The Advantages of Helical Piers
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. Considered to be proven for new constructions and repairs or renovation works, this system is well used. 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. 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.
Another advantage of helical piers is that its installation is vibration free, and this is because they are turned in with a torque motor, a procedure similar to a wood screw being turned into a piece of wood. Be aware that it is not wise to add structures on an existing structures close by.
The torque of each helical pier should be continuously monitored by the contractor during installation of the helicals. 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.
After installation, there is no curing time in the case of helical piers installation. Also, there is minimal excavation required for helical piers that are turned on or screwed in. 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.
Aside from being used in new construction projects, another very important advantage of using helical piers is that they can be great alternative for projects with failed existing foundations. 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.