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. According to manuals, the shafts are made to bearing depth by twisting the shafts into the soil while the torque is monitored to an estimated 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. Especially if the work requires on existing buildings, helical piers would have competitive advantages over other systems.
Helical piers foundations need equipment that are just smaller, lighter and less specialized unlike the equipment used in other kinds of 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. Be aware that it is not wise to add structures on an existing structures close by.
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. Also, there is minimal excavation required for helical piers that are turned on or screwed in. 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.
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. 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.
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