geotechnical and construction industries we are always looking for new and innovative approaches to testing and would welcome any feedback on what you would like to see from us that could help you.  Email us here enquiries@hixtra.co.uk

    Hixtra is now Constructionline approved

    3rd July 2015

    Hixtra is pleased to announce that it is now Constructionline approved for our construction materials, concrete and soils testing both on site and in the laboratory.  Using a Constructionline registered testing company benefits you in many ways as it's a quicker and easier way of sourcing quality construction suppliers. Using the Constructionline's intuitive search function, you easily find us, know we are assessed to government and industry standards and ready to do business with you. Unlike self-certification services, Constructionline monitor our details on a daily basis, saving you the hassle of arranging your own PQQ documents. Already used by 8,000 procurement professionals, they are now the source of trusted testing companies serving the construction industry.

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