What Is A Plate Bearing Test?

by | Mar 19, 2021

One of the most common form of geotechnical investigative techniques used today, the plate bearing test helps determine/prove the composition of a stabilised platform within in-situ soil. For works where temporary works constructions are required (like the installation of scaffolding, for instance, or piling rigs) you need to be sure that the ground conditions near the surface are adequate in terms of structural stability.

The team here at Borehole Solutions offer a whole range of geotechnical services, including plate bearing tests. We wanted to explain how they work in more detail.


What Is Involved Within A Plate Bearing Test?

A steel plate is placed on or within the ground (typically at foundation level) and subsequently loaded with weight. That weight or ‘load’ is applied in five stages or increments, and the movements of the plate are recorded consistently (usually on the minute every minute) until there’s no more discernible plate movement.

Due to the size of plate, a counter-ballast is usually required in the form of a digger or excavator. The test is carried out per the requirements of British Standard (BS) 1377 Part 9: 1990.


What Does It Show?

From the plate bearing test, soil bearing capacity and modulus of sub-grade reaction can be calculated; it can also indicate the likely settlement. This is ultimately what the investigation is after as you’re looking to see whether the conditions are suitable and strong enough to support temporary structures above. It might seem like a relatively small thing, but if you’ve not properly worked out and ascertained beforehand whether the conditions are suitable, there could be huge problems upon the erection of the temporary works. With workers’ health and safety being put at risk if plate bearing tests aren’t carried out, you can see just why exactly they’re one of the crucial investigative methods within the construction industry that they are.


How Does The Plate Bearing Test Differ From The CBR Test?

Whilst these two tests share similarities in that they’re investigative methods used to assess surface bearing strengths. Unlike the plate bearing test, however, the California Bearing Test (or CBT) tests relatively small surface areas and relies on a plunging, penetrative motion of machinery into the ground. The plate bearing test, by comparison, revolves around that application of pressure which we’ve talked about. Both are incredibly useful testing methods, just in different contexts.


What Other Services Do We Offer?

Plate bearing tests are by far from the only geotechnical solution we offer here at Borehole Solutions. The following are just some of the other solutions we can offer clients:

  • Sonic Drilling
  • Rotary Drilling
  • Cable Percussion Drilling
  • Restricted Access Drilling
  • Window Sampling
  • Sampling & Testing
  • Casing & Rig Hire


Contact Us

So, if you’d like to find out more about our geotechnical services (which include plate bearing tests) then get in touch! Contact Borehole Solutions today on 01733 200 501 or by emailing us at info@boreholesolutions.com. Alternatively, you can fill out one of our online enquiry forms on our website; we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!