Common questions and AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange update

Common questions and AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange update

In this post we will be going over common questions that are frequently asked, but first, I have a few quick comments about the recent AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange that is held annually.

This conference should be on every quality manager’s calendar and considered a MUST ATTEND. The sessions are fun, interactive, informative and led by the staff at AASHTO re:source and special industry leaders. No corners are cut with the venue, food and the evening events, and maybe the most important part, you will be meeting friends within the industry! 

Test standard database

The question comes up from time to time, “I can’t find a specific test standard within the database, can you help?

Within the R18LabQMS application, there is a database of AASHTO and ASTM Test Standards that is used in various places; it is mainly used for the technician training and evaluation records under the Evaluations Tab. Currently, there are a combination of 260 test standards within the construction materials category and the database is managed on the admin side of R18LabQMS. An example would be if there’s a missing test standard or a standard that is discontinued, we would update that record. 

Individual laboratories (users) can also add test standards, but those standards would only be visible within their accounts. All updates that are made within the R18LabQMS admin are visible and accessible to all user accounts. Users can add test standards by going to the Managed Lab Tab / Test Methods / View / + New Test Method.  

Number of users

I’m often asked, “Is there a limit to the number of users we can add to our account and are there various levels of access?” 

There are no limitations to the number of users and each user is assigned a ‘role’ which provides various levels of access. Also, each user has their own login credentials and dashboard configuration. When the Primary Lab Manager (PLM) sets up a new user, they will receive an email from service@r18labqms.com with a link to create their password, so it’s important for the new user to be aware that the email is on its way.

Equipment inventory limitations

With new users, the big question is, “Are there any limitations to the amount of equipment in the database, and for that matter, the number of equipment procedures (EPs) for each piece of equipment for calibration, standardization, check or maintenance?” 

There are no limitations to the number of equipment or the number of EPs that can be added to each piece of equipment. So let’s take this a step further, If my lab has a large inventory of equipment, how is that done?

Adding equipment to your inventory:

Adding equipment individually is easy for a smaller inventory, this is done by going to the Inventory Tab / + New Equipment, and just complete the information needed and note the required fields in RED.

Adding equipment using the import inventory can be done by going to Inventory Tab / Import Inventory / Download Template (populate) / select completed template with inventory / Upload.

When using the template just note there are required fields. Also, there are options to add existing EPs. For assistance and training on importing inventory, please contact us

Multiple areas of accreditation

The question asked, “Does R18LabQMS manage multiple areas of accreditation, i.e., asphalt mixtures, aggregate, asphalt binder, etc?” 

The short answer is yes! The R18LabQMS application follows the guidelines of AASHTO R18 and its specific requirements. From one area of accreditation to another, one of the big requirements is the equipment and procedure requirements. In this example all equipment is placed in specific categories for easy access. Another requirement is technician training and evaluation records for specific test standards, i.e. areas of accreditation.  

Onboarding process

How long does it take?” This may be one of the most common questions when laboratories are considering R18LabQMS for the management of their quality management system.

The answer is, that it varies, anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the level of effort you put into it and the size of your lab. I was recently at a DOT that completed the onboarding process in a timely fashion and had multiple areas of accreditation with over 300 pieces of equipment. Shortly thereafter they had an onsite assessment sharing their QMS with the assessors prior to the assessment.  

If your laboratory is currently accredited, you should have all procedures in place in various places; maybe in a filing cabinet, electronic format or some other filing system.  


Do we pay for upgrades?

No, all upgrades, bug fixes, or any changes made to the R18LabQMS application are included in the annual subscriptions. All upgrades are mentioned in blog posts.

That said…

When is the next big upgrade?” Great question, I’m glad you asked! We are nearing the completion of version 2.9 and will begin a beta testing phase in late June with a proposed launch date in July. Great things are happening.

Training and customer service

Getting started happens within the setup process. It’s intuitive and follows the sections that require procedures within the management and technical sections. Each section number within the setup process corresponds to AASHTO R18. You can either enter your procedure itself for each section or upload a file with the details of the procedure. I always tell labs during a demo that it’s much like a ‘Turbo Tax’ experience as it walks you through each step.

Once you have completed the setup process, or wish to move on to the dashboard view, just click save Progress and Exit Setup in the upper right-hand corner. It’s straightforward and intuitive.

Upon exiting the setup process, there will be a dialog box that pops up asking you if you would like to add additional ASTM Quality Standards, and their sub standards, i.e., D3666 (aggregate). 

Additional training needed to jump-start the onboarding process: 

Virtual training

We target a specific area for training and limit the time to one hour. An example would be adding equipment procedures to your equipment. There is no charge for virtual training limited to one hour.

Onsite training

We spend one day in your laboratory to review all aspects of your quality manual and take a deep dive into R18labQMS implementation. This training is fee-based, please inquire.


Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application.

Upcoming meetings we will be attending:

AAPT 2024 Annual Meeting & Technical Sessions
Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists  
Celebrates 100 years of Asphalt Innovation
September 9-12, 2024 in Chicago, IL
Register NOW!  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to celebrate this milestone.

 More notables

  • AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast with Brian Johnson & Kimberly Swanson

S2 E18: Moving to a Digital Quality Management System

Gary Irvine, from the Asphalt Institute, joins us to discuss the benefits of moving from a paper QMS to a digital system.

For all questions regarding your quality management system, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your laboratory.

One last favor to ask, if there is a specific topic of discussion you would like to see in upcoming blogs, please send us a note.

Follow all future R18LabQMS blog posts, click here

Gary Irvine
R18LabQMS Program Manager