New Rowing Club a Model for Advanced Pile Foundation Technology

We recently spoke with Matthew Conte, of Conte Company, about a foundation project they completed for a 2-story rowing club in Norwalk Harbor. Rowing clubs often prove especially difficult to build due to their proximity to the water, and the ground on which they are built. Building near or above water brings its own set of challenges for pile foundation technology, along with strict guidelines to which builders have to adhere.

In the case of this building, the ground floor of the rowing club is to be used for storage of the boats and equipment, while the upper floors are used for meetings, offices and social areas. Crew has always been a mainstay in the Connecticut area and rowing clubs are an important piece in the community, serving as both an athletic and social gathering place. Matt and his team were eager to finished this project quickly and efficiently, in order to get the general construction started on the 6,000 sqft, pre-fab, metal butler building, so it will be ready for the upcoming season.

In order to build this rowing club, Conte Company installed 56 27′ Drivecast piles. They tied those piles to a grade beam grid, on which a heavy slab of concrete was poured. The soil conditions, which were waterlogged every time the tide came in and composed of organics, fill and silty material, were not suitable for traditional building. The engineering team ultimately determined that there were only a few cost-effective pile foundation technology options for a site plan like this. The only other alternatives to Drivecast were helical piles, or H-Piles.

According to calculations and field tests, utilizing helicals would have maxed out at around 40-50 kips (1 kip = 1,000 pounds of force), whereas each Drivecast pile supported a staggering 120 kips! Matt explained to me that the other alternative, using H-Piles, would require pile lengths of up to 75ft in length, and would’ve taken significantly longer to install. For starters, H-Piles typically come in 50 foot lengths, so each pile would need to be spiced together to produce the full 75′. What’s more, when you’re talking about driving piles of this enormous length, you need some enormous equipment to do the job. In this case? A massive crane would be needed to drive each of the H-Piles deep, deep into the earth. By contrast, Conte Company’s Drivecast piles only required a 14 ton excavator to get the job done. Matt explains it best:

“A 14-ton Ex looks like a toy, sitting next to a crane like that. We pulled up our machine on a trailer and were in-and-out of the job site quickly.”

Matt and his team installed all of their Drivecast piles within 5 days; start to finish, and had no issues installing them. The grouted columns were allowed to dry for 5 days before testing, and again had no issues, even in the salty, waterlogged silt. As an added bonus, the site was located on property owned by a chemical plant, regulations for which are far more stringent than other environmentally regulated industries. Again, no worries, Conte Company sailed through all requirements with ease. The entire project went off without a hitch.

The building Matt and his team recently built is located on Norwalk Harbor, and will be a great addition to the community. Matt and his team, along with the revolutionary pile foundation technology called Drivecast from Hubbell-Chance, allowed this project to be done faster and cheaper with less work, and smaller equipment than H-piles or helical piles.

What more do you need? Download the official Drivecast brochure below:

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Matt Conte to Speak at DFI SuperPile ’18 Conference in New York

Matt Conte, Principal at Conte Company and Jim Davis, Project Engineer at GZA will be speaking at this year’s DFI SuperPile ’18 Piling Design & Construction Conference to discuss emerging pile technologies and the future of geotechnical engineering. The two will delve into results from a recent test of the new Hubbell-Chance® Drivecast® Displacement Pile, which promises to upend the deep foundation industry. This presentation will take place on Friday at 12pm.

View Conference Details & Buy Tickets

Please join us for the biggest piling design and construction conference of the year.

The Drivecast™ Displacement Pile is Revolutionizing Deep Foundation Systems

Conte Company helped create the Hubbell-Chance displacement pile product known as Drivecast™.

If you haven’t considered grout displacement piles for your project, you really should. There are many benefits to using such a system and more testing and performance data is produced each-and-every day. Here’s a little background on the product and how it performs, which explains why we’re so excited to tell you about it.

This patented grouted displacement pile was designed to be used in high side friction and end bearing applications. This combination of load carrying capacity allows the pile to be used in most soil conditions and load requirements. The added rigidity and larger grout shaft resist buckling and high lateral loads, where segmental piles systems wouldn’t normally be considered. Since each coupling joint is completely encased in grout, the finish pile acts as one solid piece in the soil.

