Technical Articles

What is BS EN 12390?

BS EN 12390, also known as the British Standard for testing concrete, is a set of technical standards and guidelines developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI). It provides requirements and procedures for assessing the various properties of concrete, including its strength, durability, and composition.

Strength Testing

One of the main focuses of BS EN 12390 is the evaluation of concrete strength. This is crucial as it directly relates to the structural integrity of buildings and other infrastructure. The standard specifies several test methods to determine the compressive and flexural strength of concrete specimens.

The most common method is the compression test, which involves applying a gradually increasing axial load on a cylindrical or cubical concrete sample until failure occurs. The peak load at failure is then divided by the cross-sectional area of the specimen to obtain the compressive strength.

In addition to compressive strength, BS EN 12390 also addresses the measurement of flexural strength, which evaluates the ability of concrete to withstand bending forces. This test method involves subjecting a prismatic concrete beam to a specific load pattern and measuring the maximum applied load before failure.

Durability and Composition Assessment

BS EN 12390 also covers the assessment of concrete's durability and composition. Durability is an essential characteristic of concrete, especially for structures exposed to harsh environments or aggressive agents such as chemicals and freeze-thaw cycles.

The standard provides guidelines on various durability aspects, including resistance to chloride penetration, carbonation, and sulfate attack. These tests aim to ensure that the concrete will maintain its performance over the expected service life.

Furthermore, BS EN 12390 addresses compositional assessments that involve evaluating the proportions of different materials in concrete mixtures. These tests help verify that the concrete mixes meet specified requirements, such as the desired strength grade and workability.


BS EN 12390 plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality and reliability of concrete used in construction projects. Its standards and procedures enable engineers and contractors to assess concrete's strength, durability, and composition accurately. By following these guidelines, the industry can build structures that are safe, long-lasting, and able to withstand various environmental conditions.



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