Do We Still Need Full-Scale Testing of Complete Structures?

One might assume that the recent advances in dynamic and seismic testing of structures, the hybrid testing methods in particular, might have rendered the tests on complete full-scale mockups unnecessary, and obsolete the limitations related to size and capacity. Even though hybrid testing does indeed allow for an efficient combination of numerical and physical models, so that the size of the physical mockup can typically be limited to a small portion of the structure, problems for which the full-scale testing of complete structures is the only viable solution remain. These are the problems for which there is a complex interaction of different elements, for all of which no satisfactory numerical model exists, or for which the response is dominated by the connections between the structural elements. And these are problems in which real materials, execution tolerances, practice and defects might play an important role in the global behavior, and those are the key issues in the standardization process. A good example of these problems is the seismic behavior of precast structures.