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Clean water is at the Heart of Good Quality Construction


Water is one of the most important elements in construction and is required for the preparation of mortar, mixing of cement concrete and for curing work in construction. The quality of water used has a direct impact on the strength of the motor and cement concrete in the construction work. The water used for curing and mixing must be free from high quantities of alkalis, acids, oils, salt, sugar, organic materials, vegetable growth, etc. that might be deleterious to bricks, concrete or iron.

Impurities in water can cause metal corrosion. There is a rusting problem in the steel provided in the RCC. It can introduce unwanted silt and clay into the concrete, adversely affecting the hardening process of concrete and also reducing its strength by an even 25%. Thus, the need to ensure the quality of water used during construction is vital.

Many a times, in spite of using the best raw materials, cement and tested water, concrete does not deliver the required results in the process of construction. This is basically because the water-cement-sand ratio used was either less or more. Since it’s a chemical process when the water is mixed in mortar, it reacts with cement and forms a binding paste. The water actually helps in filling the small spaces in the sand creating a close cohesion of sand particles and cement.

Water is the very foundation of the construction process and its importance is undeniable. IS 456:2000 standards lay certain parameters for which quality of construction of plain and reinforced concrete must be tested.


It has been observed that certain common impurities in water affect the quality of mortar or concrete. Quite often, in spite of using the best materials i.e. cement, coarse sand, coarse aggregate etc. in cement concrete, required results are not achieved. Most Engineers/Contractors think that there is something wrong in the cement, but they do not consider the quality of water being used.

When water is surfaced with impurities, then it can result in the following ill effects in construction:

  • Presence of salt in water such as Calcium Chloride, Iron Salts, inorganic salts and sodium etc. are so dangerous that they reduce initial strength of concrete and in some cases the concrete is reduced to no strength at all.
  • Presence of acid, alkali, industrial waste, sanitary sewage and water with sugar also reduce the strength of concrete.
  • Presence of silt or suspended particles in water has adverse effects on the strength of concrete.
  • Presence of oil such as linseed oil, vegetable oil or mineral oil in water above 2 % reduces the strength of concrete up to 25 %.
  • Presence of algae/vegetable growth in the water that’s used for mixing in cement concrete reduces the strength of concrete considerably. This also reduces the bond between cement paste and aggregate.
  • The quality of water for construction works is the same as drinking water. So, if the quality of construction water and drinking water were to be equal, that implies the water should be reasonably free from such impurities as suspended solids, organic matter and dissolved salts.
  • These impurities present may, in turn, adversely affect the properties of the concrete, especially the setting, hardening, strength, durability, pit value, etc.
  • The water shall be clean and shall not contain sugar, molasses or guror their derivatives, or sewage, oils or organic substances.
  • If the quality of water to be used for mixing is in doubt, cubes of 75 mm of cement mortar in a ratio of 1:3 are mixed with distilled water and the same cubes are made with the water in question. The latter type of cubes should attain 90% of the 7 days’ strength obtained in cubes with the same quantity of distilled water.
  • Alternatively, the water shall be tested in an approved Laboratory for its use in preparing concrete / mortar.

Points to be noted with respect to the quality of construction water:
Limits of Alkalinity and Acidity:

  • To neutralize 200 ml of sample should not require more than 10 ml of 0.1 normal HCL using methyl orange as an indicator.
  • To neutralize a 200 ml sample of water should not require more than 2 m of 0.1 normal NaOH (Caustic soda). The pH value of water shall generally be not less than 6.

There are various tests on water to check its quality for suitability of concrete construction. Quality of water for construction use is determined in the laboratory. This test is done as per clause 3.1.1 of IS 3025.

In civil engineering projects, large quantities of different materials are used and it is necessary to test these materials according to certain set patterns within desirable frequency of testing in order to ensure that the quality of the final product is maintained. Water is one such important material that is tested.

Water from each source shall be tested before the commencement of work and thereafter once in every three months till the completion of the work. Water from municipal sources needs to be tested only once in six months. Number of tests for each source shall be three.


Water is obtained from various sources; therefore, the water should be tested before the construction work progresses. We check the essential parameters for the construction water analysis, this includes:

  • The pH value test
  • Limits of acidity & alkalinity test
  • Percent of solids
  • Suspended matter
  • Organic and Inorganic Solid
  • Chloride
  • Sulfates

Other major parameters as per the IS 456:2000 standards are:

  • To neutralize 100 ml sample of water with 0.02N NaOH
  • To neutralize 100 ml sample of water with 0.02N H2SO4

At Atlas Lab, we conduct various tests on the construction water to check its quality for the suitability of concrete construction. We are a state-of-the-art laboratory carrying out various tests and provide its analysis services to large national and international clients on a global scale.

  • For construction water testing samples, we test the sample used for mixing and curing thoroughly.
  • Our dedicated team of professionals offer the highest quality of water testing services and comply with all regulatory laws & guidelines.
  • Our latest technology and real-time auditing provide a quick and accurate result. Every test protocol of ours matches with the standards mentioned by the concerned authorities.
  • We have an ingenious team of researchers who are making progress in the field of testing by leaps and bounds and are introducing modern testing methods and technology into our labs.
  • Our prime goal is to offer precise and timely testing, and we dedicate all our working force to achieve just that, time after time.

For any further technical or commercial inquiry one can contact us on our website: www.atlaslab.in
Or on our email: contact@atlaslab.in
Or call on : +91 93214 24026
Or WhatsApp on :+91 93214 24026

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