Brief Description of a Helical Pier and its Uses
Helical piers are described as deep foundation underpinning elements, with the use of steel shafts together with helical flights. 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.
The technology of helical pier is 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.
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 also advantageous in the sense that they are installed vibration free because they are turned in with a torques motor similar to a wood screw that is turned into a piece of wood. 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. 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.
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. Since there are no spoils that are to be hauled away from the site, you save on the costs of removal and disposal.
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.
Several factors would affect your project, and so it is wise to ask the help of structural engineer to see which method would be best for your project.
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