What are the Uses of Helical Piers?
Deep foundation of underpinning elements that are constructed using steel shafts with helical flights are known as helical piers. 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.
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. 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. With these conditions, the cost of mobilization or the move in and move out, is generally lower compared to the other systems. Because of these features, the contractors can access to tight and confined areas to install helical piles versus the larger equipment which does not 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. Note that it is not wise to create additional structure on an existing structure.
The torque should be regularly monitored when contractors are installing helicals in each 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.
After installation, there is no curing time in the case of helical piers installation. Minimal excavation will suffice in a helical pile because it is turned or screwed in. 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.
There is not violent hammering or banging to install helical piers and this is a big advantage with regards to the reduction of noise.
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.
A word of advice, it is better to check structural engineer or repair foundation service to see which job is the right one for your project, especially each project could be different with various factors that will have an effect on the construction.