Helical piers: the deep foundation choice for new construction

drilling helical piers at worksiteConsidering a new construction project in an area with poor soil quality? Building in a populated area where noise might be a factor after hours?

Once considered a nightmare, helical pier technology now allows builders to quickly complete new construction projects anywhere. As natural threats to buildings grab more headlines, construction experts are paying closer attention to deep foundation practices and the need for qualified geotechnical services when they plan a new job.

Whether it’s for a school, industrial building, retail complex, bridge or residential properties of any size, helical piers have become the deep foundation solution of choice for new construction.

helical pier team conducting analysisHelical piers have long been a trusted remedy for a wide variety of restoration projects on existing properties. With bearing plates that are welded in a spiral (helix) pattern around a rigid central core, helical piers are ideal for raising, stabilizing and realigning foundations.

Helical piers provide precise and dependable deep foundation anchoring in all kinds of unfavorable soil conditions, allowing builders to confidently build new projects anywhere. They’re inexpensive to install, require minimal disturbance to the property and can be customized to address any local site requirements.

How it Works – Deep Foundation Support with Helical Piers

Helical Piers – Better Beginnings – Better Buildings

helical pier installation for new construction projectPartly because of the success they’ve seen in virtually every kind of foundation repair situation, builders and engineers now routinely trust helical piers as their go-to approach to design, build and support foundations for new construction jobs.

There’s an old (if somewhat grim) joke about aviation flight recorders, sometimes referred to as black boxes. “If they’re indestructible, why not build the whole plane out of the same material?” That illustrates in part why experienced builders begin important jobs by supporting new foundations with an engineered array of helical piers.

Older foundation technologies like drilled, cast-in-place concrete piers or grade beam supports can be somewhat effective when soil conditions are favorable, and when they’re consistent across an entire jobsite. The problem is, they tend to be a one-size-fits-all approach. They may often have to be “over-designed” to compensate for variations in the quality and depth of soil that can support the foundation load of the finished project. This can result in excessive and unnecessary material and labor costs, including schedule delays.

Deep Foundation Technology That Works For Any New Construction Project

For the same building footprint, helical piles can be inexpensively custom-fit to penetrate stable soil while consuming significantly less space and material. They can be loaded immediately without waiting for large volumes of concrete to cure, saving time, manpower and also greatly reducing the noise on-site. Because they’re individually precision-installed, they also cut excavation costs and can be placed using smaller teams and more affordable equipment. More and more civil, structural and geotechnical professionals specify helical piers as the preferred deep foundation anchoring method for new construction.

Here are just a few of the new construction advantages of helical piers:

  • Cost effective for both material budgets and bidding advantages
  • Highly durable for the projected life of any building—anti-corrosion measures available
  • Easy to customize for exact bearing plate size, placement and shaft depth
  • Precise placement below active soil layers at every load-bearing point
  • Simple to install in any weather with minimal excavation and site disturbance
  • Verifiable capacity for any soil conditions, especially in wet, unstable environments
  • Hydraulic installation and steel components mean no concrete delays
  • Gets you out of the ground faster than older methods and can be loaded instantly
  • For projects in populated areas, helicals offer the advantage of less noisy job site
  • Over 100 years of continuous improvement and field testing delivers high reliability

olshan helical pier installation crew

Deep Foundation Underpinning For Every Job

We mentioned the wide variety of new construction jobs that benefit from modern helical pier technology. They also work extremely well for slab-on-grade stabilization in addition to poured footing applications.

For new construction, helical piers safely and efficiently distribute slab loads to stable soil, no matter how shallow or deep it might sit below the active soil level.

For existing slabs, property owners have saved thousands of dollars by rehabilitating them with helical piers instead of going the costly rip and replace route. Helical piers can quickly and affordably correct tilting, cracking or sinking due to soil erosion, flooding, seismic damage or original construction faults.

The Heli-Lock Technology Breakthrough For New Construction

Olshan’s exclusive Heli-Lock® Anchors are hydraulically advanced into the ground to a predetermined depth based on soil data and by taking torque measurements during installation. This ensures that every deep foundation underpinning is securely anchored below the active soil layer.

The helical piles are installed at engineered intervals along the footing forms and tied into the steel grid work before pouring concrete footings.

Heli-Lock Anchors can be installed before foundation construction begins to negate the effects of adjusting soil conditions. This also eliminates concrete delays for a significant schedule advantage. More builders choose Heli-Lock Anchors to reduce installation costs, get their jobs out of the ground faster and boost foundation structural integrity and reliability long term. Clients prefer the helical piers because they extend the profitable life of the building and reduce total cost of ownership.

For over 90 Years, Olshan has been a trusted partner on countless foundation jobs, from small rehabs to large scale new construction projects. We rigorously vet our suppliers not only for superior product quality, but also for integrity and lasting cost benefit to our customers. Our Heli-Lock Anchors have been proven on job after job, each manufactured and tested to meet the highest standards. The Heli-Lock Piles are installed at precise engineered intervals along the footing forms and tie in directly to the steel grid prior to the concrete pour. Olshan’s helical piers are ready to be loaded immediately on installation.

Consider the deep foundation advantages of geotechnically engineered helical piers. You’ll be impressed with the time-to-value advantage you can gain by using helical piers on your next public or private new construction job. Contact our local office to speak with a Certified Structural Technician and learn more about how you can make bigger margins and deliver measurably better results with helical piers.

Heli-Lock Helical Pier System for New Construction

Capacities of Olshan Heli-Lock Anchors

Shaft Size
Installation Torque Factor (k)
Axial Compression Load Limit
Ultimarte-Limit Tension Strength
Useable Pracrical
1-1/2″ Square Bar
9 – 11
7,000 ft-lb
1-3/4″ Square Bar
9 – 11
10,000 ft-lb.
2″ Square Bar
9 – 11
15,000 ft-lb.
2-7/8″ Tubular – 0.203″ Wall
8 – 9
60,000 lb.
60,000 lb.
5,500 ft-lb.
2-7/8″ Tubular – 0.262″ Wall
8 – 9
9,500 ft-lb.
3-1/2″ Tubular – 0.300″ Wall
7 – 8
115,000 lb.
120,000 lb.
13,000 ft-lb.
4-1/2″ Tubular – 0.337″ Wall
6 – 7
160,000 lb.
160,000 lb.
22,000 ft-lb.


Helical Pier Supports are a great solution for tough the tough soils to build on like in Aurora, Colorado!

Advantages of Heli-Lock

  • Decreased installation time
  • No concrete delays
  • All weather installation
  • Installs below active soil layers
  • Low installation cost

Build Anywhere - Dig. Drill. Lift.


1. Dig

The construction site is excavated and prepped. Heli-Lock piles are installed at intervals and lock into a rebar grid.


2. Drill

Olshan helicals are "screwed" deep into stable soils using hydraulic machinery. This is achieved with a small team and little noise.


3. Lift

Once the helicals have been "screwed" into their pre-determined soil depths, Olshan prepares the worksite for the new project.

Get Information on the Olshan Heli-Lock System

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Well, our foundation was repaired this week. It is AMAZING!!!!! Once they "jacked" it up you could immediately tell the difference! So cool! When you walk to that side of the house, you don't go downhill. Oh my goodness - what a HUGE difference. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

- Bev & Mike, Austin TX