During early Spring of 2018, Conte Company performed a load testing program that compared Drivecast piles to traditional driven and helical piles. (8) different piles were installed within the same site, to a similar depth. These piles were all tested in compression and lateral resistance. We even used a tell-tale testing method on one of the Drivecast piles—which is a method for isolating the side friction from the end bearing resistance of a pile. The results were extremely interesting and educational.

  • The (3) different Drivecast size piles outperformed the (3) driven piles and (2) helical piles in compression
  • Two of the Drivecast piles were laterally tested during a week of torrential rainstorms and they still held respectable numbers
  • The RS4500DC pile achieved the largest of the group at over 20 kips

With the help of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., the results of all the testing were cataloged and evaluated. You can download the full report here. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to King Industries, Inc. for offering the use of their property for the testing location. We would also like to give a special thanks to Gary and Charlie Wetmore at G&C Marine for bringing out their new blow hammer to help with the driven pile installation!

If you’d like to learn more about Drivecast

Send us a message give us a call at (203) 853-2400. We’re happy to tell you all about it.

You can also watch our promo video here:

Why is Structural Load Testing Important for Foundations?

Load testing services by Conte Company

Load testing, when performed professionally, can help a contractor meet complex code requirements. By confirming certain calculations and providing additional information about the deep foundation plan, a well-performed load test is essential to ensure that the foundation is strong enough to pass all structural requirements and inspections.

Load Testing 101

A load test is performed by applying pressure to a specific pile in predetermined directions; either by compression (push), tension (pull), or laterally. The load is generally applied via a hydraulic jack to make sure the pressure is equal to the final load requirement. A reaction frame is then applied against the hydraulic jack. Once activated, any movement of the pile or the test apparatus is monitored and logged, and the results are used to determine the capacity of the pile being tested.

Load testing in a confined space

Load Testing Accessibility

One of the main challenges to safe load testing is having enough space for the reaction beam and other equipment. Whether it’s inside a building, twenty feet below grade or someplace with limited access to utilities, Conte Company can perform challenging load tests accurately and safely. With our custom-designed reaction beam, we’ll get everything in place with no surprises and test to over 200 kips.

As you can see in the job below, load testing was pretty tight at this natural gas substation, where caution, safety and accurate load test results were an absolute MUST, which is why they hired Conte Company.

Load Testing Services from Conte Company

Conte Company has the engineering experience and the required tools to perform geotechnical load tests on a variety of deep foundation systems. We’ve done hundreds of load tests on everything from micropiles and helical piles, to augercast, vibro stone columns and aggregate pier systems. While we do provide deep foundation installation services as well, many of our load testing clients come to us for accurate, unbiased, 3rd party data.

Our tests are performed following ASTM, D1143, D36889 and D3966.

need Reliable load testing?

Call Conte Company for a quick evaluation.

 

Load testing at a natural gas substation

Introducing Drivecast™ The Next Generation of Pile Foundation 

Introducing Drivecast - A Revolutionary Screw Displacement Pile for Stronger Foundations

Drivecast™ is a highly innovative anchoring solution which can provide tremendous support for heavy loads. This brand-new technology uses a unique soil displacement methodology to advance a pile into the ground via rotation. Each pile section consists of a centralized shaft made of structural steel, while displacement assemblies are attached at regular intervals from the head.

Conte Company helped Hubbell-Chance® with the design and development of this revolutionary new pile, and the end result is unlike any other deep foundation system we’ve ever seen before. By coupling the simplicity of helical piles with the stability of displacement piles, we’ve come up with a better solution for some of the trickiest deep foundation projects.

Advantages of the Drivecast System

There are a number of advantages offered by the Drivecast system which make it very appealing from the standpoint of being cost-effective, being better adapted to specialized site requirements, and for providing maximum support as an anchoring solution.

