Shafts – Getting Started & Next Steps

The Advantages of Helical Piers

Helical piers are described as deep foundation underpinning elements, with the use of steel shafts together with helical flights. In performing the construction, shafts are moved to a bearing depth by twisting them into the soil, and at the same time the torque is monitored to the pile capacity.

The technology of helical pier is over 100 years old. For construction and repair or renovation works, this system is considered to be a proven system. For foundation repairs where soil condition would need installation to be deep piles, this system is proven to be very effective solution. Especially if the work requires on existing buildings, helical piers would have competitive advantages over other systems.

Equipments that are used in helical piers foundation are usually smaller, lighter and less specialized compared to the equipment used in deep foundations. In this case, the cost of moving in and moving out or mobilization is usually lesser than 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. The contractor usually would know at the end of the installation the load or capacity of each pier since the capacity of each pier is directly related to the torque rating.

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. Since there are no spoils that are to be hauled away from the site, you save on the costs of removal and disposal.

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.

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.