In February 1965, just on 50 years ago, Dom Meadley commenced his first CMT tests at the Country Roads Board of Victoria, Materials Research Division, which was NATA accredited Laboratory AN 21.
Dom has been a technical assessor for CMT since 1980 and is currently employed by NATA as a CMT technical consultant who is able to perform both the lead and technical assessor roles.
What were the highlights of your career:
- Standards Australia Meritorious Contribution Award in 2008 for contribution to its working committees
- Chairman of NATA CMT AAC 1992-2003.
- Chairman of working group of CE-009 which produced HB 160 - Soil Handbook
What kept you in the CMT industry?
- CRB/VicRoads staff were actively encouraged to think for themselves and senior staff always gave freely of their knowledge and provided a wide variety of training.
- The people in CMT testing laboratories throughout Australia are really down to earth and practical Australians but I cannot get away from the “bush lawyers” and their interpretations of methods.
What has changed over the years?
Up until the 1990s, government agencies performed the majority of testing for major infrastructure with only a small group of consultant testing laboratories providing the testing for commercial developments. Since that time, most government testing is performed by commercial and industry laboratories. Unfortunately, this has lead to a downturn in research in CMT testing which has reduced the amount of innovation to improve the testing.
What is the most significant change in CMT testing you have seen?
Computer and black box data acquisition.
- Computers and the related tablets and smart phones present a new challenge as rather than increasing our technical understanding of testing they tend to “dumb” down many tasks and present significant challenges of integrity and traceability of data.
- Black box technology creates significant challenges to NATA technical assessors in coming to grips of what is being measured and then provided as output of the tests.
Are there any concerns you have for the future?
- My major concern is the specialisation of tasks that have overtaken the industry even to the extent that we are having people performing parts of tests rather than the complete test. I was lucky in that I was employed by a government organisation which provided a huge scope of experience in our field and we were encouraged to participate in Standards Australia, NATA and other associations which gave us access to our peers in the industry.
What do you think you have given back to the CMT industry?
- I suppose the most enduring result of the work I was involved in was the research work for the introduction of 100 mm concrete cylinders and beams into Australian Standards. I now witness these being used for the majority of concrete testing in Australia and hope that people’s backs are in better shape because of this work. At the same time we introduced rubber capping which reduced the safety issues we had at the time with sulphur capping – these caps are now gradually being replaced by grinding the tops of specimens as the equipment becomes cheaper.
Dom is not the only assessor that has had 50 years in the CMT industry and his co-worker/assessor for many years at the CRB/VicRoads, Doug Dick, commenced at about the same time Dom did.
We would like to hear from other long-term assessors who may have been in their industries for even longer.