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What's involved in a Screw Pile Foundation Installation?

A traditional screw pile foundation installation utilises a number of different factors and we're going to take you through them.

In a world of engineering there are building construction methods that are wide and varied, and it is often worthwhile to describe certain methods, and their installation considerations, in detail. To this end here we define exactly what screw piles are, and we go on to outline just what is required for the installation of screw piles within the average construction project.

Defining Screw Piles

Screw piles are used within the foundations of buildings and ground anchoring systems, most specifically they are the screwing element that is comprised of a steel shaft, onto which there are a series of low-pitched circular steel plates welded.

The Benefits of a Screw Pile Foundation Installation

Screw piles are often considered as a cost effective method of foundation creation as they are relatively quick to install, are sustainable and can meet the demands of many a project, flexing and fitting to meet the needs of engineers and technicians. They are also subject to a far lower carbon footprint than many of their counterparts, despite the requirement for significant machinery in their installation process. Finally they provide for an easy removal technique if and when the screw piles are no longer required. The usage of screw piles Screw pile foundations are the generically preferred choice that ranges across a plethora of industries. This is despite the screw pile having only been developed with the nautical industry in mind, and has resulted in their usage within everything from rail and road projects right through to telecommunication projects and civil engineering. Going into a little more detail they are specifically and most frequently used within projects for mast signs and retaining structures.

Screw Pile Foundations: Just what is involved within their installation?

The steel plates that are welded onto the screw pile are unique to each project, and their exact structure depends upon the ground conditions, which can affect the number of helices, their size, the pitch of their degree and their thickness. Most specifically each of these elements will be determined by the following influencers:

  • The combined structural design load as is required by the project;
  • The geotechnical parameters;
  • Corrosive conditions;
  • The life that is required by the design and the demands of the structure that is to be supported.

The Installation Process in Detail

Screw piles are inserted into the ground in much the same way that a screw is inserted into an everyday piece of wood (except, of course, on a much larger a scale). Near the pile there is a helix, to allow for the screw pile to be screwed into the ground, and a screw pile may well have more than one helix, dependent upon the usage. To install the screw pile there are various pieces of equipment and machinery that are required. This ranges from the earth moving equipment that digs out the foundations through to the machinery that works to actually insert the screw pile. All in all these machines can range from relatively light weight 5 tonne skid-steer loaders right through to the more robust of 80 tonne excavators. Throughout the installation of the screw piles it's essential that proper engineering guidelines are followed meticulously, any deviation from these guidelines can result in misbalanced load and settlement outcomes.

A Screw Pile Installation versus a Traditional Concrete Installation

When compared to the traditional concrete installation a screw pile installation provides for various explicit benefits. This begins with there being less time involved within the process, as well as reduced costs, and ends with there being a far more environmentally friendly outcome for the projects that they are involved within.