Building and Factory Load Testing
Building load testing is a direct approach employed to validate the load-carrying capacity of structures, primarily focusing on the floor system. Despite its higher cost compared to reversed engineering, load testing provides an accurate reflection of a structure’s actual capacity by incorporating all defects and variations in material properties when resisting the load. In contrast, safety evaluations through reversed engineering fall short of addressing these uncertainties, leading to the introduction of strength reduction factors. The process of load testing involves the gradual application of load in equally incremental steps, with the building’s responses recorded manually or automatically using data loggers and sensors. Various types of loads, such as water, bricks, concrete counterweights, or cement bags, may be used depending on the job site conditions. For instance, water is favored for its ease of transportation in testing floor slabs of general residential and office buildings, while more dense materials like bricks or concrete blocks are preferred for factory floor slab testing due to the need for higher load intensity. The load pattern used in building load testing typically involves a uniformly distributed load over designated floor areas, ensuring it triggers maximum internal force effects in all structural members, including slabs and beams. The deformation (response) resulting from the applied load is then compared to acceptance criteria outlined by building codes. Additionally, parameters such as strain and tilt, if deemed appropriate, may be collected and incorporated into the assessment, expanding beyond code-based criteria.