FAQ about helical piles


Q: What is a helical pier?A: A helical pier is a steel shaft with helices, similar to a large screw, that provides a foundation support for various types of structures. The shaft is usually Round or square and manufactured in 5 to 7 foot sections. Helical piers are often used when challenging soil conditions prohibit a traditional foundation system. They are also commonly used to correct and support existing foundations that have settled or failed

Q: How much do helical piers cost?A: The cost is dictated by the design, size, and weight of the structure and the adjacent soil conditions. The load to be supported dictates the size the helical pier shaft. The supporting layer of soil dictates how many helices are used for the lead section. We offer free estimates and can give you a better feel for the costs once we understand the conditions specific to your situation.

Q: How deep do helical piers go?A: Because each helical pier is installed to a specific load requirement rather than a specified depth, each application is different. A typical depth is about 20 feet, but can be as shallow as 10 feet and as deep as 60 feet or more. With state of the art Torque monitoring system and precise hydraulic gauges, every Helical Pier is torque tested and installed to the proper designed load for the structure.

Q: How are helical piers installed?A: A hydraulic drive head is attached to a small excavator for exterior applications or to a portable jib for interior work.

Q: How is a helical pier attached to my existing building?A: The existing footing is cut and retrofitted for the new helical mounting bracket to be attached this is permanently attached to the foundation wall at the footing level.

Q: Do you have to put concrete around the helical pier installation?A: Depends on the design of the project some will have concrete grade beams installed over the helical pile some will have speacial designed floors or foundations poured over the helical piles some may have the structure built right on top of the helical pile in most cases construction can begin immediately.

Q: How do you lift a building that is settling?A: A special bracket attaching the Helical Pier to the existing foundation is designed to accept a hydraulic jack for the lifting process. The bracket is a permanent part of the installation and maintains the lift after the jack is removed.

Q: How much space is needed for installation?A: Helical piles can be installed in areas as small as a coat closet. We have portable equipment that can be used in very small spaces and larger equipment for open spaces. Compared to other pile and pier methods our equipment is relatively small and less intrusive.

Q: How will the installation impact my yard and landscaping?A: We typically put plywood on the landscaping and grass to protect it from our equipment, and are very careful around any building. Some landscaping may need to be removed to gain adequate access to problem areas of foundation. At the time when we provide a free estimate, we can identify any specific impacts to existing landscaping.

Q: What is a kip?A: An engineering term used to represent 1,000 pounds. It is short for kilo-pounds.

Q: How long does it take to install helical piers?A: With new construction, 30 or more helical piles can be installed in a day. With existing structures, usually four to 8 can be installed in a day.

Q: How soon can you begin work?A: It all depends on existing work loads and what your project entails being that all projects are different their are many variable that can impact scheduling permits, engineering, materials ect..

Q: Do your helical piers come with a warranty?A: Drivetech Helical Foundation Systems comes with a 30 year one time transferable Warranty

Q: How long will helical piers last in the ground? Will they rust?A: Helical Piers are coated with the latest galvanizing known to the industry. This protects the piers from rust and corrosion. In most soils there is a life expectancy of over 150 years or more. Each soil type has characteristics that are different so if a life expectancy number is required, a test can be preformed for the specific soil on the project. This test can be preformed by a Geotechnical firm usually for a small cost.

Q: Is Drivetech Helical Foundation Systems licensed, insured, certified ?A: Drivetech Helical Foundation Systems is licensed, insured, certified and bondable. The state of Michigan requires all contractors to be licensed and insured. Certification is usually required by the owner of the project and state and city building departments. This insures that the Helical Pier installers are properly trained in the technical installation of a deep steel foundation. This certification is administered by the manufacturer of the materials to its dealer and installers and is done every two years. This is important for proper installation techniques and warranties. Being bondable will indicate the strength of the Helical Pier company. All of these credentials are crucial in today’s construction climate and for a quality installation.

Q: Do I need a special inspector for verification of the pier installation?A: All commercial projects require a special inspector to witness the pier lay-out, installation, the type of pier used, the installing and testing devices, and completed pier depth. The inspector is typically contracted directly with the owner. A special inspection on a residential project is at the option of the owner. The inspection report will be given to the owner and building inspector at the conclusion of the project.

Q: Do you call Miss Dig?A: We will call Miss Dig for all projects.

Q: Why should I use a helical pier over another deep foundation system?A: The helical pier design eliminates the guess work of providing adequate support for the building. Other systems design in a margin of error to compensate for unknown factors.

Q: Why should I use your brand of Helical Pier over other brands?A:  Drivetech Helical Foundation Systems installs AB Chance brand piers because they are the highest quality and offer the most options to meet every deep foundation challenge. They use stronger steel and helices than most other pier brands, and have specific design differences in their design that we believe makes them superior.

Q: Do you install other types of deep foundation systems?A: No, because we believe helical piers are the best and most reliable deep foundation system.

Q: Do you do work in States besides Michigan?A: Yes, we will travel to other states.  Yes we travel for our customers as long as we can make it cost effective option for both parties involved.

Q: What are your payment terms?A: We work within the established payment procedures of most public, industrial, and commercial projects. For work on existing buildings and most residential projects, a downpayment is required for materials Prior arrival at the job site. This occurs only after you accept an estimate and schedule the work. The balance is due upon completion of the work.

Q: Why are the helices only on the lead section?A: Because the helices carry the load of the structure and you want that load supported by the best soil available. This is called ‘true end bearing capacity’.

Q: Is my settling home going to collapse?A: Most settlement problems are detected and therefore repaired before the structural integrity of your home is compromised.

Q: Will I need to move out of my home while repairs are done?A: No. Family life is not interrupted except by the most severe cases.

Q: Who are your competitors?A: Some other companies have tried to install helical piers in the Drivetech Helical Foundation Systems area, but struggle to execute jobs with the speed, experience, and quality that Drivetech Helical Foundation Systems does.

Q: Do you do concrete and landscaping work?A: We will remove concrete related to a specific helical pier job, And can replace concrete onsite being that our parent company is a concrete contracting firm We also have landscape partners to help with that area of projects.

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