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DFI Helical (Screw) Pile Seismic Research Team Will Be Conducting Full-Scale Seismic Load Tests Using the UCSD Shake Table in Early 2016

December, 2015

by Bill Bonekemper

As Dr. Amy Cerato and her team of graduate students have been hard at work on Phase 1 of the Helical (Screw) Pile Seismic Research Study, a fantastic opportunity was presented by one of Dr. Cerato’s research team advisors - Dr. Hesham El Naggar, Professor at the University of Western Ontario.  Dr. Naggar was able to gain access to the University of California San Diego shake table (click here for information) for the purpose of testing the effects of seismic forces on helical piles.  That was the good and exciting news.

In mid-November when Dr. Cerato first notified other Helical Piles & Tiebacks Committee (HPTC) seismic study team members about the opportunity, she conveyed the incredibly tight window of time required to take advantage of the opportunity that is slated to begin in mid-January, there was certainly an air of excitement but also one of a little head scratching and some doubt.  The urgency to secure the funding, acquire test piles, instrument the piles, find a contractor willing to provide the needed equipment and labor to do the work at the shake table site and the other umpteen logistical details, and then of course make a firm commitment to UCSD - well let’s just say it all seemed monumental to put it mildly.

Never Say Never.  Led by Dr. Cerato’s long, long days of tireless effort and communications with too many people to count, the HPTC team was able to make the commitment to move forward with the testing on Monday, December 7.  The accomplishments to make it happen included:

  • Funding - a total of $70,000 in collected pledges, which is in addition to the $35,000 already collected for Phase 1 of the study
  • Test Piles - approximately (25) helical piles of various sizes and configurations and related hardware for connections, etc. donated by manufacturers
  • Equipment and Manpower at the UCSD Site - approximately $80,000 of donated time and equipment
  • Extra Time Commitment from Dr. Cerato’s Team to Instrument Piles and Construct the Test Plan in Such a Short Period of Time

Here’s to a lot of good shaking going on this winter for Dr. Cerato’s team!

A BIG Thanks Goes to These Committed Leaders - A BIG Request Goes to Others in Our Industry

So this is now the new Phase 2 of the seismic study - now (5) Phases in total. The projected cost for the entire study increased from $250,000 to $280,000.

Click here to read the revised scope, timeline and funding requirements

It is certainly noteworthy that a rather short list of (13) committed and involved companies have stepped up with cash and/or in-kind contributions to take the seismic study to the next level.  The list includes:

  • CTL / Thompson
  • Deep Foundations Institute
  • Foundation Technologies
  • Foundation Supportworks
  • IDEAL Group
  • Hubbell-Chance
  • Lally Pipe & Tube
  • MacLean Power Systems - MPS Civil
  • Magnum Piering
  • Patriot Foundation Systems
  • Ram Jack Systems Distribution
  • Techno Metal Post
  • Torcsill

It is now time for others to be become committed and involved with this very important study that will benefit everyone in our industry.  If the sizeable number of uncommitted manufacturers, the many companies that supply the industry with equipment and materials, and the enormous number of contractors/installers would all step up with whatever amount they can afford, the remainder of this study would be funded easily.  So the HPTC is asking every company in our industry to take a few minutes to include a donation (of any size) in their 2016 budget. Approximately $170,000 in additional funds is needed.

Together we can make this happen.

Click here to read the revised scope, timeline, funding requirements & instructions for donating

If anyone has questions or would like to help with fund raising, please contact:

Bill Bonekemper

DFI - HPTC Member


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