How to Choose a Helical Pile Installer: 10 Questions to Ask

 

Choosing a Reputable Helical Pile Contractor

Hiring a helical pile installer can be complicated when you don’t know what to look for. We’ve put together this list of questions to help project managers better screen their contractors, and determine if they are capable, experienced, reliable and trustworthy potential partners.

Ask your potential contractor:

1. “Are you certified, insured and bonded?”

Making sure vendors are qualified and covered is the best way to safeguard your project from major delays and accidents. Removing liability is important for every contractor, but maintaining a high standard for safety is the best way to keep your project on-schedule and running smoothly. Your contractors’ first priority should be the wellbeing of job-site workers, so make sure they have all the right paperwork, before signing a contract.

2. “Do you guarantee your foundation with a warranty?”

If a helical pile foundation doesn’t measure-up to industry standards, at some point it will need to be repaired or replaced. A reputable, helical pile installer will always stand by their work, so if the warranty that comes with it seems suspect, walk away. If they do offer a guarantee, as do most CHANCE Certified Installers, read the fine print to avoid costly surprises down the road.

3. “Can you provide 3-4 client references we can talk to?”

Few things are as valuable to the vetting process as talking to recent, real-life customers. They’ll be able to give you unique perspective on contractor’s knowledge, expertise, communication and customer service. Obviously, be considerate of their time by having some questions ready, but listening carefully to their answers will often tell you all you need to know about your potential vendor.

4. “Do you have a helical pile project portfolio we can look at?”

A good list of successful projects will help you understand the depth of a contractor’s experience and the scope of their capabilities. Looking through photos of helical pile projects to find examples of jobs similar to yours can confirm that they’re able to do what they claim. You can also get a feel for their level of professionalism, their attention to detail and their ability to address unexpected challenges that inevitably come up.

5. “Do you have experience working on projects similar to ours?”

Each helical pile installation project is different, so it’s important to know that your contractor is capable of solving the issues unique to your project. If your helical pile installer is working with unfamiliar soil conditions or structure types and sizes they haven’t worked with before, chances are they are going to run into problems and that means scheduling delays. Avoid the stress and choose a helical pile installer whose track record includes projects like yours.

6. “Do you provide design-build services?”

Keeping the design and installation aspects of a job under one roof is a great way to streamline planning, execution, overall communication, and keep costs down. When unanticipated challenges come up, as they often do, a design-build firm can move much more quickly to resolve the problem and get the project back on track.

If your contractor is not a design-build firm, you’ll want to know who is designing the project, and go through this checklist with them as well. It’s also nice to know if the two companies have worked together before, and have successful joint-projects under their belts.

7. “What’s your safety track record and what on-site, safety procedures do you practice?”

Nothing grinds a job to-a-halt like accidents and injuries. Avoiding mishaps should be a primary concern for both you and your contractors. Definitely ask the contractor about relevant safety and training certifications. But it’s also essential to ask about the specific, on-site safety procedures they use to protect their crew and yours.

8. “Who manufactures your piles and who supplies them?”

The difference between high-grade and low-grade steel and concrete may not be obvious when the project is first completed, but good-quality materials can add decades to the life of a foundation and it’s superstructure. If a contractor’s bid is lower than the rest, they may be cutting corners by getting cheap, second grade steel from various parts of the world. Material quality is not the place to cut costs, so make sure you know exactly where your helical piles come from.

9. “Who will be our on-site supervisor and what is their experience with helical pile installation?”

Knowing that you have a full-time supervisor on-site and available at all times is mandatory for any major construction project. Beyond managing the day-to-day of a project, an experienced supervisor is critical to making good decisions, if and when things go wrong. During a helical pile installation, a capable manager needs to be in charge of communications, scheduling, materials, equipment malfunctions and everything that keeps the project running safely and smoothly.

10. “What information do you need from us to provide an accurate proposal for this project?”

