The Essentials of Foundations – Getting to Point A

Brief Description of a Helical Pier and its Uses

Known as helical piers are deep foundation underpinning elements that are constructed with the use of steel shafts with helical flights. By twisting the shafts into the soil with advanced bearing depth, the torque is also monitored to reach a pile capacity.

Helical pier technology is said to be well over 100 years old. It is considered as a proven system in new constructions and repairs or renovation works. For foundation repairs where soil condition would need installation to be deep piles, this system is proven to be very effective solution. Helical piers as compared to other systems will prove to be more advantageous especially if the work involves existing buildings.

Unlike deep foundations that require more specialized equipment, in the helical piers, the equipment used are usually smaller, lighter and less specialized. With these conditions, the cost of mobilization or the move in and move out, is generally lower compared to the other systems. Tight and confined areas are then more accessible to contractors when installing helical piles because of the specifications, while the larger equipment simply cannot fit.

Another advantage of helical piers is that its installation is vibration free, and this is because they are turned in with a torque motor, a procedure similar to a wood screw being turned into a piece of wood. Be aware that it is not wise to add structures on an existing structures close by.

The torque of each helical pier should be continuously monitored by the contractor during installation of the helicals. Because the capacity of each pier is directly related to the torque rating, the contractor will know the load or capacity that each pier can support.

Note that helical piers can be immediately loaded after installation, meaning there is no curing time after installation. Because helical piers are screwed in or turned, minimal excavation is sufficient. Costs of removal and disposal are saved when installing the piers because there are not spoils to be hauled or removed from the area of construction.

Noise pollution is drastically lowered when helical piers are installed because of the use of smaller installation equipment that do not require violent hammering or banging.

There is another very important advantage of using helical piers and that is they are great solution to projects with existing foundation that failed, on top of being used for new construction projects. Contractors also use the helical piers under the existing foundation, rather than remove and disposal it in a landfill, and when this is done, there is a deep foundation system that is created contributing to the green environment.

Since there are differences in any project, it is advisable to contact structural engineers to see what is the right method for your project.

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