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Recently HPW conducted its sixth annual helical pile industry survey.  This year a total of seven helical pile and helical anchor manufacturers and three distributors participated in the survey.  Six of the manufacturers are based in the U.S with GoliiathTech based in Canada.  The seven participating manufacturers included:

GoliathTech Piles - www.goliathtechpiles.com

Grip-Tite Manufacturing Co. - www.griptite.com

Helical Anchors, Inc. - www.helicalanchorsinc.com

MacLean Power MPS Civil Divisionwww.macleandixie.com

Patriot Foundation Systems - www.patriothelicals.com

Ram Jack Systems Distribution www.ramjack.com

Supportworkswww.supportworks.com

The three participating distributors are based in the U.S. and they include:

Danbro Distributors - www.danbro.com  

Earth Anchoring Suppliers - www.earthanchoring.com

Viking Helical  –  www.vikinghelicalanchors.com

HPW also contacted or attempted to contact twelve additional manufacturers in North America for the survey, but they either did not respond or declined to participate.

Topics of the Survey

  • Helical Pile and Anchor Sales for 2018 Versus 2017
  • Private Versus Public Funded Projects for 2018 Versus 2017
  • Square Bar Volume Compared to Round Shaft Volume in 2018
  • Opinions and/or Plans About the Future Market for Larger Diameter Helical Piles
  • Assessment of Solar and Wind Turbine Opportunities in 2018 Versus 2017 and Forecasts for 2019
  • Overall Forecasts and/or Predictions for Helical Pile and Helical Anchor Sales in 2019
  • Overall Opinion of the Impact of ICC-ES Code Certifications for the U.S. Civil Construction Market
  • Total Number of Installers/Dealers in North America

Note:  For this survey, HPW did not seek to distinguish between sales to the civil construction market versus the utility market.  Although some but not all participants sell helical products to both markets, the survey results do include sales into both markets.

Helical Pile and Anchor Sales for 2018 Versus 2017

Overall nine of the ten companies reported moderate to large increases in sales revenue for 2018, while one company reported no increase.  The largest year over year increase was 38% reported by one company, and three companies reported increases of 20%, 21% and 28%.  The mean or average increase in sales in 2018 versus 2017 for all ten companies was 16%.  The median increase was 14%.  

Private Versus Public Funded Projects for 2018 Versus 2017

The general input from all ten participants was that public funded projects in 2018 continued at about the same level as in 2017.  The average ratio across all participants was 81% privately funded and 19% publicly funded projects.

Round Corner Square Bar (RCS) Compared to Round Shaft Volume in 2018

Four of the survey participants offered only round shaft helical products in 2018.  Of the remaining six companies that offer either RCS or hollow square tube products, the percentages of RCS or hollow square tube were 65, 30, 25, 20, 10 and 10 percent of total volume.  When all ten companies product percentages are combined, the average percentage of round shaft products sold equaled 71% of all sales.  

Opinions and/or Plans About the Future Market for

Larger Diameter Helical Piles

Note: For this survey, HPW considered larger diameter helical piles as 4.50” (114.3mm) and greater in diameter.

Larger diameter helical pile sales across the industry increased for four of the companies in 2018 over 2017, while four reported no increases, and two companies don’t offer large diameter products.  Companies reported that the majority of sales ranged in size from 4.50” (114.3mm) to 12.00” (305mm), which was an increase over 2017.  There was not enough available data on percentage increases in product sales in this category for a meaningful report.  The general consensus from five participants suggests there is anticipated growth for larger diameter helical piles in 2019.

Note:  HPW realizes there are several large helical pile manufacturers in North America that are aggressively pursuing large diameter helical pile markets, however these companies chose not to participate in this survey.

Assessment of Solar and Wind Turbine Projects in 2018 Versus 2017

and Forecasts for 2019


As was the case with last year’s report, there were only a few companies that were aggressively pursuing the solar market, and they expected to see some activity for the year.  This optimistic perspective proved to be accurate for two of the companies with one company reporting sales in the solar sector representing an impressive 15% of all helical sales in 2018.  In this year’s survey the opinions and forecasts are similar as last year with just three companies actively pursuing the solar market in 2019.


One interesting piece of information from one of the companies - it appears that one or more solar array manufacturers has actually begun making their own helical pile products.  HPW intends to investigate this further.


Of the ten companies reporting, two of them reported that they are actively pursuing the wind turbine foundation market. One of the companies reported significant interest from that market in 2018 with the expectation that interest should continue in 2019.


Overall Forecasts and/or Predictions for Helical Pile and Helical

Anchor Sales in 2019


The outlook for sales growth in 2019 from the ten companies is very, very positive. The projected revenue growth ranged from a low of 9% to a high of 30%.  The mean or average 2019 growth projection for all ten companies is 18%, and the median projection is 14%.

Opinions Concerning the Impact of ICC-ES Certifications (ESR Reports) on the U.S. Civil Construction Marketplace

As part of the survey, HPW questioned each participating company about their opinion on the impact that ICC-ES certifications are having in the U.S. civil construction marketplace.  All seven manufacturers participating in the survey currently have ESR reports for one or more of their helical products.  Generally speaking, most of the companies see the certification process as necessary  - especially to be competitive in Florida and New York with more states and cities to be adopting ESR requirements in the future.  Two of the companies don’t agree that obtaining an ESR report is of critical importance, as the majority of their installers’ projects require load testing.  

There was a consistent opinion from the participating companies that AC358 needs to be modified for a few important reasons - 1) product capacities should be based on load test results only and not engineering calculations; 2) the overall process needs to be simplified so the cost and time required can be reduced; 3) the ESR reports need to be standardized so that each company’s report is structured like all other company’s reports

NOTE: The Ad Hoc Committee of helical pile manufacturers is currently conducting meetings with the objective of addressing these three specific issues (and others), and ICC-ES engineers have indicated they are very receptive to addressing these concerns.

Total Number of Dealers / Installers in North America

The numbers varied substantially from company to company with one company only selling to distributors.  The highest number of dealers / installers from one company is approximately (417), while the lowest number reported was approximately (40). The mean or average number is (123), and the median number is (96).

After discussions with all companies participating in the survey, it does appear that some dealers / installers are buying helical products from more than one company depending upon product availability and pricing.

Summary

Product sales in 2018 exceeded the 2017 results for all but one of the companies participating in the survey.  All ten participants believe 2019 revenues will be higher than in 2018 with some companies forecasting significant growth.  The participants in our survey vary greatly in size and annual revenues, and our readers need to consider this when contemplating the data. Absent any significant economic calamities, the outlook for continued growth four our industry in 2019 is certainly very positive.

HPW would like to thank the ten companies that contributed to our survey. However, we urge the non-participating companies to reconsider their decision for next year’s survey, as a larger data sample is very important for accurately reporting results and for making accurate projections for our industry.


Please send comments or questions to:


Bill Bonekemper

bbones@helicalpileworld.com

513-386-8158

North America Helical Pile Industry 2018 Review & 2019 Outlook

by Bill Bonekemper

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

February, 2019