What is Load Testing in Foundation Engineering?

When performed professionally, foundation load testing in geotechnical construction enables the contractor to achieve the complex code necessities.

Load testing in New York is a powerful tool that CMI Structural Solutions uses to evaluate the performance of certain structures about their capability to carry the suitable code-prescribed loads. Load testing has been in use in foundation engineering since the 1800s and is used to control the load rating of new structures.

Effectiveness of Load Testing

Although it’s often unjustly not deemed the most lucrative technique, load tests are powerful when the structures or other components are considered to be not strong enough to hold the required loads.

This is because other traditional and even more sophisticated analysis techniques may be inadequate to assess the reserve capacity of structures due to the complexity involved in accounting for the redundancy of in-situ systems, load sharing, and the alternate load paths effects.

When is Load Testing Useful?

Load tests were developed so that contractors could create additional confidence in the aptitude of a structure to perform. Specifically, load tests assess structures that exhibit deterioration signs and distress, in which the extent is not exclusively understood.

Similarly, load testing is used to appraise construction’s design effects and defects, like misplacement of steel elements and omission of certain concrete features.

Load tests are also useful in investigating the performance of geotechnical systems and unique designs where architecture is somewhat unknown. Sometimes, a lack of proper documentation for structures in concealed conditions can lead to an area of doubt as to whether or not a building is structurally sound.

How is it Performed?

The load testing process involves applying pressure to a particular pile in encoded directions. It’s either by compression, tension, or lateral pressure.

A hydraulic jack generally applies the load to ensure equal pressure distribution on the final load requirement. Then, a reaction frame is used against the jack. After activation, any movement of the pile or test equipment is monitored and logged. The results determine the load capacity of the pile in testing.

Load Testing Accessibility

The main challenge facing load testing is the lack of adequate space for the equipment. However, whether it’s inside a building or some underground room with restricted access to utilities, CMI Structural Solutions can perform accurate and safe load testing on helical piles, stelcor DDMs, and other structures. 


The CMI Structural Solutions company has the engineering expertise and required equipment to execute geotechnical load tests. We have completed hundreds of load tests, including on micro piles, helical piles, aggregate pier systems, and more. Contact us today for safe and accurate load tests in New York anytime.