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Requested Code Changes for Helical Piles in 2015 IBC are Approved at the Recent IBC Structural Hearing in Kansas City


by Bill Bonekemper

October, 2016

DFI Helical Piles & Tiebacks Committee (HPTC) members Kyle Olsen, P.E. (Foundation Supportworks) and Howard Perko, Ph.D.,P.E. (Magnum Piering) deserve a HUGE THANKS from the entire helical pile industry for their tireless work to gain an approval of code revisions in sections 1810.3.3.1.9 and 1810.4.11 of the 2015 International Building Code (IBC).  The process, and it is truly an arduous process indeed, spanned more than a year with many conference calls and code language submissions.

In addition, another round of thanks goes out to these DFI HPTC members as well - Dale Biggers, P.E. (Boh Brothers Construction), Dr. Amy Cerato (University of Oklahoma), Nick Farkas (Grip-Tite Mfg.), David Frink (IDEAL Mfg.), Michael Perlow, P.E. (Self Employed), Gary Seider (Hubbell Power Systems) – all of whom took the time to submit “Public Comments” to the IBC in support of the proposed code changes.  

Public comments in support of the changes included:

  • “Will not increase the cost of construction; this is just a clarification of the code.”
  • “Proposed modification will eliminate confusion of terms regarding installation torque.  This change can reduce cost of construction.”
  • “Will improve quality.”
  • “This proposal will create improved quality of products and services and reduce costs in the industry.”
  • “Reduces possibility of confusion on intent of code.”
  • “The recommended changes are a critical building block to improving the IBC requirements and standard of practice for increasing use of helical piles as a drilled deep foundation system.”
  • “The proposed code amendment clarifies that helical piles can be installed to the maximum manufacturer’s rated torque which is consistent with current practice.  The words maximum allowable torque are confusing.  The change will reduce construction cost because it will allow piles to be installed to higher, more appropriate, maximum rated torque.”

Although there remains one last electronic vote to be cast by IBC personnel, there is a high degree of confidence that the code changes will in fact be approved and implemented.

International Code Council Deep Foundations Institute