  • higher capacity, smaller steel components
  • 3.5″ pipe shaft tested to provide over 100 tons
  • can be extended by simple bolted joint connections
  • grouted shaft offers corrosion resistance
  • increased buckling and lateral strength with larger grout shafts
  • proven to achieve higher capacities with shorter lengths
  • installation is less expensive because it can be accomplished by smaller crews
  • drilling costs less than Augercast but is more productive
  • no pre-drilling is necessary
  • there are no spoils, and no expensive trucking of spoil material off-site
  • ideal for usage in low-access, low-clearance situations
  • requires smaller, non-specialized equipment
  • minimal site disturbance and vibration

When you have limited access, Drivecast is a great solution

Because it can be installed using only small, standardized equipment, it can be used in areas which have limited access and clearance, and there is virtually no vibration or spoils which result from the process. Only a small crew is necessary to fully implement the Drivecast screw displacement pile, and this adds to its appeal as a system which offers minimal site disturbance. Its ease of installation coupled with high-performance anchoring, make this the most exciting pile installation product to come along in recent years.

Already, Drivecast screw displacement piles have been shown to be very effective in such applications as:

  • new construction
  • heavy highway projects
  • commercial or industrial buildings
  • bridges and abutments
  • sports field lighting
  • seawalls and secant walls
  • pipelines, sewers, and tank reservoirs
  • mid-rise foundations
  • highway lighting
  • underpinning

Whenever greater capacity might be required on a project, or where soil quality makes reliability an absolute must, Drivecast screw displacement piles will provide the optimal solution.

How it Works

The pile itself is advanced into the soil by downward pressure, at a rotation speed of between 5 and 20 RPMs, with both pressure and rotation levels determined by the character of the soil encountered at a drilling site. As the hydraulic drive-head progresses, and successive pile extensions are installed, a cylindrical void is created, into which gravity-fed cement grout is poured.

The grout is maintained in a surface-level reservoir and is prepared at the time of drilling. Drivecast piles are thus implemented in sections until the desired depth has been achieved. The result is a stable, high capacity, grouted displacement pile, with a steel core capable of anchoring virtually any kind of foundation.

Versatility of Application

Drivecast screw displacement pile installation is especially well adapted for situations where increased capacity is indicated, or in corrosive environments threaten deterioration of the piles. Because the gravity-fed cement grout surrounds the bore shaft as drilling occurs, a first level of protection is provided, and if soil conditions are particularly corrosive, a hot-dip galvanized coating can be applied to establish a second line of defense against corrosion. Due to its usage of smaller, standardized equipment, it has a very compact installation process, making it ideal for sites where there might be low clearance, low overhead conditions, or restrictions on site disturbance.

Want more Information?

Download the Official Drivecast™ Brochure

Watch the video of Drivecast™ in Action:

What are Displacement Piles?

Generally, displacement piles are load-bearing columns designed to be installed without spoil material (soil that’s removed from the ground). Instead, special equipment is used to displace soil laterally, compacting it into the surrounding terrain. While not ideal for every situation, displacement piles can sometimes support higher capacities than alternative helical piles or bored piles, as more of the load is placed on the grout and dissipated evenly into the earth.

Over the years, commercial construction engineers have created dozens of displacement pile styles, all of which are either pre-cast or cast-in-place, and most are either driven, drilled or screwed into the ground.

The most common and generally accepted types of displacement piles fall into the following 4 categories:

Precast Driven Displacement Piles

Preformed concrete piles have wide application in a variety of soil conditions. Concrete pillars are hammered into the ground until enough friction or an end-bearing point can support the required capacity. Because of the enormous force and violent vibration on the pile during installation, pre-cast driven concrete piles are almost always pre-stressed or reinforced in some way.

Pre-cast driven displacement pile

Cast-in-place Driven Displacement Piles

Another form of driven pile requires large, hollow steel tubes to be driven into the ground, creating a void to be filled on-site with concrete. These tubes are capped on the nose to force the soil outwards in the same way a nail is driven into wood. For uncased piles, the tube is removed while the concrete is being poured, and reused to form each new grout column. In other situations, the tube is left underground, as a permanent casing for the pile.

Cast-in-situ driven displacement pile

Cast-in-place Drilled Displacement Piles

Drilled displacement piles are similar to fully bored piles, except without the spoils. Specially designed displacement tools are drilled into the ground and force soil outward, creating a more compact and stable column for the concrete. Once the drill has reached the appropriate depth, grout is pumped in continuously as the drill is extracted. This ensures the column stays intact and the grout has a chance to fill every available crevice. A rebar cage is also typically used to reinforce the remaining concrete column.

