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. 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. It is considered as a proven system in new constructions and repairs or renovation works. 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.
Unlike deep foundations that require more specialized equipment, in the helical piers, the equipment used are usually smaller, lighter and less specialized. Hence, the cost of mobilization or the move in and move out is usually lesser as against 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. Note that it is not wise to create additional structure on an existing structure.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.