- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 17 Sep 2020
The term 'bearing capacity' refers to the capacity of soil to support applied loads that are acting on it. In the construction industry, this typically relates to the capacity of soil to support building foundations, in which case, the bearing capacity can be calculated from the maximum average contact pressure between the foundation and the soil that would not produce shear failure.
Three modes of failure limit bearing capacity:
The net ultimate bearing capacity (qnu) does not take into consideration the over-burden pressure and can be calculated as:
qnu = qu - Ydf
qns = qnu / F
Karl von Terzaghi developed a theory for evaluating the ultimate bearing capacity of shallow foundations. His theory states that a shallow foundation is one where the depth is less than or equal to its width.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building foundations.
- Dead loads.
- Floor loading.
- Ground conditions.
- Ground improvement techniques.
- Ground investigation.
- Insitu testing of soils.
- Live loads.
- Lateral loads.
- Loadbearing capacity.
- Load-bearing wall.
- Moorfields building sets UK pile-loading record.
- Pile foundations.
- Pile integrity test.
- Settlement of buildings.
- Shear force.
- Structural engineer.
- Structural principles.
- Testing pile foundations.
- Types of soil.
- Types of structural load.
- Uniformly Distributed Load.
- Uplift forces.
Featured articles and news
An overview of the current state of the market.
Organisation offers best practices for construction and modification.
Heritage on the edge?
Prioritising tax considerations.
The four D creative process: discover, define, develop and deliver.
National Cyber Security Centre initiative is announced.
Reviewing trends and projections.
Legislation will establish initiatives to move towards net zero.
How to document contractor employment status.
Tech tools to help manage people and space post-pandemic.
A style that ranges from mock Tudor to arts and crafts to the 'Wrenaissance'.
Free guide from Secured by Design.
BREEAM strategy for sustainability and the circular economy.
Free tool to improve the construction programming process.