Plate Bearing Test (PBT)

Plate bearing tests are a relatively quick and easy method of establishing and understanding bearing strength and settlement characteristics of the ground under specific loads.

The tests are carried out in situ, at foundation level and are useful for a variety of applications but particularly, bearing pads, platforms, piling mats and crane outrigger pads.

All such tests are carried out to the BS1377 Part 9 : 1990 standard for ‘Soils for Civil Engineering Purposes’.

The test is carried out using steel plates of various sizes from 300mm to 600mm and a tracked excavator (or similar heavy reaction weight) and hydraulic jack to apply pressure to the plates at regular time intervals. Gauges are used to measure the extent and rate of settlement.

A similar test which is more generally used for roads, car parking and pavements is the Dynamic Cone Penetration (DCP) test which is used to calculate the CBR (California Bearing Ratio) although a mathematical calculation using the plate bearing test results can provide a comparative CBR result.

For more information on UKAS Accredited Plate Bearing tests (and DCP tests) provided by Wheal Jane Consultancy please contact us.

Plate Bearing Test


We provide mine searches for residential and commercial properties, mundic assessment, environmental site investigation services, ground stability testing and geotechnical services throughout Cornwall and the South West.