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Concrete Strength Acceptance Criteria IS:456-2000

Materials Engineer, Roorkee

Strength of concrete is commonly considered its most valuable property, although in many practical cases, other characteristics, such as durability and permeability, may in fact be more important. However, the strength of concrete is almost invariably a vital element of structural design and is specified for compliance purposes.

Table 1 : Frequency (IS: 456-2000 clause 15.2.2)
The minimum frequency of sampling of concrete of each grade shall be in accordance with the following:

Quantity of concrete in the work, m3 Number of samples
1 – 5 1
6 – 15 2
16 – 30 3
31 – 50 4
51 and above 4 plus one additional sample for each additional 50 m3 or part thereof
NOTE: At least one sample shall be taken from each shift where concrete is produced at continuous production unit, such as ready-mixed concrete plant, frequency of sampling may be agreed upon mutually by suppliers and purchasers.

(A) Compressive strength
The concrete shall be deemed to comply with the strength requirement when both the following conditions are met:
a) The mean strength determined from any group of four non-overlapping consecutive test results, complies with the appropriate limits col. 2 of Table 2.
b) Any individual test result complies with the appropriate limits in col. 3 Table 2.


(B) Flexural strength
When both the following conditions are met, the concrete complies with the specified flexural strength.
a) The mean strength determine from any group of four consecutive test results exceed the specified characteristic strength by at least 0.3 N/mm2
b) The strength determined from any test result is not less than specified characteristic strength less 0.3 N/mm2

The quantity of concrete represented by a group of four consecutive test results shall include the batches from which the first and last samples were taken together with all intervening batches.

Three test specimens shall be made for each sample for testing at 28 days. Additional specimens may be required for 7 days strength. In all the cases 28 days strength shall alone be the criterion for acceptance or rejection of the concrete.

The test results of the sample shall be the average of the strength of three specimens. The individual variation should not be more than +15 percent of the average. If more, the test results of the sample are invalid.

Table 2 : Characteristic compressive strength compliance requirement
IS: 456-2000 with amendments Table 11 (Clause 16.1 and 16.3)

Specified Grade Mean of Group of 4 Non-Overlapping Consecutive test results in N/mm2 Minimum Individual Test Results in N/mm2
(1) (2) (3)
M15 and above fck + 0.825 X established Standard deviation (round off to nearest 0.5 N/mm2


fck + 3 N/mm2 whichever is greater

fck – 3 N/mm2
NOTE 1: In the absence of established value of standard deviation, the values given in Table 8 (IS: 456-2000) may be assumed, and attempt should be made to obtained results of 30 samples as early as possible to establish the value of standard deviation.

NOTE 2: For concrete quantity up to 30 m3 (where the number of samples to be taken is less than four) as per frequency of sampling given in 15.2.2, the mean of test results of all such samples shall be fck + 4 N/mm2, minimum and the requirement of minimum individual test results shall be fck – 2 N/mm2, minimum. However, when the number of samples is only one as per 15.2.2, the requirement shall be fck + 4 N/mm2, minimum.

(Values of column 2 and 3 are equal to or more than)

The acceptance criteria is best illustrated by the following examples:

Grade of concrete : M25

Laboratory design mean target strength for

good quality control: 25 + (1.65 x 4)= 31.6 N/mm2 at 28 days age

In all the case average of three 150 mm cubes shall be taken.


Table 3: Site concrete acceptance.
In one shifts 4 m3 foundation concrete was done.

Shift Cube test results N/mm2 Average fav N/mm2 0.85 fav N/mm2 1.15 fav N/mm2 Acceptance 25+4 = 29 N/mm2(Min)
1. 19, 26, 16 20.3 17.3 23.3 Rejected due to:

a) Minimum strength of 29 N/mm2 not achieved

b) Variation in strength cubes 26 and 16 are out of range +/-15% of average

NOTE: Due to doubtful concrete the work was stop. Concrete was tested by rebound hammer and drilled cores. From test results the foundation concrete found to be of M25 grade.

The work was started only when new cube moulds, properly calibrated compression testing machine was purchased and laboratory staff was trained in all the site testing work.

Table 4: Site concrete acceptance. In 3 shifts 27 m3 foundation concrete was done.

Shift Cube test results N/mm2 Average fav N/mm2 0.85 fav N/mm2 1.15 fav N/mm2 Acceptance fck + 4 N/mm2 25+4 = 29 Min
fck – 2 N/mm2
25 – 2 = 23 N/mm2(Min)
1. 33, 29, 32 31.3 26.6 36.0 Av = 31.3
2. 24, 32, 28 28.0 23.8 32.2 Av = 28.0
3. 25, 29, 32 28.7 24.4 33.0 Av = 28.7
Average = 29.3 N/mm2


(1) All the cubes strength are within +15% of average

(2) From shifts 1, 2 and 3 all cubes strength are > 23 N/mm2.

(3) Average cubes strength of shift 1, 2 and 3 is 29.3 N/mm2 which is > 29 N/mm2.

Foundation concrete is accepted as M25 grade.

Table 5: Site concrete acceptance. In 6 shifts 75 m3 roof slab concrete was done.