 

Cast-in-place Screw Displacement Piles

As the name suggests, these piles are installed similarly to the very popular screw pile. Permanent steel pipes are twisted into the ground with specially designed screw flight attachments which also displace the soil laterally. As the pile spirals its way down, concrete is continuously gravity fed into the voided column. Once the piles has achieved its required depth, it is left there as reinforcement to the concrete column. This method is particularly useful in areas with limited accessibility, as only small machinery is needed to install screw piles.

 

Need advice on the right types of piles for your job?

Displacement piles are a valuable tool in an engineer’s toolbox when devising structurally sound foundations. Which style of displacement pile will depend on the project, soil conditions, load bearing requirements and accessibility for installation.

Talk to Conte Company Today

Don’t Delay Construction Until Spring: Helical Pile Foundations can be Installed in the Dead of Winter

civil engineers at construction site plan on installing pile foundations in Winter

These days, there’s really no reason to wait through the entire frozen season before starting that major construction project you’ve been thinking about. The deep freeze which has held much of the U.S. in its grip this January might be a deterrent to building in some respects, but it certainly should not prevent you from installing pile foundations in winter, especially if you intend to use helical piles. When helical piles are being used, there’s simply no need to wait for the ground to thaw out – they can be installed in most frozen ground.

Installing Pile Foundations in Winter

Admittedly, there can be an added expense to winter installation of foundations, particularly if really frozen conditions prevail. Like almost every other outdoor pursuit in the dead of winter, there are special considerations necessary, which translate to a slightly higher cost for helical piles. For instance, in those cases where the ground is frozen solid, a more powerful pile might be needed to penetrate the frozen soil, after which it would be replaced with a ‘production pile’ for the actual foundation.

In really cold weather, it may also be necessary to keep concrete grout mixture warm for a period of time, after mixing and before it is placed in the ground. For this process, heaters have to be setup at the mixing site, and the concrete mixture must be entirely contained within this area prior to having it poured into the pile. While there would be some added expense associated with these measures, you can literally save months of construction time by installing pile foundations in winter, and not having to wait for favorable weather.

Pouring Concrete Foundations in Winter

It’s certainly possible to install concrete foundations in the winter, but some extra consideration is necessary for the whole process. For instance, the concrete supplier would have to mix the concrete with hot water, so it could survive the temperature drop when it comes in contact with the outdoor air.

Since it usually takes twice as long or longer for concrete to set in cold air, it might be necessary to use an accelerant in the mixture to speed up the setting process. It may also be necessary to install windbreaks or temporary enclosures, along with heating systems, to prevent the concrete from drying out too quickly, and to prevent sudden temperature drops from cracking the concrete before it has a chance to set.

Extra Installation Costs vs. Waiting Until Spring

If you really need to keep your building project on schedule, and don’t want to wait until a springtime thaw provides you with ideal conditions, you can definitely get your foundation in place during even the harshest winter conditions. And you can install a concrete foundation if you don’t mind all the added expense of winter excavation, warm concrete delivery, treatment with accelerants for fast setting, and all the protective measures that will be needed to maintain sufficient warmth for an extended period of curing.

The truth is, from almost every angle you look at it, employing helical piles offer significant advantages, especially in the winter. Even if you have your piles encased in grout, the concrete mixture settles below the frost line, where it can cure naturally without any artificial heat. And although larger structures typically require concrete slabs to be poured to complete the foundation, most of the foundational support lies well below surface, where temperatures are stable year round.

As always, there is far less disturbance to the surrounding area with helical piles, since they do not require any major excavation, and can be installed with much smaller equipment—this also allows for better accessibility for hard to reach areas. Installing pile foundations in winter can be done rapidly, and if there is ever a need to remove or replace them, that can be easily done.

Construction Doesn’t Need to be Seasonal

What would the financial cost be if you had to wait several months for warmer weather, before proceeding with your construction project? That doesn’t have to happen when you opt for installing helical piles during the winter months. With a cost that is only slightly higher, all the same terrific advantages can be realized by installing pile foundations in winter – with fewer worries about massive snow removal, properly curing concrete, or moving major pieces of equipment around on a construction site.

While everyone else is watching the snow fly and the ground freeze, you can be getting a foundation in place, and planning for all the other steps which follow afterward.

