Helical Pile Applications

Helical Pile Applications

When Do You Need Helical Piles?

Helical piles offer solutions across a spectrum of potential applications, which we've detailed below. In most cases, helical piles provide support for structures where additional support is needed, either to solve a current foundation issue or to avoid a future problem.

Commercial foundation lifting

Metal Buildings, Greenhouses, and Lightly-Loaded Structures

Metal buildings and other lightly-loaded structures are increasingly adopting helical piles as a means to secure the foundation. The traditional approach of installing footings with ever-increasing sizes is being replaced with more cost-effective helical and micropile technologies. Helical piles provide excellent alternatives to traditional footings with their tensile resistance in these applications since they can resist the overturning forces caused by wind loads.

As a general rule of thumb, helical piles are most cost-effective when the isolated footing size is six square feet or larger.

Mezzanine Column Foundations

As most mezzanines are constructed inside existing buildings, many with ongoing operations, installing helical piles for additional foundation support has proven a cost-effective and popular option. Helical piles can install quickly and with comparatively small equipment, reducing downtime and potential frustrations across the board.

Pre-Construction Deep Foundation Systems

Helical piles for pre-construction deep foundation support

During new construction, soil engineers might determine that soils in the desired building area will be unable to bear the weight of the completed structure. Oftentimes, the solutions to this issue involve either replacing the incumbent soil or strengthening it via grout injection. The situation occasionally requires the use of both techniques, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Arizona Foundation Solutions will remedy this common issue by installing a selection of helical piers before construction - a more cost-efficient alternative to adding such systems after construction has concluded. Often this strategy can be employed as insurance against future settlement in situations involving poor soils, backfill, or nearby anticipated excavation.

Shear Wall Reinforcement

Solid walls can often be cut and repurposed for unforeseen projects. If, say, a solid wall was cut to install glass for a new storefront or office, the structural integrity of the wall would clearly be impacted. With the use of helical or micro piles installed at either side of the new opening, the structure can be reinforced to counteract the shear forces that resulted from the reshaping.

Additions and Modifications

Building additions or modifications are often constructed over soils outside of the initially planned construction area. In these situations, it's wise to secure the new construction zone with deep foundation elements. Helical piles can remove the risk of settlement for additions and structural modifications.

Additionally, helical piles can serve as an economical alternative to large-scale excavation in a restricted area where large equipment cannot easily maneuver, as is frequently the case in the commercial sector.

Support for Existing Footings

In many adaptive re-usage and urban infill operations, footings for new construction will be close to those of existing structures. Digging too close to existing footings could cause undermining while installing new footings atop existing ones will overburden the original construction. Installing helical piles in case-specific locations will allow for proper support of both new and existing footings, ensuring that the integrity of both structures is maintained.

Excavation Shoring

In new construction, especially in high-density developments, excavation sites need to be shored or the soil stabilized to protect nearby buildings and/or adjacent infrastructure. Arizona Foundation Solutions offers a variety of systems and expertise to meet the demands of any situation, including the use of helical piles to avoid or remedy accidental undermining. We also utilize soil nails, grouting, and even carbon fiber reinforcement techniques to ensure the safety of both new construction and existing structures.

Caissons in Sandy Soils

If drilled shafts are located in non-cohesive soils and require casing, utilizing helical piles or hollow-bar micropiles is the most economical solution. Usually, this situation occurs near river beds or washes. Because end-loading helical piles have smooth, small shafts, the upward thrust from expansive soils on the shaft is minimal. Downward drag from collapsible soils also makes little impact on the effectiveness of helical piles.

Tight Access Installation

Helical pier installation

When the situation calls for access to cramped areas, helical piles - specifically micropiles - are the solution. The adaptive machinery used to install micropiles operates in low-overhead scenarios, and the systems themselves can provide support where other systems cannot. Micro piles do not rely on end-bearing capacity and offer design loads as small as three tons and as large as 500 tons.

Elevators - Temporary & Retrofit

Installation of elevators in existing buildings usually requires excavation of the hydraulic pit below the existing building footings. Construction elevators and other temporary elevators often need more support than the soil can provide, which positions helical piles as an excellent alternative to other soil shoring techniques.

Second-Floor Addition Support

Helical piles excel in the tight-access environments typically associated with second-floor addition support activities. When existing buildings need support for major load increases above the first floor, helical piles are the economical and convenient solution.

Canopies and Solar Construction

Arizona Foundation Solutions gained a great deal of experience and expertise while participating in the construction of Solana, the largest solar project in the United States. Tension Fabric Canopies tend to exert lateral loads and moment loads on footings, which helical piles provide a great deal of shoring against. 

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Get in touch with the experts at Arizona Foundation Solutions when you're ready to begin your commercial project. With our team of in-house engineers and expert installation teams with decades of combined experience, you know you're working with the best in the business. Contact us today!

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