Your contractor should be willing to have an open conversation about the details of your project and collect the information required to provide an accurate and responsible estimate for your work. If you don’t have specific information on hand, a good contractor will tell you and explain how to get it. A not-so-good contractor will provide a quote anyway and hit you with change orders later on.

How well are you vetting your contractors? Get Conte Company's 2017 Guide to Evaluating Geotechnical Contractors: 22 Mandatory Questions to Ask Before Getting a Bid.

What’s New with Conte Company in 2017

Conte Company Helical Pile Foundation Services 2017

As Conte Company has grown over the years, we’ve been fortunate to work on a variety of jobs for an ever-increasing list of great clients. We’ve honed our craft to become leaders in the deep foundation industry and treat every project with the personal attention you’d expect from a family owned company.

Here’s what’s going on with Conte Company in 2017…

We Have a New Website

Today, we’re excited to announce that we (finally) have a new website! Our goal is to not only showcase our expertise as geotechnical contractors, but to educate industry professionals on the value, viability and wide-ranging application of helical pile technologies.

Over the coming months and years, we’ll be producing a variety of materials, to address some of the major questions and challenges that our colleagues and clients may have.

So, please check out our brand-new website and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date on our latest publications.

Visit ConteCompany.com

We Are the #1 Installer of CHANCE® Helical Piles in New England

As an exclusive partner of HUBBELL-CHANCE®, we have access to the highest-quality helical piles in the world. Through this partnership and our vast experience installing helical pile foundations, we’re able to provide the most competitive bids on the best products around.

From standard, commercial and industrial projects to custom fabrication and design-build services, we can provide helical pile foundation solutions for just about any job.

Learn about our helical piles and their endless applications

We’re Expanding

We’re always taking on different types of projects, from the biggest geotechnical foundation jobs to small, residential foundation repairs. In the last year, we’ve done all sorts of projects around New England and throughout the country. We’re experts in safely constructing support for elevated structures, underpinnings and marine/wetland construction. Experience matters!

Check out all the types of foundations we build

We Continue to Provide Great Service

For projects big, small, residential or commercial, our only goal is to provide a hands-on approach to every one of our clients. We take great pride in our high level of service, our unmatched safety record, and our commitment to providing successful projects on time and under budget.

Learn more about Conte Company

We’ve Done a Lot of Projects

Take a look at what we’ve accomplished in our helical pile project photo gallery. Schools, bridges, airports, hospitals, industrial plants, infrastructure and so much more are on display. See our expert crews on-the-job and hard at work. Get an idea of how helical piles are installed and see the attention-to-detail that goes into every foundation we build. Our extensive experience results in the longest-lasting foundations in the industry.

View the photos

Why Helical Piles?

During these modern times of engineering and construction, there are many different ways to do just about anything. This includes the selection of a helical pile foundation. Pile foundations have been used for years to support structures that bear on unsuitable soils. As equipment and methods progressed, so did the applications and installation of each type of pile. All of these options still exist because each site and project requirement is different. We have to weigh our options to decide what the safest, most cost effective approach to providing a pile foundation is going to be.

Helical Piles have been around for many years, even though most people still haven’t heard of them. They are screwed into the soil using a motorized auger torque driver, which is attached to a piece of construction equipment. The screwing method eliminates the need for vibration and aggressive impact to advance the pile into the soil. The Helical Pile simply screws into the ground. With the torque motor creating the force needed to install the pile, relatively small equipment can be used for helical pile installation.

The benefits of using small equipment can change the project in many ways. Some projects would otherwise be impossible, if not for the use of small equipment. Going inside buildings, basements, through landscaping, beneath lifted houses, high voltage, tight locations, etc. are all possible because helical piles require such small equipment to install. The reduced vibration and noise allow for businesses and daily activities to continue during installation, and the low emissions of smaller equipment help minimize any environmental impacts. Some older structures are so unstable, that any vibration will compromise their state. Helical piles can be used to underpin these structures without harming the current conditions.