Ready to Start Thinking About Your Next Construction Project?

Talk to Conte Company. We can help you choose a stable, cost effective foundation for your next job.

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5 Innovative New Ways to Use Helical Piles

Using screw piles for a playground's foundation and other ways to use helical piles

Many contractors already know about the tremendous advantages offered by using helical piles (or screw piles) as foundations for homes and buildings. But there are many more ways to use helical piles than just securing large structures in a variety of soil conditions. Some of these innovative applications are beginning to find favor with knowledgeable construction professionals and general contractors around the country.

Benefits of Using Helical Piles

It has long been known that helical piles are an ideal system to use in locations where the type of soil makes a traditional foundation more risky. Many residents of New Jersey discovered after Hurricane Sandy that helical piles could be used to great advantage for elevating their homes above storm surge levels, providing a level of safety and peace of mind.

Since installation of helical piles is generally much quicker than other deep foundation solutions, many builders appreciate using them when time constraints are involved with their construction projects. In neighborhoods of existing housing, where there is little room between buildings for equipment to operate, helical piles can be a much easier install than a conventional foundation.  The same is true for foundation repair work – helical piles can be installed much more easily in confined spaces.

Helicals are an ideal solution when building on water or wetlands. For typical construction, when building on good, dry soil, traditional concrete foundations are a cost-effective choice, but in certain situations, where the ground will be less accepting of concrete, screw piles are the perfect alternative.

Unlike most other foundation methods, helical piles can also be removed and recycled with very little effort. Since, in many cases, they were only screwed into the ground in the first place, it is only necessary to ‘un-screw’ them, and use them again somewhere else. The versatility provided by helical piles is unmatched in building circles, since they can be easily configured to adapt to removable structures, and provide tremendous value however they’re being used.

Finding New Ways to Use Helical Piles

The truth is, there are endless ways to use helical piles whenever any kind of anchoring or foundation is needed for structures large or small. In fact, they are fast changing the way that foundations are installed for many structures. It may be a cliché, but the only real limitation is a builder’s imagination and creativity. Here are some non-traditional ways we use helical piles…

Fencing Posts 

When fencing posts or deck foundations are attached to helical piles – they aren’t going anywhere. Even when fencing has to be setup in some marshy or soft soils, the fence posts can be attached to the mounting brackets on helical piles secured deep in the ground, where a stable layer of soil exists. Not only is there stability for the posts, but maximum support is also delivered.

Solar Farms 

As the demand for clean energy increases, so does the need for expansive solar farms around the country. There are a few fast, reliable, and cost-effective methods to anchor free-standing solar arrays,  including h-piles and helical piles. Both are capable of withstanding tremendous stresses applied by tensile, compressive, and lateral forces. With no real need for concrete, they can be installed very quickly, allowing more time for the other aspects of solar array construction.

When expanding an existing solar farm, it may be difficult to navigate big, pile-driving equipment around existing solar arrays. In cases like this, the small, agile machinery required to drive helical piles may be the only option. A mini-excavator is usually all that’s necessary.

Playgrounds

Of all the potential ways to use helical piles, you might not immediately think of a playground. However, anchoring a modern playground couldn’t be simpler than using helical piles. Mounting bracket can connect to the installed piles before securing the recreational equipment. With a totally reliable anchoring system, a playground can be made safe from all manner of forces which might act on it, and when children’s safety is an issue, total reliability is always the first priority.

Party Tents 

When you setup party tents in the same location time and time again for a recurring event, or series of events, it makes sense to provide a more permanent anchoring system for those party tents. The perfect solution to the problem is to install however many helical piles are needed to accommodate the number of tents which get erected, and simply attach the tents to the semi-permanent helical piles. Not only will there be great stability for the tents, but it won’t be necessary to re-invent the wheel for each year’s setup. As an added bonus, by using semi-permanent piles, certain styles of tents may allow you to eliminate or reduce the number of wires for patrons to trip over.

