Plate Bearing Test Services

Analytical Construction Services (ACS) offers comprehensive on-site plate bearing tests, also known as plate load tests, to determine a material’s ability to withstand different applied pressures and to estimate its ultimate load-bearing capacity.

During a plate load test, our trained technicians will apply the specified load to the test surface and analyse the resulting deformation. This test provides valuable insights into the likelihood of any movement or settlement of the ground – establishing how well the material will perform under the required conditions.

Our experienced team will ensure your plate load testing requirements are clearly understood, efficiently conducted, and carefully reported. This will provide you with accurate and reliable data to drive your project’s success.

About Plate Bearing Testing

Plate bearing tests are usually required before a certain area or material is subjected to a temporary load. This could include crane bases, piling pads, stanchion bases, and many other foundations. These tests may also be necessary for semi-permanent structures such as mezzanine floors and working platforms.

Understanding the properties of a material means that load weight and distribution parameters can be established before planned construction commences. With this information, you can ensure that structures and loads will remain within the capacity of the foundation, minimising the risk of instability or collapse.

How Does a Plate Bearing Test Work?

When carrying out a plate load test to measure the strength and bearing capacity of a material, a thick metal plate is placed on or within the ground using a hydraulic jack and loaded with weight. The load is applied in increments and the material is closely examined. Any movement or deformation at each stage will be recorded.

The plate bearing test will continue in this way until there is no longer any discernible movement. The recorded data can then be compiled and used to produce a graphic establishing the necessary material characteristics. This test is conducted in compliance with the British Standard (BS) 1377 9:1990 and IAN73/06 standards.

To ensure that the foundation is appropriate for the project, standards require that the pressure applied during the test is equivalent to three times the working pressure of the planned structure. During testing, the weight of the excavator will depend on the design load required and the size of the bearing plate in use.

Why Plate Bearing Testing?

Conducting a plate bearing test shows you the bearing capacity of a ground, foundation, or material. These tests are mainly used to determine CBR Value in granular materials that are not suitable for in-situ CBR tests, as well as to assist in crane and piling mat design.

There are many advantages of plate load testing, including:

  • Short operation time – efficient testing method providing immediate results and allowing on-site decisions to be made straight away
  • Cost-effective – simple, one-person operation
  • Accurate and repeatable – results directly reflect in-situ site conditions
  • Visually presented results – a graphical representation of the data can be analysed electronically on the spot
  • Safe operations – no need for an operator to be near the counterweight

Most importantly, measuring the performance capacity of a foundation allows you to minimise construction risk, confirm design assumptions, and establish weight load and distribution parameters for temporary structures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a plate bearing test measure?

The plate bearing test measures the movement and settlement of a material under the pressure of incremental loads to determine whether the ground has sufficient bearing capacity to support a given temporary or semi-permanent structure.

Is a CBR test the same as a plate bearing test?

Both tests are types of load-bearing tests, examining materials at or just underneath the surface. The California Bearing Test (CBT) tests small surface areas and relies on a plunging, penetrative motion of machinery into the ground for the designing of pavements/roads, or concrete slab foundations. The plate bearing test, on the other hand, revolves around the application of incremental loads to determine if the ground can support a temporary structure such as crane outriggers or piling rigs.

How do you carry out a plate load test?

One of our trained technicians will arrive on-site to test the area. The test will take approximately 30 minutes depending on the ground conditions and type of information required. You will be provided with a visual representation of the results immediately while we are on site.

How to calculate CBR from a plate bearing test?

The result of the plate load test provides an equivalent CBR value, which can be calculated by our specialist technicians. They will need to divide the load applied to the plate by the area of the plate and multiply this result by the thickness of the material sample. This result can be supplied on the same day that the test is conducted.

ACS Services

Please see below for a list of the services provided by ACS:

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Geo-Environmental Consultancy

The ACS Geo-Environmental Consultancy Department has been operating as part of ACS for over 10 years.

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On-Site Testing Services

ACS offers a comprehensive range of professional on-site testing, all carried out by our fully trained site technicians.

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Aggregates and Soils Testing

From our main laboratory in Poole, Dorset, ACS provide quality testing and material consultancy for the construction and civil engineering industry.

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Bituminous Testing

ACS carries out testing on new bituminous binder material and testing on hardened material for physical and chemical properties. Circa pre 1980’s Tar (Carcinogenic effects) was also used as a binder, ACS staff can sample and test materials to assess if Tar was used.

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Concrete Testing

Concrete was the first service to be offered by ACS back in 1987. Since then, we have increased our scope to cover a wide range of UKAS Accredited testing methods on fresh and hardened concrete.

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Mortar and Screed Testing

ACS can sample and test new and hardened mortar. Hardened mortar for mix proportions and constituents, new mortar for compressive and flexural strength.

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Contamination and WAC Testing

At ACS we offer an efficient and reliable chemical analysis service for waste soils and construction materials using various test solids and leaching procedures specified by the Environment Agency.

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Chemical Testing

The ACS chemical laboratory was established in 2007. It complements the physical materials testing service provided by ACS by offering a range of chemical analytical services.

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Leachate and Water Analysis

Our purpose-built analytical laboratory enables ACS to provide a comprehensive sampling, monitoring and analysis service on a wide range of leachate and water samples.

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Natural Stone Testing

Our newly refurbished stone testing laboratory has given us the opportunity to expand our testing scope. In addition, we have increased production and improved on our turnaround of samples.

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Site Laboratory Services

Over the last 35 years, ACS have supplied custom fitted site laboratories with technicians to many construction sites and projects worldwide.

Persistent Organic Pollutants

Our experienced lab technicians can provide detailed and accurate analysis of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in almost any sample matrix in line with the Stockholm Convention.

Energy From Waste

Experts in Energy from Waste residues, ACS offers a full range of services, including gasification, pyrolysis, syngas and tar sampling, and analysis and interpretation of analytical results for IBA and APCr.

RoHS Compliance Testing

At ACS, we undertake rigorous RoHS compliance testing to identify and quantify any contaminants in your shredded waste, ensuring your product meets strict RoHS requirements.

Energy Supply, Generation & Regulation

Our highly skilled team provide industry-leading waste fuel testing services for RDF, SRF, MSW, and Solid Biomass, helping you save costs and meet compliance standards for total peace of mind.

We undertake a comprehensive range of professional on-site testing services, conducted by our fully trained site technicians.

For more information about our geotechnical services, please contact us about your specific needs.