How to Install Helical Piles

How to Install Helical Piles

The helical pile installation process is quite different from that of traditional foundational solutions. That said, if you’re considering taking advantage of its benefits for your next project, you may have some questions before getting started. 

Below, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about helical pile installation. We’ll talk about what makes it so unique and advantageous and provide a step-by-step guide to the process. 

The Benefits of Helical Pile Installation

Due to increasing demand for new construction, building engineers and contractors are starting to look for innovative ways to form foundations. They need a solution that’s durable and capable of withstanding the various environmental conditions in which they’re building, but also one that’s quicker, easier, and will help them streamline their operations. That’s why many are turning to helical piles

No matter the scope of a project, helical piling offers great benefits — many of which are related to the installation process, like:

  • All-weather installation – Not sunny and 75? No problem. Helical piles can be installed no matter what Mother Nature throws your way. 
  • Remote and limited-access installation – Some industries and applications require facilities to be constructed in unique locations. Helical piles can answer that challenge. 
  • Quick, clean & safe installation – No soil excavation is required to install helical piles, making the process relatively quick and clean. In fact, a complete helical pile system can be installed in just hours or days. 
  • Low environmental impact – Helical piles can be removed and repurposed just as quickly as they can be installed — leaving minimal to no environmental footprint. 
  • Instant load-bearing capacity – No need to wait for concrete to cure or set! Once installed, helical piles can immediately support structures of all shapes and sizes. 

How to Install Helical Piles — 7 Basic Steps

With all of those benefits, helical piles probably sound like a rewarding solution, right? Now you’re probably wondering how to get started. 

First, your helical pile contractor will design and supply appropriately sized helical piles for your application. They’ll make sure the provided solution will support your application’s needs. 

From there, installation can begin! While you’ll normally trust the same contractor to complete your helical pile installation, you may be curious about what steps they’ll take. Below, we’ll provide you with an overview, but do keep in mind that each project has its unique challenges and specifications that need to be addressed. 

1. Determine How Many Helical Piles You Need and How Deep They Need to Go

Different projects require different numbers of helical piles. This number heavily depends on the size of your project and the load the helical pile system must support. 

Another factor that goes into this step is depth. Here’s the general rule: the deeper the helical pile is driven, the more support it can provide. Therefore, these amount and depth calculations are critical to ensuring a safe, sound, and durable solution. 

2. Attach the Helical Pile Lead Section to the Drive Head

Helical piles are installed with the help of other equipment and machinery, which usually includes a helical drive head that’s attached to an excavator. From there, the installation specialist will attach the first helical pile lead section to that drive head, preparing it to be driven into the ground. 

3. Drive the Helical Pile into the Ground

This step sounds basic, but requires a lot of precision. The pilot point of the helical pile must be driven into the ground at the proper location, inclination, and orientation in order to achieve the best results. These specifications are determined ahead of time and written in an installation plan. 

4. Rotate the Helical Pile into the Ground

Once the helical pile’s pilot point meets the earth, the pile is smoothly rotated into the ground following a clockwise direction. This process continues at a steady pace, generally at about three inches per revolution. 

5. Add Helical Pile Extension Sections as Necessary 

Helical piling sections are only so long. Therefore, adding extension sections is often necessary. The number of extension sections needed depends on how deep your helical piling system needs to be. 

6. Check Inclination, Orientation & Alignment Periodically

Throughout the process, the inclination, orientation, and alignment of helical piles should be checked regularly. This is to ensure everything is installed precisely according to the installation plan.  

7. Repeat the Process with All Other Needed Helical Piles 

Once one helical pile is installed, it’s on to the next one! Steps 2-6 will be repeated in order to install each new pile properly – eventually resulting in a full helical pile system that’s ready to support the large load of your facility.

If you need helical piles installed as the foundation for your next project, trust the experts at Elite Helical. As your turnkey helical pile contractor, we’re your top source for all steps of the helical piling process — from design aid, to supply, to installation. For more information, contact our team today.

4 Industries That Use Helical Piles

4 Industries That Use Helical Piles

When compared to more traditional types of foundations, helical piles offer safer, stronger, and longer-lasting performance. However, since they are a less traditional type of foundation, many facilities managers and construction professionals aren’t sure when to use them or what to use them for.

If you’re wondering the same thing, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll discuss a bit more about what helical piles are used for by taking a look at four industries that employ them most frequently.

4 Industries That Use Helical Piles

Below are four industries where helical piles provide safe, efficient, and effective foundation solutions. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are plenty more industries and applications that helical piles are used for — these are just a few of the ones we see most often  here at Elite Helical.

1. Helical Piles for Oil & Gas

The oil and gas industry is known for its remote environments, rugged terrains, and heavy-duty structures and machinery. And when you’re working with hazardous materials, you need a highly durable support system that can withstand those tough conditions and ensure your structures stay intact. That’s what helical piles are used for.

We’re strong believers in safety at Elite Helical — for people, for structures, and for the environment. That’s why we rely on helical piling to provide a solid foundation for various oil and gas applications like pipelines, compressor stations, rig supports, and more. There’s no other type of foundation that offers such safe and easy installation, or safe and durable performance.

