While the technology behind the helical screw pile has been in use since the early 1800s, until the 1900s, they were used almost exclusively for lighthouse foundations. In 1906, Albert Bishop Chance used helical anchors to support utility poles; from this point, helical piles began to be used across more applications. However, the technology did not grow in popularity until the mid to late 1900s.
Further testing, documentation, and education on helical piles has occurred through the 20th and 21st centuries. As a result, more applications for helical piles have been discovered and continue to be discovered. Today, helical piles are most commonly used in energy, marine, and civil construction sectors.
Helical piles were first used in marine construction applications and continue to be used today. They do not require concrete or excavation, so dewatering and cofferdam construction can be avoided. There is no need for additional equipment or preparation when installing in water, and the installation process doesn’t have to be modified. These features make helical piles an attractive solution when installing in areas with a high water table or in a body of water.
Advancements, such as galvanizing or manufacturing helical piles using stainless steel, have made them more corrosion-resistant. These measures ensure the longevity and durability of the foundation in marine environments. Helical anchors also provide excellent lateral support with minimal disturbance, making them an excellent option for both new construction and repair of bulkheads and seawalls. Helical piles can be installed from the shoreline and screwed beneath existing structures and utilities. Without the need for mass excavation, costly and time-consuming cleanup and restoration can be avoided.
Marine Construction Applications for Helical Piles:
- Boat houses
- Offshore platforms
Helical piles are widely used in civil construction due to their benefits over traditional deep foundation methods. One of the key advantages is the rapid installation process, which significantly reduces construction timelines. The structural integrity of each pile can also be verified during installation, ensuring quality control and compliance with structural requirements.
Additionally, helical piles are installed with minimal site disturbance and reduced environmental impact. Installing helical piles produces no vibrations and minimal noise. Installation equipment is also compact and highly mobile, allowing efficient installation on even the most restricted sites. Overall, helical piles offer a practical and efficient foundation solution for civil construction projects, overcoming the challenges associated with both dense metropolitan areas and delicate natural habitats.
Civil Construction Applications for Helical Piles:
- New commercial construction on poor soils
- Underpinning and Foundation Repair
- Historical Preservation projects
- Retaining walls and tieback applications
- Boardwalk and Pedestrian Bridges
- Tilt-up Construction
- Modular Building Foundations
- Construction on contaminated sites
Helical Piles are used in many energy sectors, including wind, solar, oil and gas, substations, and geothermal. Helical piles are an attractive solution as they are installed rapidly and immediately load-bearing after installation. This accelerates the construction schedule, reducing downtime and costs.
The modular components of helical piles and the compact equipment used for installation make them easier to transport. This is beneficial for energy projects in remote or challenging locations. Helical piles are manufactured in a variety of section lengths, allowing them to be customized to site restrictions. Therefore, installation is made more efficient, especially on projects with limited access.
Energy Applications for Helical Piles:
- Wind farms
- Battery energy storage systems
- Transmission line towers
- Geothermal power plants
- Tank foundations
- Natural gas and oil facilities
At this point, you can presumably tell helical piles can be used for many applications across many industries. However, the likely more critical question for you as a contractor, developer, or engineer is: where are helical piles most economical?
Learn more about that here.
In an IDEAL World: Real-World Helical Pile Applications.
Find out how our helical piles helped FEMA build a temporary hospital at Stony Brook University as part of the state and federal response to COVID 19.
When the cost of not underpinning means losing a piece of history, but limited access presents a real challenge, helical piles are the answer.
Existing buildings ruled out any foundation solutions that created vibrations, so again our high capacity helical piles came to the rescue!
Helical piles are becoming increasingly popular for all kinds of applications and in all kinds of environments.
If you’re not sure helical piles are the right choice for your next deep foundation project, just ask our IDEAL team.
We provide general and installation contractors with free design support and value-engineered deep foundation designs that can deliver significant savings to your bottom line.
You can also rely on our commitment to manufacturing high-quality, American-made helical piles that are nearby and easily accessible, thanks to our distribution network.
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- Use the chat or text function on our website
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