Shift Cube test results N/mm2 Average fav N/mm2 0.85 fav N/mm2 1.15 fav N/mm2 Acceptance 25+0.825×4 = 28.3 N/mm2

Rounded of 28.0 N/mm2 Individual
25 – 3 = 22 N/mm2

1. 22, 28, 26 25.3 21.5 29.1 Av = 25.3
2. 26, 24, 28 26.0 22.1 29.9 Av = 26.0
3. 31, 35, 33 33.0 28.1 38.0 Av = 33.0
4. 32, 31, 33 32.0 27.2 36.8 Av = 32.0
5. 31, 32, 33 32.0 27.2 36.8 Av = 32.0
6. 26, 25, 24 25.0 21.3 28.0 Av = 25.0

(1) All the cubes strength are within +15% of average

(2) Average of shift 1, 2, 3, 4 cubes is 29.1 N/mm2 whichis > 28.0 N/mm2.

(3) Average of shift 2, 3, 4, 5 cubes is 30.8 N/mm2 which is > 28.0 N/mm2.

(4) Average of shift 3,4, 5, 6 cubes is 30.5 N/mm2 which is > 28.0 N/mm2.

(5) All the cubes strength are > 22 N/mm2

It is concluded that the roof slab concrete comply with compressive strength requirements of M25 grade

A sample consist of three cubes/specimens . It is better for the same concrete sample cast more than three cubes, so that any defective cube should not be tested or any doubt full test result due to testing may be rejected and not included in the average of three cubes.

1. IS: 456-2000 (Fourth Revision) with amendments plain and reinforced concrete – Code of Practice, BIS, New Delhi.
2. Kishore Kaushal, “Quality Control of Construction – Testing of Concrete Cubes”, Indian Construction, Apr. 2010 pp. 21-24.


We at are thankful to Sir Kaushal Kishore for submitting this very important paper to us.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

If you have a query, you can ask a question here.

30 comments on "Concrete Strength Acceptance Criteria IS:456-2000"

Aditya Vikram Singh says:

Difference Between Crushing Strength & Compressive Strength

M.Venkatesh says:

how to calculated +-15% in tha concrete

Nizam Mohammad says:

Avg of 3 individual sample X .85 is -15%
Avg of 3 individual sample X 1.15 is +16%

Minesh says:

Grade M:30,
7 day result was – 21.38, 26.99, 27.19
What will i consider the average result?
Please give me full calculation.

Teklit Zemichael says:

Is grade of concrete or design strength that is provided in the ACI 211.1-91 table 6.3.4(a)?


Is there any IS std for how many cube results are necessary for passing cube test out of three casted and checked.

anonymous says:

all of three should be pass if any one of them fail it means your result of cube are fail.

siva kumar says:

As per IS -456 cube sampling is correct ? i would like to know suppose 5m3 concrete done at site as per IS 456 we have to check 7 days and 28 days it means we need 6 nos of cube required, but as per 456 3 cubes only how to determine the 28 days strength please guide me

Kaushal Kishore says:

Only 28 days cube strengths are valid

sagar soni says:

What is the mean of is 456:2000,page no.30,table no.11

sagar soni says:

what criteria are to be use for 28 days ,m-30 grade of concrete



Shoumitra Nayek says:


Arjun says:

What is the max percentage of cube strength are acceptable for any grade after 28 days?
Is there M-25 grade = 35 accepted after 28 days?

Avinash Shidhaling Yawalkar says:

Dear sir I told me 28days 3 cubes are checked but strength are following 1 49.66’49.12 and 51. Avg is 50.06 please reply me cube pass/ Fail


Where it’s mentioned that 7dyas cube strength to achieve 65%. Which IS CODE.

YAHIYA says:

In the above Table 4, as per remarks 2, it is mentioned that “(2) From shifts 1, 2 and 3 all cubes strength are > 23 N/mm2”. Here, there is a confusion. Should we check the average strengths of the samples (3 cubes each in one sample, ie minimum of 31.3,28.0 and 28.7 here) or check each and every cubes for the minimum criteria?. The code says “Individual Test Results”

Rahul kumar says:

I tested cubes of M-30 Grade but 28 days results found 32.32N/MM²

Clint write a ramarks that result not satisfactory,no we have to do core cutting. please help if any solution…


Sir Is it possible to accept that the strength result (35 N / mm2) of M 20 concrete in a project is taken after 60 days?

v suresh kumar says:

In IS 456 one specimen is one cube. One sample is group of 3 cubes. So one sample strength is average of 3 cubes. Mean value of 4 consecutive non overlapping values means, Mean value of 4 samples, with each sample containing 3 cubes. Non overlapping means you cannot take value of cube from one sample in the next sample.Means cubes 1,2,3 forms one sample. Cubes 4,5,6 forms second sample, cubes 7,8,9 forms third sample…You cannot take sample 1 with 1,2,3 and then take 3,4,5 in sample 2. Because 3 is repeating.

v suresh kumar says:

core cutting and testing is only solution

v suresh kumar says:

not individual cube..individual sample is each containing 3 cubes.. For individual cube, the strength shall not vary more than 15% of average. you have to reject that particular cube in calculating average

Inderjit Ghai says:

Very nicely explained dear ER. Kanwarjot. If convenient call me. Iam graduate from GNE Ludhiana 1981-85 batch now working as a consultant and operating a society called CIVIL ENGINEERS ACCADEMY & RESEARCH CENTRE at Panchkula

Shubham Tiwari says:

What is cube strength of min & max in 7days and 28 days please given detail with me .

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