Screening assessment: field vs laboratory composites

Before standard NZS 8510 was released in July, laboratory composites were a fairly uncommon form of testing. Those who require meth-testing services now have two screening assessment options, and depending on the situation, one will be more cost-effective and appropriate than the other.


A field composite is generally for those looking to purchase property. or for between tenancy tests where there is no suspicion of meth use.

  • One sample is taken per high use area, samples are combined in the field and then sent to Analytica Laboratories for analysis. The result is a combined level total for the entire house. 
  • This option is great for its cost-effectiveness as minimal test tubes are used. However, clients are at a disadvantage if the property tests positive for methamphetamine. Because samples are combined in the field,  only a combined level total is available for the entire house. To determine what room the contamination is in, we need to return to the property for further testing.

A laboratory composite we'd generally recommend for real estate agents and property managers if you are suspicious of methamphetamine use in a property.

  • One sample is taken per high use area and provided to the lab in individual test tubes (discrete wipe). Samples are then combined by the lab, up to a total of 10 per test tube, by extracting parts of each sample. The initial result shows a combined total level for the entire house. 
  • This option is great for its time-efficiency. If results are positive, Analytica can test each individual sample supplied to determine where contamination is in the property, without us needing to return to the property. The disadvantage to this option is the stricter sampling procedure, and multiple individual samples are more expensive and the technician is on site longer.

Unsure which method suits you best?

If you're unsure about which option suits a property best, please get in touch. If you have a suspicion, and there is a likely chance a property is contaminated, we'd recommend booking a laboratory composite. It could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

For service prices and to book a test, check out Our Services.