What Is a Beam and Plate System?

Beam and plate shoring systems a type of pit shoring system that can remain in the ground for an extended period of time. These systems have excavation applications and are typically used as an alternative to side rail and tight sheeting. Beam and plate shoring systems offer large free-span work areas and are usually cheaper than other, similar systems.

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Shoring System Overview

Shoring systems, including beam and plate shoring systems, are used during excavations in order to reinforce trench walls and prevent cave-ins. They provide enhanced safety for both personnel and those in nearby structures, and can be used for a wide range of applications, including tank installations, near restricted areas, railroads, areas with poor soil conditions, bore pits, pump stations, linear pipeline runs, and more.

Beam and Plate System Components: Steel Plates, H-Pile and Wide Flange Beams

Beam and plate shoring systems have excavation applications that utilize steel plates and beams such as H-pile and wide flange beams. These systems are engineered as an alternative for other shoring systems, and they are often used to install tanks, linear shoring walls, and more.

Steel Plates

Steel plates (also known as shoring plates) are large, flat plates most commonly used to cover potholes, excavations, trenches, damaged pedestrian walkways, roads that are under construction, and along trench boxes during excavation for utility construction and repair. The purpose of a road plate is to provide a temporary surface for traffic to pass over while construction is underway. Beam and plate shoring systems can utilize steel plates as part of their composition.

Shoring plates are made of steel that is commonly at least one inch thick. They sometimes feature engineered lifting devices (such as lifting rings) for easy installation. Though shoring plates are often 1-inch to 1.5-inches thick, their thickness can vary depending on the project.


H-piles are a type of steel piling. They’re as wide as they are deep and have the same thickness in the flange and web. H-piles can support large and heavy structures, such as tall buildings and factories. Although they can be designed for skin friction, the H-pile shape is most effective at transferring loads through the pile to the end. Beam and plate shoring systems can utilize steel H-pile as part of their composition.

Steel beams: wide flange, h-oile, and more

Wide Flange Beams

Wide flange beams are a type of support material that include a central web connecting two parallel end units, known as “flanges.” While the flanges in an h-pile beam are relatively narrow and symmetrical in shape, those in a wide flange are much broader, sometimes even equal in length to the height of the web. Wide flange beams have high loadbearing capacity while also being light in weight, which is what makes them a popular choice in construction and foundation projects. Beam and plate shoring systems can utilize steel wide flange beams as part of their composition.


Beam and Plate Considerations

Before installing a beam and plate shoring system, it is important to consider the depth of the soil, the depth of the water table, whether there are other nearby structures, and soil conditions. Depending on these factors, an engineer should look at a project and design a shoring system that will fit its needs.

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Eiffel Trading’s online marketplace is the best source of used and surplus heavy civil materials. Our steel inventory includes used steel plates, used wide flange beams, used h-pile beams, used sheet pile, and much more. In addition, we offer other material types ranging from used hdpe pipe, to used crane mats, to used concrete barrier wall, and more.

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