Foundation selection is one of the most overlooked aspects of building a new ADU. Without a proper foundation, your property can be deemed unstable and may cost you more repairs in the long run. There are currently two main types of decking foundations available to consumers today. The first type is slab-on-grade concrete which the majority of us are familiar with and in many cases can be an excellent choice if it’s done correctly. Another form is known as helical piles or screw piles which are primarily used for large civil engineering projects like light towers and large-size buildings because of the stability that they provide.
Concrete is a great material for building foundations, but it can only be used at shallow depths. This limitation can cause problems because the deeper you go, the more susceptible the foundation becomes to corrosion and soil compaction. In contrast, helical piles can be used at much greater depths than concrete. These solid steel piles are also flexible and strong, making them ideal for supporting large structures. In this article, we’ll be discussing the advantages and benefits we can have in choosing Helical piles over the traditional concrete foundation for ADU Construction.
Let’s first explain what they are. Helical Pile is a type of foundation system that has been around for multiple centuries. These piles are steel shafts with screw-like plates or flights around them. They are screwed into the ground until it’s verified and tested that a given area can properly hold the structure’s bearing capacity. In simpler terms, helical piles are a type of driving support structure that drills into the earth and stabilizes whatever load it’s attached to. These steel tubes act as an elegant and efficient way to stabilize and support structures. Just like a regular screw drilled into a wall, these piles can be quickly and easily installed on the ground.
Utilizing helical piles can have the following advantages and benefits to both homeowners and contractors alike. Some of these are:
1. Ease and Duration of Construction (Mobility, Manpower, Time Frame, Weather)
With the simplified methodology of Helical Piles, it allows the ADU builder to only have a single contractor for the building of the foundation. Unlike the traditional concrete method where it requires multiple processes (excavation, disposing, reinforcing steel bar, concrete mixing, pouring, flattening, curing, etc.), this results in having multiple contractors, larger industrial equipment, and logistical concerns. The system of helical piles also minimizes the digging or excavation needed to establish the foundation making it a way smoother process than its counterpart.
In constructing ADUs or any property, every project must consider an allocated operational space for various equipment and machines to maneuver, park and the like. The process of Helical Piles requires fewer and more compact specialized machinery (such as mini-excavators) allowing only a manpower of 3-4 people to facilitate the overall build in a faster time frame. With the traditional concrete foundation having an estimated completion time of 21-41 days, the installation of helical piles can be completed in an estimate of only 3-5 days. In addition, helical piles don’t have the need for curing or drying which means that you can add your structure right away after the shafts have been installed, again saving more time – regardless of the weather.
2. Lower Cost
The cost and environmental impact of traditional concrete foundations is undeniable. Contrary to popular belief, helical piles actually cost less than concrete foundations. Aside from helical piles being an easy-to-transport and install foundation system, it also eliminates the need for long-term maintenance and cleanup in the project site – making it also more sustainable than the traditional concrete method. Not to mention that these piles can be reused or recycled at some point down the line – making it ideal from both perspectives: financially as well as environmentally.
If you’re unsure about the cost of your ADU project, ADU.Works can provide a free cost estimate for your property as well as initial jurisdiction research. Schedule a demo with us or fill up our cost-estimate form here.
3. Structural Integrity
Helical piles being modularly installed, offer much greater precision ensuring each piece fits perfectly and carries the specific bearing load with every other build element in place. These piles are also installed with equipment that can measure the soil resistance and torque utilized – this makes it a lot easier for both the project managers and the engineers to monitor and make certain of the construction quality in every single pile.
Helical piles are also a go-to tool for tough soil conditions. Industrially, they are also used in a variety of applications, from foundation repairs to stabilizing heavy load structures – all with an accurately determined load capacity beforehand. The estimated lifespan of helical pile foundations are about 150 years varying from the type of soil you have.
If you’re anywhere around California, our team can send an ADU Project Manager to your area and start a free 30-minute initial site visit to ensure that helical piles are a good fit for your property.
Helical Piles is one of the innovative construction processes that our team in ADU.Works adopted allowing us to build ADUs in a faster time frame and lower cost. Having the company promise of providing “Low Cost, No Compromise ADUs”, our team is continually finding proven methods that can streamline the process of building ADUs without cutting any corners or compromising on quality materials.
With this on hand, we are able to offer high-quality ADU models with such competitive pricing which starts at $139,400 for a 392sq. ft. 1BD 1BTH model.
If you’re interested to know more about our ADU models, please don’t hesitate to book a consultation with us or give us a quick call through our number (408) 610 3005. We’ll gladly discuss the specifications of the Maverick Models and accommodate any questions you may have. Our team looks forward to hearing from you.