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DFI Helical Piles & Tiebacks Seminar

Review - April 2014 in St. Charles, MO

by Bill Bonekemper


April, 2014

The annual Deep Foundations Institute ( Helical Piles and Tiebacks Seminar was held on April 3rd  in St. Charles, MO.  The material presented at this event is always beneficial and worthwhile for all in attendance.  That being said, this author found the quality of materials and presentations at this seminar to be exceptionally good and important for our industry.  A tip of the hat goes to committee chair Gary Seider and his team and the DFI staff for assembling a most impressive program.  Here is a list of this year’s presentations:

  • Current State of Practice for Helical Piles and Tiebacks - Dr. Samuel Clemence, P.E., Syracuse University
  • Eldorado Beach Retaining Wall Case Study - Darin Willis, P.E., Ram Jack Systems
  • The Helical Market - How Do You Measure Up? - Mark Bryant, EIT, Maclean Power Systems Civil Products Group
  • Interpretation of Failure Load of Helical Piles - Dr. Mohamed Sakr, P.Eng., Ph.D., Iron Brothers Ltd.
  • Residential Applications for Helical Piles in the Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy - John Pack, P.E., Heli-Pile
  • Screw Piles and Helical Anchors in Soils – A Legacy in Civil Engineering - Dr. Alan Lutenegger, P.E., Ph.D., University of Massachusetts
  • The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial - Phil Schied, Ph.D., P.E., Levelift Systems, Inc.
  • Settlement Based Performance Prediction of Helical Piles - Dimitrios Konstantakos, P.E., Deep Excavation LLC; Michael Perlow, Jr., P.E., Engineering Knowledge Management, LLC
  • Helical Piles in the City of Chicago - Nathan Mathews, P.E., Midwest Diversified Technologies
  • Composite Helical Pipe Piles – 3 Case Studies - Jeff Warchall, P.E., Maclean Power Systems Civil Products Group

Current State-of-Practice for Helical Piles and Tiebacks

This particular presentation stands out as a potential watershed event for the helical pile industry.  The report and presentation was the result of several months of work compiled by two very knowledgeable and well respected civil engineering professors and well published authors on all things helical - Dr. Samuel Clemence, Syracuse University and Dr. Alan Lutenegger, University of Massachusetts.  The Current State of Practice of Helical Piles and Tiebacks study was commissioned by the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) and was designed and managed by the Helical Piles and Tiebacks Committee (HPTC) under Gary Seider’s leadership.

To collect the necessary information for the report, an in depth survey questionnaire was developed by members of the HPTC.  A link to the survey questionaire was posted on DFI’s web site and was also posted on  The goals of the survey were to understand the current status of applications of helical piles and tiebacks, their design and construction, quantify perceived needs and to identify future trends.

The survey included the following sections:

  • General Background of Respondents
  • Applications
  • Design
  • Installation
  • Testing
  • Codes and Specifications
  • Performance
  • Research Applications

The survey questionnaire was widely disseminated nationally and internationally to engineers, manufacturers and installers.  A total of 206 people completed the survey questionnaire.  Although the total number of people that submitted their answers for the study is a relatively low number (206) when considering the size of the international helical pile marketplace, the knowledge gained from the study will prove to be quite valuable as the industry moves forward.  This author believes that as many people as possible in our industry should study the report and make recommendations to the DFI and the HPTC about how to improve upon this ground breaking study

Here is the outline of Dr. Clemence’s presentation:

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Survey Results
  • Applications
  • Design Areas for Further Research
  • Conclusions
  • Recommendations

The DFI is making this presentation and all other presentations from the seminar available to anyone for a very modest fee of $30.  This author highly recommends the value, and here is the link to the DFI order form - click here to access PDF order form