In the early 90s, the transition to the Superpave PG asphalt binder system represented a significant step forward in our industry’s ability to characterize asphalt performance properties. Now, after more than ten years of practical laboratory experience in PG testing, lab technicians have mastered techniques that yield excellent repeatability. However, repeatable results are not necessarily accurate results. Likewise, precise results in one lab may not be reproducible in other lab environments.
In one lab setting there may be no reason to question established techniques, but when results are compared between laboratories, variability may occur. Without a means to ensure consistent laboratory best-practice from state to state and region to region, this variability and the resulting challenges it presents is unlikely to improve significantly.
Regional certification programs, such as the New England Transportation Technician Certification Program (NETTCP), have proven to be effective within the participating states. However, there was no common technician certification program for all states and regions. The NBTC program is designed to address this recognized national need for expanded training in PG testing. This program provides a consistent means of ensuring that asphalt binder technicians are knowl-edgeable and fully qualified to produce valid specification compliance and quality assurance data.