Boardwalks

Boardwalks are generally located in close proximity to some body of water, usually an ocean, and that makes securing them a bit of a challenge. Not a problem for an experienced helical pile installer. The boardwalk structure itself can be safely installed well above the normal water line, and can be attached with brackets to the piles. Flood-prone areas may even be zoned to mandate helical pile usage in the future, because they are so effective at anchoring structures on or around water. Also important to note is the eco-friendliness of helical piles for wetland boardwalks. It’s unmatched by other foundation methods, as there’s no grout necessary, no spoils from drilling and only the piles are left behind. As a result, the project has a very low environmental impact and poses no threat to surrounding wildlife.

Innovating Foundations Everywhere

Granted, not all projects are appropriate ways to use helical piles. But they are an incredibly useful and effective solution when construction needed to start yesterday. This is especially true for above-grade structures, when building on sites near water, and on projects with access limitations which can hinder larger machinery.

Conte Company has a line of Shallow Helical Piles, which cost less to produce and install than their larger counterpart. These shorter piles work in exactly the same way and are a great solution for all sorts of light-structure foundations. Our subsidiary company, Innovative Foundation Systems, specializes in pile foundations for fencing and solar, as well as other applications where concrete has traditionally been used. Contact us for more information.

Do you have a creative way to use helical piles?

Let’s talk! We can help you think it through…

Determining the Cost of Helical Piles

engineers costing helical piles at an industrial facility

There are a number of factors which go into determining the cost of helical piles. Some are more obvious than others, but in the end, the chances of getting an accurate estimate will be much more likely when an experienced installer weighs the following criteria.

Geographical location of the job site

One cost factor which you might find a bit surprising is the element of geographic location. In a cost survey conducted by Helical Pile World in 2016, it became apparent that costs for the same kind of helical pile project would have a significant variance based on which part of the country work was done. Generally speaking, the more expensive pricing was in the Northwest and Mid-Atlantic states, while the least expensive cost of helical piles was quoted by companies in the Midwest and Plains states. So, if you have a project where helical piles will be used, the first cost factor will depend on which region of the country your project will be located.

Repair or new construction

The second most important cost factor in this survey is the type of project to be built. Participating companies universally quoted higher prices for remedial projects involving helical piles, as opposed to new construction projects with pile work. In many cases, the new construction was only about half the cost of the repair work.

After these two top factors, the cost elements tend to be closely related to the actual foundation installation work, which involves the piles themselves. We have broken these factors down as follows.

Number of piles

The number of piles needed on a given project is only partially determined by the size and footprint of the structure to be supported. The amount of piles necessary is also greatly influenced by the loading requirements, support requirements, structure type, and building codes applied to the project.

More importantly, because helical piles come in different sizes at different price points, one hundred piles of one size can cost less than fifty of another. The estimating contractor and the project engineers must be highly experienced in being able to determine how many of each size helical pile will need to be used.

Type of piles

The type of helical piles being used can also vary in diameter, shape and style, as well as whether they are being installed with or without grout.

The shape of the piles is either a square shaft or round shafts. Common square piles come in 1.5”, 1.75”, 2”, 2.25” and up. The common pipe piles come in  2 7/8”, 3.5”, 4.5”, 5.5”, 6.5”, 8”, 10”, etc. Typically, the bigger the diameter of the pile shaft, the more costly they will be.

Grouted shafts are a relatively new development in helical piles. As an anchor is being screwed into the soil, a grout column is gravity fed all around the shaft to reduce the likelihood of buckling under high stress. Such a technique is commonly used in soft soils, and has the effect of making the whole column much more rigid, while increasing the load capacity of the foundation itself. Grouted piles do not cost significantly more than un-grouted shaft installations, but can significantly improve performance. In many cases, small grouted square shaft piles actually cost less than un-grouted pipe shaft piles with similar loading capacities.

Once again, the type of pile used is very project specific and the best pricing will be determined by an experience estimator.

Depth of pile installation

The depth of the pile installation will influence the cost of helical piles simply because it takes more time and material to install deeper, more secure foundations. In many cases, anchoring will need to be drilled deep enough to a point where a more competent layer of soil resides. The load-bearing requirements of the project will also affect how deep piles need to be anchored.

For example, a pile going 40′ deep will add more to the material cost of a job than one going only 20′ deep. More pile extensions need to be added to the main shaft in order to achieve the greater depth. Installing longer piles also increases the time that drill crews need to be on-site.

