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DFI Helical Piles & Tiebacks Committee is Soliciting Assistance for a Major Helical (Screw) Pile – Seismic Research Study Project

by Bill Bonekemper


July, 2014 is teaming with the DFI to assist

with the dissemination of information to help

form and launch this important project

Working in conjunction with the Deep Foundation Institute (DFI), is using its global reach to solicit project data, volunteer research partners and funding contributions for a helical (screw) pile-seismic research study to be managed by the DFI’s Helical Piles & Tiebacks Committee (HPTC).

The HPTC mission statement is:

To advance the acceptance and use of helical piles and tiebacks and ultimately achieve  worldwide recognition as a valued deep foundation and earth retention system.  This shall be achieved via research, education, specification, and code development advanced and driven by a volunteer organization consisting of helical manufacturers, engineers, design professionals and contractors.

In keeping with its mission statement, HPTC members determined at their April 2014 meeting to adopt the following project definition:

It is proposed that a research study on the design and performance of helical (screw) piles under seismic conditions be undertaken. The results of this research study will be published in the DFI Journal. The study will concentrate on Seismic Design Categories D, E, and F as designated in the International Building Code (IBC), and soil Site Classes D (Stiff Soil), E (Soft Soil), and F (Special Soil) per the IBC.

The research will benefit the public by helping to ensure that helical (screw) piles are being applied and used effectively in seismically active areas.  The research will benefit the deep foundation industry by generation of a high quality journal article based on original research funded by various entities both public and private.  The research also may lead to better understanding of the behavior of other slender pile types under seismic loading including small diameter driven piles, micropiles, tiebacks and anchors.

In an effort to make the proposed study as comprehensive as possible and to ensure the project is adequately funded, the HPTC is reaching out to the global helical (screw) pile industry to:

- Solicit case history and project performance data for structures designed by a registered professional engineer and founded on helical (screw) piles that have been subjected to a nearby earthquake

- Solicit volunteer research contributions from industry professionals and academicians with relevant helical pile-seismic research, laboratory simulation or field testing data

- Solicit funding from helical pile manufacturers, installation contractors, engineering companies and others with a vested interest in expanding our industry’s ability to effectively use helical (screw) piles and anchors in seismic zones D, E and F

Individuals and companies interested in helping with this project should contact either:

Bill Bonekemper

HPTC Member


Mary Ellen Bruce, P.E., D.GE

DFI Technical Activities Manager