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Brief Description of a Helical Pier and its Uses

Deep foundation of underpinning elements that are constructed using steel shafts with helical flights are known as helical piers. 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.

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. 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. Hence, the cost of mobilization or the move in and move out is usually lesser as against the 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. Remember that it is not advisable to work on additional structure on neighboring properties with already existing structures.

It is advisable for the contractor to be monitoring the torque it is required when installing each helical pier. The capacity of each pier is directly related to the torque rating, therefore the contractor will know at the end of each installation the load or capacity that a pier can support.

Note that helical piers can be immediately loaded after installation, meaning there is no curing time after 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.

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.

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