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. For construction and repair or renovation works, this system is considered to be a proven system. 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.
Helical piers foundations need equipment that are just smaller, lighter and less specialized unlike the equipment used in other kinds of deep foundations. With these conditions, the cost of mobilization or the move in and move out, is generally lower compared to the other systems. These conditions allow contractors then to go in tight or confined areas in helical piles installation as compared to the larger equipment which cannot fit into the area.
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.
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. Also, there is minimal excavation required for helical piers that are turned on 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.
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.
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.