By Pat Haffert
Have you ever been in a tight spot?
Of course you have. Some of us more so than others.
One of the most frequently asked questions that I get when conducting seminars is about minimum requirements for access when installing helical piers. Elimination or mitigation of access is one of the principle selling points for helicals. There are major ways in which the use of helical piers or anchors mitigate site congestion or overhead issues.
The first advantage results from the physical properties of the helicals themselves. Helicals are segmented piles coming in 3-foot, 5-foot, 7-foot, and 10-foot lengths. You can mitigate overhead issues by using shorter pieces. Typically, eight feet is the minimum overhead clearance necessary when using a backhoe or skid steerer. We can deal with less than eight feet of headroom by augering out a hole and starting the pilot point below grade. Furthermore, the segmented head sections and extensions come neatly stacked and bundled, greatly mitigating the space required for staging material on site.
Our second major advantage is that equipment needed to install helical piles are compact and maneuverable. What if access is so limited (a crawl space or basement) that there is no room for even small equipment? In many instances, we can operate with a portable hand-held unit consisting of a drivehead, extendable reaction bar, and a foot pedal. A power pack the size of a wheelbarrow supplies the hydraulics. The Appalachian Trail Commission has used this unit on remote mountain trails to much success where traditional equipment was impossible.
Tight spots with limited headroom or access are always a challenge but helicals provide an opportunity to still get the job done.
When it comes to tight spots, helical piles are a great fit.
Pat Haffert is the Seminar and Training Manager for DANBRO Distributors. He has been working with DANBRO for 15 years. If you or your company are interested in a lunch-and-learn presentation on the use of helical piers, please contact Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org.