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What are the Uses of Helical Piers?

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. This system is proven to be a very effective solution for foundation repairs especially when the soil condition would need installation of piles to be deep. The helical system is proved to be advantageous over other systems 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. 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.

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. Remember that it is not advisable to work on additional structure on neighboring properties with already existing structures.

The torque should be regularly monitored when contractors are installing helicals in each 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.

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.

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.

Those existing foundations that are failing, can be solved using helical piers, and this is another very important advantage of helical piers, aside from being used in new constructions. Instead of removing the present foundation that failed and dispose it in a landfill, the helical piers are used over the present foundation, thereby creating a deep foundation system plus contributes to a 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.