News For This Month: Construction

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.

The technology of helical pier is over 100 years old. Considered to be proven for new constructions and repairs or renovation works, this system is well used. Where the soil condition requires deep piles for installing foundation repair, this system is said to be a very effective solution. Helical piers as compared to other systems will prove to be more advantageous especially if the work involves existing buildings.

Equipments that are used in helical piers foundation are usually smaller, lighter and less specialized compared to the equipment used in deep foundations. Hence, the cost of mobilization or the move in and move out is usually lesser as against 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.

Helical piers are turned in with a torque motor like a wood screw being turned into a piece of wood, and this makes helical piles vibration free when installed that gives it an advantage. Note that it is not wise to create additional structure on an existing structure.

It is advisable for the contractor to be monitoring the torque it is required when installing each helical pier. 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.

Helical piers installation does not require curing after installation and they can immediately be loaded. Because helical piers are screwed in or turned, minimal excavation is sufficient. Another advantage of helical piers is that you save on costs of removal and disposal because there are not spoils to be removed from the site.

Note that with the use of smaller installation equipment like the helical piers, there is a drastic elimination of noise, like no 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.

Several factors would affect your project, and so it is wise to ask the help of structural engineer to see which method would be best for your project.

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