While it is usually possible to demonstrate the strength and safety of an existing structure through calculations based on general accepted engineering principles, this is not always the case. Sometimes there are structures for which calculations alone may not be sufficient to demonstrate fitness for intended occupancy or use. In these situations, in-situ load testing can provide valuable information about the performance of existing structures. It can also take advantage of beneficial structural behavior not readily apparent with conventional computational methods.
The primary goal of load testing is to demonstrate the safety of a structure. Load tests do not determine the design strength or load-carrying limit.