- 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
- F = factor of safety.
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
The seismic strengthening of historic churches.
Results show guarded optimism and payment concerns.
Noteworthy navigable aqueducts.
Technology is making remote work a reality.
Carefully placed structures add drama to pastoral vistas.
Report provides actions required by 2030 to achieve a zero carbon economy.
What type of cool roof is most suitable?
Active Travel programme prioritises cyclists and pedestrians.
CIAT issues caution for use of new standard.
Industry leaders discuss climate change, the economy and other influences.
The building manager is key to operations.
The impact Scotland’s dynamic coast has on the historic environment.