There are several solutions engineers and contractors can choose from when a deep foundation is required. With a deep foundation the structure’s load is transmitted to soils that are deeper in the ground. A deep foundation is used when a shallow foundation is not possible, not practical, or will not carry the load. Examples are weak, unstable, or expansive surface soils. Two popular options for deep foundations are helical piles and drilled shafts, also known as drilled piers or caissons.
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The first question we often get is, “are helical piles a new technology?”. Though they are growing each year in use and popularity, many Geotechnical and Structural Engineers are often unfamiliar with the technology. Complicating the matter is that, in many cases, students who will be our future engineers know very little about helical piles and their history. The truth is that helical piles [a.k.a. screws, screw piles, helical piers, helicals] appeared on the scene in the early 1800s. Alexander Mitchell (1780-1868) applied the use of screw piles in 1836 for moorings and, in 1838, for a lighthouse foundation. To put things into perspective, screw piles preceded the advent of Portland Cement [1850’s] and first use of a gasoline-powered automobile . According to some historians, screw piles were the major foundation technology of the 19th century.
Any contractor can tell you that a structure is only strong as its foundation. Deep foundations transmit the structure’s load to soils that are deeper in the ground. A deep foundation is used when a shallow foundation is not possible, not practical, or will not carry the load, such as in weak, unstable, or expansive surface soils. Proper site preparation and installation is key to the success of any job – starting with the foundation.
ATLAS Resistance Piers are a versatile underpinning solution for existing structures that are in a state of movement and distress. The system components and installation methods lend themselves to a very quick and relatively easy installation. It is also a very cost-effective means of transferring structural loads from the foundation level to a suitable soil or rock bearing material.
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Deep foundation pricing is multifaceted and a one price fits all approach can lead to unexpected costs. To break down the pricing, the following list can help provide a better understanding of the top 4 factors that can affect pile prices and why they are important pieces of information when looking for estimates:
The load capacity of helical piles can be determined 3 ways. The method(s) used are dictated by the information available. The capacity of a helical pile must equal or exceed the factored load that the pile is required to support.
A key benefit of helical piles is the ability to install them in environmentally sensitive areas. CHANCE helical piles are precisely engineered to create minimal disturbance to the soil itself during installation with the pitch and placement of the helices precisely calculated. Helical piles can also be installed using limited access installation equipment eliminating the need for damaging access roads and large equipment required for other foundation types.