Diagnostics & Testing

Diagnostics & Testing

Supporting Technical Data with Engineering Expertise

After more than four decades, Atkinson-Noland & Associates professionals don’t simply know the industry standards. We helped write many of them. More importantly, we continue to advance our knowledge and the industry through ongoing research and development—both in the field and in our Boulder, Colorado, laboratory.

Consider flatjack testing, frequently used for nondestructive evaluation of masonry. Not only do we educate the industry through publications and presentations, but we have also developed a proprietary line of flatjacks, based on experience that dates back to 1985.

While falling prices have made testing equipment widely available, our experts perform these specialty services on a daily basis. Decades of experience allow in-depth interpretation of results and innovative recommendations.

In short, our diagnostics and testing expertise—which underpins all our service offerings—delivers more than data. We provide creative solutions, based on our ability to analyze, identify and resolve engineering challenges.


A fiber-optic borescope is inserted in small holes drilled into mortar joints to evaluate internal wall conditions. Borescope investigations provide detailed information about internal wall features discovered through nondestructive evaluation. These surveys can also evaluate corrosion of embedded metals and continuity of brick header courses. Borescope analysis can reduce or eliminate the need for destructive probe openings.

We use nondestructive techniques to determine “as-built” conditions for rating bridges. Then, working with BDI engineers, we load-test bridges to obtain deflection and strain data for calibration and verification of finite element (FE) models. Advanced FE capabilities allow us to implement complex 3D models of arch bridges and to produce accurate load ratings in accordance with current AASHTO provisions.

Compatible injection fill (CIF) is customized to the material properties of the host structure, based on nondestructive evaluation and materials characteristics testing. Technicians pump a fluid, cement-based grout mixture into cracks, voids, or cavities within masonry. Low injection pressures prevent damage, while strengthening already fragile materials.

This advanced computational analysis technique aids in evaluation of structural behavior, based on accurate numerical simulation of the structural response under load. By adopting reasonable modeling strategies and material properties of the actual structure (as determined through nondestructive investigation and evaluation), finite element (FE) modeling enhances the diagnosis and understanding of damage and visual distress. FE modeling also allows for an in-depth safety evaluation of the structure, contributing to the design and validation of proposed interventions.

A flatjack is a flexible steel envelope, thin enough to fit within a masonry mortar joint. During testing, the flatjack is hydraulically pressurized and applies stress to the surrounding masonry. Flatjack tests can determine engineering properties of older and historic structures for structural evaluation, including in situ stress (ASTM C1196), masonry compressive modulus (ASTM C1197), masonry compressive strength (ASTM C1197), and mortar shear strength (ASTM C1531).

We use an in-house laboratory for testing historic and modern masonry material properties. Work performed includes characterization of brick, block, and stone properties; mortar analysis; anchor strength; and grout development, following standard test methods developed by ASTM, ACI, the State of California, and others.

Nondestructive tools such as moisture meters, surface-penetrating radar, and infrared thermography can identify areas of high moisture content and track moisture penetration back to its source. Spray tests are often used to identify moisture leakage pathways and the rate of moisture infiltration. ANA can perform tests in accordance with ASTM C1601, ASTM C1715, ASTM E514, ASTM E1105 and AAMA 501.2.

This form of structural analysis assesses a structure’s resistance to earthquake loads. Seismic retrofit solutions are designed to be compatible with the existing materials. In working with historic structures, ANA uses internal strengthening techniques whenever possible to avoid altering the building’s outward appearance.

Structural analysis characterizes the structural response when subjected to a variety of conditions and actions, such as changing environmental conditions, new load requirements, etc. This assessment involves evaluating a structure under stress, deformation and displacements, and reactions. Nonlinear analysis through finite element (FE) modeling can be used to pinpoint the source of excessive stress leading to damage of the structure (e.g., cracking in tension, crushing in compression) when evaluated under service and ultimate load ranges.

Surface-penetrating radar (SPR), also referred to as ground-penetrating radar or impulse radar, provides valuable information about structural and non-structural building components without causing damage. The radar data reveals voids, construction layers, and the presence of other materials, such as metal inclusions, as well as the thickness of the element.

Diagnostics & Testing PROJECTS