Bearing capacity is defined by the American Society of Civil Engineers as, “That load which can be sustained by a pile foundation without producing objectionable settlement or material movement – initial or progressive – resulting in damage to the structure or interfering with its use.”
In simpler terms, how much weight can the pile permanently hold without moving or settling.
There is no clear-cut answer to how much a single pier can hold. It is determined by a litany of factors that must be calculated to determine how many piers will be needed to support your home or building properly.
Here are the ten factors that determine the bearing capacity of a helical pier.
1. Soil type and properties
2. Groundwater and/or surface conditions
3. Pile configuration (pipe size, number of helices, material thickness)
4. Pile material used
5. Dimension of pile (cross-section, length)
6. Depth of installed pile
7. Pile positioning (vertical, horizontal or battered)
8. Distance between piles
9. Installation torque
10. Type of loading (alternating, step-loading, static and others)