Drilling Resistance Measurement (DRM) is recognised as an important on-site micro-invasive procedure for assessment of construction materials. This paper presents a detailed investigation of user-controlled variables and their influence on drilling resistance. The study proves that the ratio of penetration rate/rotational speed (PR/RPM) is proportional to drilling resistance. Data from Bath stone and an artificial reference stone demonstrates how different materials can be compared using their intrinsic specific energy. It is also shown that adjusting drilling settings does not significantly change drilling measurement variability. However, settings producing high drilling resistance can significantly contribute to drill bit wear. A theoretical framework in which tests can be optimised without compromising the ability to compare data is presented. The framework is of high significance to the conservation industry and will promote a more effective use of DRM. DRM is a minimally invasive procedure particularly appropriate for sensitive heritage structures. Its use can provide the essential mechanical property data required for evaluation of surface consolidation products and specification of repair materials.