2. Industrial Applications for Helical Piles

The world of industrial manufacturing and construction is a pretty broad one. And although helical piles are suitable for almost any application within it, their unique capabilities are most beneficial in niche, complex projects. Because, while the general concept of helical piling is quite simple, it offers robust and versatile solutions when complexities and challenges arise in a project.

At Elite Helical, our experience involves installing helical piles for a number of unique industrial applications, such as petrochemical plants, refining plants, pulp and paper facilities, terminals, and more. Over the years, we’ve learned that the possibilities are truly endless — so much so that we’ve become most excited to take on new challenges and add to our diversified project portfolio.

3. Helical Piles for Transmission & Distribution

Foundational support is needed for service lines, structures, and facilities in the transmission and distribution industry. And when dealing with strong electrical currents, the safest, most durable way to provide that support is through helical piling. Helical piles provide a safe installation process and a sound, reliable foundation that will support these lines, structures, and facilities for years.

From solar panels, power plants, cellular towers, and more, we’ve installed helical piles to support just about every application within the transmission and distribution industry. Throughout the years, our experts have gained the technical knowledge they need to safely and effectively adapt helical piling procedures to meet the needs of these unique applications.

4. Helical Piles for Commercial Construction

While helical piles can definitely provide strong foundations for residential builds, they’re more commonly seen used in large, complex commercial construction projects. In fact, they’ve completely revolutionized the commercial construction industry — offering a quicker, more durable solution than more traditional types of foundations, no matter the size or shape of the build.

At Elite Helical, we’ve used helical piles to support new commercial structures, as well as maintain or remodel existing ones. We’ve even used them for special projects like bridges, docks, bulkheads, and tiebacks.

Think your application could benefit from helical piling? Contact Elite Helical. With robust helical piling capabilities and a diversified portfolio of successful projects, our team has the skills needed to guarantee a high-quality solution and a fantastic customer experience.

What Are Helical Piles?

What Are Helical Piles?

Helical piles are segments that make up a larger, deeper foundational system. They consist of helical bearing plates that are welded to a central shaft. The load they bear is then transferred from the shaft to the soil through those helical bearing plates. As a result of their helical shape, the helicals don’t puncture and disrupt the soil, but rather they screw into it with minimal disturbance.

The first section of a helical piling system, known as the lead section, contains the helical plates. The lead section can consist of 1-4 helicals. If required, additional helicals can be added with the use of extensions. Then, plain extensions are added until the lead section penetrates the bearing strata and the necessary torque is achieved.

Perhaps the concept of these products sounds familiar, but you’ve never heard them referred to as “helical piles.” That’s because helical piles are also commonly referred to as screw piles, helical piers, helical anchors, screw anchors, and helical foundations. Although there are many different names, they all refer to the same product and can be used interchangeably.

What Are Helical Piles Used For?

As mentioned above, helical piles are used to provide strong, stable foundational solutions for structures of all shapes and sizes. This versatility makes them ideal for a number of specialized, industrial construction applications, including (but not limited to):

  • Industrial (e.g. petrochemical, pulp-and-paper, refining, storage facilities, etc.)
  • Oil & Gas (e.g. pipelines, compressor stations, well-sites, facilities, etc.)
  • Transmission & Distribution (e.g. power plants, cellular towers, battery storage, etc.)
  • Marine (e.g. pipeline buoyancy control, river crossings, riparian washouts, etc.)
  • Commercial (e.g. schools, shopping centers, docks, bridges, etc.)

What Are the Benefits of Helical Piles?

When compared to more traditional foundation types, the performance of helical piles is undoubtedly superior. No matter the scope of the project, helical piles offer many amazing benefits, including the main four listed below:

Efficient Installation

When enforcing a new structure, or reinforcing an existing one, time is of the essence. Helical piles offer an extremely fast installation process. In most cases, each pile only takes minutes to install, so a complete foundational system could be installed in just hours or days. And once they’re installed, they’re ready for immediate use; there’s no need to wait for them to set.

How is it so fast? Well, its quick turnaround time is mostly due to the fact that no soil excavation is required. This also means that helical piles can be installed in all weather conditions, as well as in limited-access and remote locations.

Outstanding Durability

Composed of rust-resistant galvanized steel, helical piles are expected to last over a hundred years — even as they support extremely heavy structural loads.

Instant Load Bearing Capacity

Helical piles offer instant load-bearing capacity to support structures of all shapes and sizes, sometimes accommodating hundreds of tons or more! Helical piling experts will evaluate your site and determine the verified capacity needed for each pile — all of which is based on your project goals and the surrounding environment.

Low Environmental Impact

Helical piles can be installed within minutes, and they can be removed just as quickly. If your project reaches a point where foundational support is no longer required, the helical piles can easily be removed and repurposed for your next application — leaving minimal to no environmental impact.

Have more questions about helical piles and how they could benefit your next construction project? Elite Helical can help! With 50+ years of combined industry experience, our experts are highly knowledgeable and ready to provide the answers you need. Give us a call or contact us online today.