bearing capacity of soil

Bearing Capacity of Soil & Suitability of Foundation

What is Bearing Capacity of Soil (SBC of Soil):

Bearing Capacity of soil is the “The maximum load-carrying capacity of soil per unit area which the soil or rock can carry without yielding or displacement is termed as the bearing capacity of soils”

  • It is a very known fact that all structures whether they are buildings, dams, bridges, etc. are built on soils. The Foundation of each structure must require the transfer of its load on large areas of soil.
  • So, that the foundation of every structure should be so designed that the soil below does not fail in shear nor there is the excessive settlement of the structure.
  • Our method of foundation design is based on the concept of bearing capacity.
  • The Soil tends to deform when stressed due to loading. The soil deformation depends upon factors like water content, bulk density, angle of internal friction, and the manner in which load is applied on the soil.
  • The Soil properties like density shear strength permeability etc., affect the bearing capacity of the soil. Normally, Dense sand will have more bearing capacity than loose sand as the unit weight of dense sand is more than loose sand.
  • If the bearing capacity of soil is sufficient to take a load of the structure at shallow depth, then a shallow foundation is provided and the option for shallow are combined footing, Isolated footing, or strip footing.
  • In case when soil immediately below the structure does not have adequate bearing capacity deep foundations are provided.
  • Pile, piers, or well are the options for deep foundations. For the type of soil which is liable to differential settlement or where there is a wide variation in loading between adjacent columns Mat or Raft foundation is most suitable.

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Bearing Capacity of Different Types of Soil (SBC of Soil):

Following are different soil types and their safe bearing capacity of soil,

A) Soil Type: Rock

Rocky Soil Bearing Capacity of Soil
Rocky Soil

Bearing Capacity of Soil – Rock:

No. Type of Rock/Soil Safe Bearing
Depth of
Foundation (m)
Type of
1. Rock without lamination and defects
granite & diorite
3240 0.6 Spread
2. Laminated rock, as sand stone or
lime stone in sound condition
1620 0.75 Spread
3. Residual deposits of shattered and
broken bed rock and shale
880 0.90 Spread
4. Soft rock 440 1.20 Spread Footing

B) Type of Soil: Non – Cohesive Soils

Non-Cohesive Soil Bearing Capacity of Soil
Non-Cohesive Soil

Bearing Capacity of Soil – Non – Cohesive Soils:

No. Type of Rock/Soil Safe Bearing Capacity
Depth of Foundation (m)
Type of Foundation
1. Gravel, Sand and gravel compact and
offering high resistance to penetration when excavated tools
440 1.2 Spread
2. i) Coarse compact and dry sand
ii) Medium compact and dry sand
3. Fine Sand, Silt 150 1.2 Spread Footing & Combine
4. Loose gravel or sand gravel mixture,
loose coarse to medium sand dry
245 1.5 Spread Footing & Combine
5. Fine Sand 100 1.8 Spread Footing & Combine Footing

C) Type of Soil: Cohesive Soils

Cohesive Soils - Bearing Capacity of Soil
Cohesive Soil

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Bearing Capacity of Soil – Cohesive Soils:

No. Type of Rock/Soil Safe
Minimum Depth of
Foundation (m)
Type of
1. Soft shale, hard or stiff clay in deep dry bed 440 1.5 Spread Footing & Combine Footing, strip footing
2. Medium clay, readily indented with a thumb nail 245   1.8 Combined or Mat Footing
3. Moist clay and sand clay mixture which can be indented with slight thumb pressure 150 1.8 to 3m depth various depending on moisture movement zone Combined or Mat Footing
4. Soft clay indented with moderate thumb pressure 100 3 Deep (Pile)
5. Very soft clay which can be penetrated several centimeters with thumb 50 5 Pile Foundation
Bearing Capacity Of Soil & Suitability Of Different Foundation

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