During the development of the VLT instrumentation program, ESO acquired considerable expertise in the area of infrared detectors, their testing and optimizing their performance. This can mainly be attributed to a very competent team and most importantly to the availability of a very well suited test facility, namely, IRATEC. This test facility was designed more than 15 years ago, specifically for 1K × 1K detectors such as the Aladdin device, with a maximum field of only 30 mm square. Unfortunately, this facility is no longer suited for the testing of the new larger format detectors that are going to be used to equip the future E-ELT instruments. It is projected that over the next 20 years, there will be of the order of 50-100 very large format detectors to be procured and tested for use with E-ELT first and second generation instruments and VLT third generation instruments. For this reason ESO has initiated the in-house design and construction of a dedicated new IR detector arrays test facility: the Facility for Infrared Array Testing (FIAT). It will be possible to mount up to four 60 mm square detectors in the facility, as well as mosaics of smaller detectors. It is being designed to have a very low thermal background such that detectors with 5.3 μm cut-off material can routinely be tested. The paper introduces the most important use cases for which FIAT is designed: they range from performing routine performance measurements on acquired devices, optimization setups for custom applications (like spot scan intra-pixel response, persistence and surface reflectivity measurements), test of new complex operation modes (e.g. high speed subwindowing mode for low order sensing, flexure control, etc.) and the development of new tests and calibration procedures to support the scientific requirements of the E-ELT and to allow troubleshooting the unexpected challenges that arise when a new detector system is brought online. The facility is also being designed to minimize the downtime required to change to a new detector and then cool it down, ready for testing. The status of the opto-mechanical and cryogenic design is also described in detail, with particular emphasis on the technical solutions identified to fulfill the FIAT top level requirements. We will also describe how the FIAT project has been set-up as a training facility for the younger generation of engineers who are expected to take over the job from the experienced engineers and ensure that the lessons learnt in so many years of successful IR instrumentation projects at ESO are captured for this next generation.