pre-construction helical piers

Build Practically Anywhere with Pre-Construction Helical Piers

In Commercial Blog Posts, Deep Foundations, Helical Piers by John Topa

Previously, helical pier (aka helical pile) construction was an extremely burdensome endeavor, however, technological advancements in this industry have changed all that. Today, with helical piers, you can begin new construction projects almost anywhere.

Use Helical Piers to Protect Your Building’s Foundation

Whether you are preparing to construct retail complexes, industrial buildings, schools, commercial buildings, residential properties, or bridges, you should consider having helical piers installed during the pre-construction phase of your project. Helical piers are the deep foundation solution for builders in coastal areas, including Florida.

Buildings that can benefit from these piers include:
  • Houses
  • Townhomes
  • Commercial buildings
  • Multi-story buildings

Deep Foundation Practices for New Coastal Constructions

Since the number of extreme weather events affecting Florida seems to be on the rise, a new focus is being placed on the importance of adhering to the guidelines set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These guidelines, Coastal Foundations and Best Practices/Local Officials Guide for Coastal Construction, are readily available on FEMA’s website. Builders throughout Florida are recognizing the benefits of working with a qualified geotechnical engineering company during the pre-construction phase of their new building projects.

Helicon is a leading licensed ground improvement contractor in Florida. Builders throughout Naples, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, and Sarasota frequently choose Helicon to install the helical piers for their new construction projects.

Why You Should Invest in Pre-Construction Helical Piers

pre-construction helical piles

Helical pier installation is preferrable during the pre-construction phase. Installing helical piles during the pre-construction phase allows for the safe and efficient distribution of slab loads to a more stable soil, regardless of how deep or shallow the stable soil is.

During the installation process, the piers are drilled underground. As the pier moves through the soil, the layers of loose soil are disregarded. The pier continues moving downward until a more solid layer of soil is encountered. Anchoring within these deeper layers offers the building’s entire foundation more stability.

By installing pre-construction piers, the likelihood of a severe foundation problem in the future is eliminated. Furthermore, due to the benefits these piers offer, foundation experts are recommending that builders include these piers in a large percentage of their new construction projects.

Traditional Foundations

When soil conditions are favorable, a traditional foundation (e.g., grade beam supports or drilled, cast-in-place concrete piers) can be effective, however, these more traditional technologies seem to use a one-size-fits-all method.

These one-size-fits-all methods can lead to an over-designed plan. Following an over-designed plan can result in unnecessary additional costs. Today, many of Florida’s builders are choosing to bypass traditional options and invest in helical piles instead.

Benefits of Helical Piers for New Construction in Florida

Helical piers provide a reliable and precise deep foundation anchor for houses, townhomes, commercial buildings, and multi-story buildings. These piers are designed to ensure building stability in soil conditions of all kinds.

With helical piles, builders can feel confident about starting a new project with a solid foundation virtually anywhere. Moreover, these piers are inexpensive compared to auger cast piles or concrete driven piles.

Since every helical pier plan Helicon creates is custom-designed, local site requirements can be incorporated into your customized geotechnical engineering plan.

Advantages of Helical Piers for New Construction in Florida:

Highly durable – designed to last for the life of the building (anti-corrosion measures are available).

Cost-effective – for bidding advantages and material budgets.

Customizable – easy to customize for the bearing plate size, placement, and shaft depth.

Verifiable capacity – despite soil conditions and especially when in a wet, unstable environment.

Easy installation – can be installed in any type of weather with minimal site disturbance and excavation.

Reduced noise during construction – while constructing projects or addressing an issue on an existing building located in a highly-populated area, helical pier construction offers a quieter construction site.

No concrete delays – using steel components and hyaluronic installation eliminates concerns related to concrete delays.

Precise placement – beneath active layers of soil at every load-bearing point.

Faster than traditional methods – loads instantly and gets you above-ground quicker.

High reliability – more than 100 years of field testing and constant improvement ensures high reliability.

Structural, civil, and geotechnical professionals continue to encourage builders to use helical piers for deep foundation anchoring during the pre-construction phase.

Helical Pier Installation Steps During the Pre-Construction Phase

Before pouring the footings for a building and using the engineer’s installation design, you need to have your helical piers installed. The piers will be placed at the building’s key structural points. These key points include corners, beneath the building’s load-bearing walls, and along its exterior walls.

Steps for Pre-Construction Helical Pier Installation:

  1. The heavy-duty steel sections of the tube are drilled into the ground.
  2. Once the depths of bedrock or load-bearing soil strata is reached, the top of the pier is shortened so that it coincides with the footing elevation.
  3. A plate cap or footing bracket is welded to the top of each pier.
  4. Rebar is added.
  5. The footing is poured, which makes the bracket assembly and pier a component of the building’s foundation.

Now, instead of your building resting on potentially unstable soil that could eventually cause a foundation problem, your building rests on top of its stable helical piles foundation system.

Helicon’s Helical Pier Installation Includes:

  • Careful planning to make sure that the piers are placed precisely where they need to be.
  • Hydraulically torquing the piers, which allows for quick installation. Using this method, the piers quickly surpass the loose soil to reach the deeper, more solid ground beneath.
  • Once the piers are in place, they are load tested. Load testing is vital because this test makes sure the piers will be able to handle the weight of the new building.

Helicon is a premier foundation repair contractor in Florida serving Tampa, Naples, Orlando, Sarasota, and Fort Myers. To find out more about the helical pier process, contact the office today at 813-567-1065.