Fast, measured certainty when it's needed.

To find out more, call Simtec on 0116 319 6100 or email

Expert Assurance

Simtec - Plate Bearing Test Services

Simtec Materials Testing was established in 2007 with a workforce that already had many years of experience in the construction and civil engineering industry. A committed and pioneering approach to standards and compliance has allowed Simtec to build a strong reputation in the materials testing industry.

Simtec Materials Testing offer CBR testing and plate bearing tests, or plate load tests as they are also known, for clients who require load bearing information on sub base materials when undertaking road pavement design.

CBR tests are carried out on fine materials, whereas plate bearing tests are done when the underlying materials are coarse. The result of the plate load test gives an equivalent CBR value.

CBR and plate bearing tests can also be used to assist in designing temporary foundations for construction compounds, piling mats or crane location on a particular site.

Simtec's reliable, professional service and exemplary safety record comes competitively priced with no minimum charge. Call today to find out more or for some friendly advice and guidance.

What Is a Plate Bearing Test?

Most contracts for highway works and earthworks include a requirement for a plate test at various stages of construction. This is essential to ensure adequate support for subsequent works and additional layers of material.

The test, properly called the “Plate Bearing Test”, is carried out using a thick metal plate which is pushed into the ground under test using a hydraulic jack. Both the increasing applied load and the subsequent settlement created are closely monitored and used to produce a graph. From this graph the CBR value (California Bearing Ratio) can be calculated, and other material characteristics established. The required CBR value is generally quoted in the contract documents and works cannot normally be continued until it is demonstrated that this target value has been met.

Simtec are well equipped and able to provide this service quickly and efficiently. Each test takes 15 to 20 minutes and requires kentledge in the form of a plant vehicle to jack against.

Types of Testing

UKAS Accredited BS and BS EN Standard Testing

UKAS accreditation is assessed on individual tests, and Simtec endeavour to gain accreditation for most site and laboratory tests as and when there is a demand in the marketplace. We currently hold accreditation for around 60 individual test methods, and it is constantly increasing. Our schedule was recently transitioned to ISO/IEC 17025:2017.

Simtec provides a high-quality service from well equipped, UKAS accredited laboratories in Leicestershire.

Our laboratory testing is constantly monitored internally and regularly audited to provide the level of service expected by our clients. Our comprehensive range of tests is UKAS accredited to guarantee the quality and validity of results and subsequent test reports.

Services Simtec Offer

Simtec offer services in all the following disciplines and more:

  • Highways and construction
  • Environmental and waste management
  • Water, drainage and utility works

We undertake testing of earthworks, concrete, unbound and hydraulically bound aggregates, bituminous mixtures and recycled aggregates. Additionally, we can provide a range of in-situ testing on both placed and naturally occurring materials, including diamond coring*, surface regularity, skid resistance, plate bearing, incremental loading tests, geotechnical investigation, drainage testing and dust monitoring.

*Our UKAS accreditation is limited to those activities described on our UKAS schedule of accreditation found here. Diamond Coring* is outside of our UKAS accredited scope of works

Fast, measured certainty when it's needed.

To find out more, call us Simtec on 0116 319 6100 or email

Frequently Asked Questions

Do weather conditions affect testing?

Weather does not adversely affect testing, however rain over a prolonged period will distort CBR values. Avoid testing when the surface is frozen or affected by frost and snow or is saturated.

How do I make a payment?

Payment can be made either by cheque made out to "Simtec Materials Testing Ltd" or by BACS transfer. Our office will pass on the relevant bank details to make the transfer.

How long does it take to do a CBR test?

Testing at each location typically lasts 30 mins. Individual test duration will vary according to the ground conditions.

What is the turnaround time for test reports for site testing?

If no laboratory samples are taken from site we aim to get your reports to you within 48 hours but preliminary results can usually be given after the test is complete to give you an idea of compliance.

What notice do I need to give for a technician to attend site?

Usually a week to guarantee a slot although on occasion we can work around the client to fit in urgent jobs or last minute requests.

Who can I contact for Technical advice?

If you require advice about any aspect of our operation please call our contact number. our staff will be happy to connect you with someone appropriate to answer your question. Further advice is available regarding laboratory and site testing as well as test results and their implication.

How to calculate CBR from plate bearing test?

The result of the plate load test gives an equivalent CBR value. To calculate the CBR (California Bearing Ratio) from a Plate Bearing Test, our Specialist Engineers need to determine the load applied to the plate, the area of the plate, and the thickness.

This can be calculated as follows:

  • Determine the load applied to the plate
  • Determine the area of the plate
  • Determine the thickness of the soil sample
  • Calculate the CBR by dividing the load applied to the place by the area of the plate – multiplied by the thickness of the soil sample

An indication of test results can be supplied the same day. Following this, test reports will be supplied in electronic format within a specified timescale.

The Simtec approach

Fast, accurate assurance when you need it.

The grease-in-the-wheels of the construction industry, ensuring work progresses at pace with unnecessary costs avoided. Since 2007 Simtec have established themselves as the trusted name in construction materials testing, building a professional, practical and methodical business culture from the top down.

A simple approach

Simtec believe that shared knowledge is the foundation on which everyone progresses. Having documented and routinely shared best practices with partners and clients to minimise everyone’s exposure to risk.

Every contract that is undertaken is measured against the Simtec Optimum Compliance Benchmark data consisting of best practice criteria, designed to help clients achieve consistently high compliance approval and avoid cost of delay or remedial work.

The integrity, rigour and safeguarding Simtec provide has established Simtec as a trusted testing partner to firms across the UK’s construction sector.