Common Causes of Helical Pile Foundation Failure

June 16th, 2017

Generally speaking, helical piling systems rarely fail; they’re the perfect solution for a wide range of commercial, industrial, and residential projects. Still, as versatile as this structural support solution undoubtedly is, there are infrequent failures to contend with, installation difficulties that must be addressed. Here’s a look at common helical pile foundation problems. Once identified, engineering know-how settles the matter by correcting each issue until foundation stability is ascertained.

Helical Pile Systems: Engineering Drawbacks 

As a proprietary mechanism, this singular advantage can be flipped on its head. In other words, this is an intelligently manufactured anchoring system, but that precision-engineered profile may only suit a narrow set of applications. In that case, the correct helical foundation parts must be supplied. Otherwise, the project parameters will clash with the available helical elements. Clients and contractors solve supply conundrums by creating partnerships with reputable systems distributors.

Is The Anchoring Team Good Enough? 

Better than good enough, the three-man team has to have experience in this specialised work discipline. The supervisor will busily assess the ground conditions. Perhaps he’ll even bore a few test holes to gauge the soil conditions. Next, the tool operator and his groundsman associate need to be trained so that each piling consistently sinks down at the required angle and depth, all without disturbing the soil. In this scenario, it’s a case of following the “right tool for the right job” methodology, plus a healthy dose of tool manipulation competence.

Accounting for Interface Problems 

The lower end of the interface equation is represented by the soil conditions. If the geology is unfavourable, well, problems develop quickly. Again, a seasoned team supervisor comes up with engineering measures that offset ground issues. Next, the correct installation of the helical piling array doesn’t signal the end of the project. Modular fittings now mate to the exposed anchor crowns, then the foundations take shape, the structure is erected, and the loading capabilities of the project are tested. If any link in this coupling chain is poorly fastened, then the strong system backbone is considered unsettled, perhaps even unstable.

As you can clearly see, helical pile foundations require processing groundwork. The tools and work team questions brought up here are factored into the process as installation errors, which means they’re entirely avoidable. As for the actual piling systems, the contractor in question should source the right system for the right job from a reliable helical pilings manufacturer or distributor. Finally, soil type matters are hard to predict, but test boring tactics and experience makes the difference.

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