Soil conditions

The design and selection of the piles being used for a specific project is directly affected by the encountered soil conditions. Buckling, liquefaction, density of the bearing layer to be penetrated, and density of the upper fill layers, all play a factor in which pile is chosen and the overall cost of the job.

In short, the soil conditions for a project will play a large part in determining the number, type, size and depth of piles to be used. As explained above, the choice of helical pile has a significant affect on the cost of helical piles material, needed for the project.

Cost of helical piles – The bottom line

Like all construction, estimated bids are subject to unforeseen developments. However, when an experienced contractor/installer/estimator work up an estimate for a specific installation of helical piles, and take into account ALL of the above considerations, you can be confident that the estimate you receive is realistic and accurate. Location, type of job (new construction or repair), the number, type, and depth of pile installations and the type of soil are all important factors. They, in combination, will determine your price and why only an experienced helical pile installer will be able to deliver a reasonably accurate figure for your project.

Need a quote on a helical pile job?

Request a Bid from Conte Company

or contact us

How a Helical Pile Foundation Can Speed Up Your Construction Project

A helical pile foundation can lead to faster construction and less down-time

Not many construction projects have the luxury of an open-ended time frame for completion, and in fact most projects have an understandably tight schedule which has to be observed. In construction, as in virtually all businesses, time is money, and this is especially true when all other tradesmen and contractors are waiting for the foundation of a structure to be installed. In many cases, a helical pile foundation can greatly reduce the time-to-build.

At most times in the past, there was literally no choice but to wait for a concrete foundation to be excavated, poured, and to dry before all other tasks associated with building construction could get underway. However, that model is changing more and more these days, as the advantages of a helical pile foundation become more universally known and understood.

When are Helical Piers Faster?

First and foremost, helical foundations are almost always installed more quickly than other piling methods such as caissons or driven piles.  While some common applications include support for bridges, boardwalks and industrial piping, engineers are constantly coming up with new ways to use helical piles as a time-saving alternative. Particularly useful for construction in wetland or flood-prone area, replacing a concrete foundation with helical piles can shave weeks and even months off a project.

One of the biggest advantages, especially for light industrial, temporary or above-ground structures, is the speed at which a foundation can be installed using helical piles.

How do Helical Piles Save Time?

Right from the very first step, helical piles save valuable time in the implementation of a foundation. No large excavating equipment is needed for the installation of the piles themselves, so as soon as engineers have tested the soil to determine the degree of anchoring which will be needed. A helical pile foundation can be screwed directly into the ground with machine-mounted hydraulics or machinery fitted with electrical drilling equipment. Almost any type of soil or ground is suitable for helical piles, other than bedrock itself, so virtually all locations are acceptable.

An aspect of helical pile installation which shouldn’t be overlooked is the actual installation itself. As piles are being augured into the ground, the rotation rate ranges anywhere from 6 to 10 rpm, which allows progress to proceed at roughly 2 feet per minute. That means that an anchoring requirement going 50 feet deep could be completed in less than an hour. Once all piles are in place, they can be used for load-bearing immediately, as opposed to having to wait up to a month for concrete to be cured, or grout to become dry.

At the end of installation, there’s also no major cleanup to be done, as there might be with any other kind of foundation installation. Installing helical piles is a very clean operation, which minimally impacts the surrounding environment, and does not require that excess soil be carted away in trucks to some other location. This itself saves an entire step which would be necessary in a major excavation, which in turn reduces the overall time needed to complete the foundation.

How do Helical Piles Keep Costs Down?

The bottom line is that when helical piers are used to anchor a new structure, there is no waiting for other construction processes to begin. Unless concrete footings or grade beams need to be poured, other aspects of construction can begin on the same day that piers have been secured. It would be hard to over-estimate the impact this can have on any kind of new construction project, since so much time is saved by the speed of installation, and the immediate readiness for subsequent contracting tasks.

Keeping costs down on a construction project can be the difference-maker on how profitable it is, and one of the most important ways that costs can be effectively managed is by reducing the overall time frame necessary for completion. There are several other very important advantages to adopting the installation of a helical piers over some other process for foundation installation, but when you’re thinking about your project’s bottom line, speed is one of the most compelling reasons.

 

Ready to speed up your next project? Talk to Conte