What is a Helical Pile?
Helical piles are a manufactured steel foundation anchor. This anchor is then driven into the ground at the specified depth. This is done using hydraulic machinery, which comes in various sizes dependent on the jobs needs. Helical piers are used for a variety of applications such as residential foundation repair, decks and patios, oil and gas, industrial, amusement parks, government projects, wind and solar energy, and new and existing commercial foundation projects. The helical pile is suited for almost any foundation project out there.
How much does a Helical Pier Cost?
The overall cost of a helical project will vary. This is depending on what type of project it is, what the diameter of the helical is, what the engineers have specified for the project, how many helices are on the pile, how the soil looks and what it consists of, and what the weight of the structure they are trying to hold is. Since there is a large variety of helical piles and infinite variables to consider, a standard 2-7/8″ helical pile can average at about $30/ft. Standard helicals come in a 5ft or 7ft length, and the extensions to be added on to reach the desired depth typically come in a 5ft or 7ft length as well.
How do to know When to Use Helical Piers?
Round Shaft helical piles are often used in compression projects. Compression is caused by the type of soil you are installing in, and determining what the foundation is to be used for. Helical piles can be used for several types of projects like the foundation for a new skyscraper would require a large diameter round shaft helical pier. A residential repair for a foundation that has settled or is sinking would typically require a standard 2-7/8″ round shaft helical pile. A new deck installation, this type of project would also require a standard 2-7/8″ round shaft helical pile. However, when trying to tackle a job like tie-backs, helical piers can still be used in tension applications. Square shaft helicals are ideal for most tension applications.
How to Install a Helical Pile:
1. Installation begins by attaching the helical pile lead section to the torque motor (drive head)
using a drive tool and drive pin.
2. Next, crowd must be applied to force the pilot point into the ground at the proper location,
inclination and orientation, as described in the placement plan.
3. Then the pile must be rotated into the ground in a smooth, clockwise, continuous manner while
maintaining sufficient crowd to promote normal advancement (approximately 3 inches per
4. Installation continues by adding extension sections, as necessary.
Refer to the approved construction documents for type, grade, size and number of bolts and nuts that
are required to connect the shaft sections.
5. Inclination and alignment shall be checked and adjusted periodically during installation.
6. Connection bolts between shaft sections shall be snug-tightened as defined in Section J3 of AISC
Care shall be taken not to exceed the maximum installation torque rating, as shown on the drawings, of
the helical piles during installation.
7. Helical piles must be advanced until axial capacity is verified by achieving the required final
installation torque as indicated by the torque correlation method, and the minimum depth, if
any, as specified by the construction documents.
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