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Project Overview

All buildings – houses, offices, churches, stores, and everything in between – can experience foundation settlement. Settlement occurs when the soil underneath the structure consolidates, expands or heaves so that it can no longer support the building. Common signs of settlement are cracked drywall, window gaps and cracks, and stair-step wall cracks.

The maintenance supervisor of a public housing agency in Chillicothe, MO, noticed some of these signs on the interior and exterior of the main office building. He contacted Missouri expert Foundation Recovery Systems to get an estimate for repairs, and he met with one of the company’s inspectors. The inspector measured 1.75” of settlement, and he noted there was exterior brick damage and interior wall cracks. The Foundation Recovery Systems inspector then recommended the best option to stabilize and help lift the settling structure.

The building’s maintenance supervisor was impressed with the company’s inspector, his professionalism, and the solution to remediate the structural settlement.

This solution was to have one of Foundation Recovery Systems’ expert crews install seven 2 7/8” round shaft helical piers, also known as helical piles, underneath the two perpendicular settling walls. Each pile was installed with a 10-12 helix blade configuration.

Helical Piles are Installed to Lift and Stabilize Office Building’s Settling Foundation in Chillicothe, MO

by Holly Richards-Purpura

Foundation Recovery Systems

1401 US-24

Moberly, MO 65270


The crew first excavated 34 linear feet around the building so equipment could be used for the installation. The crew also dug down 2’ to expose the foundation footing.

Then, each galvanized steel pile was installed into the ground and down to more competent soil. Each pile had an approximate termination depth of 12 ft. below the footing elevation to an ultimate capacity of 50.4 Kips. The piles also were attached to foundation brackets that the crew had installed on the building’s footing.

These piles permanently stabilize the foundation walls, offer the best opportunity to lift the walls back to level, and prevent any further settlement. The Foundation Recovery Systems crew foreman said after the installation of the piles, the foundation was lifted approximately ¼” to ½” to correct the settlement that had occurred. This, as well as the crew’s thoroughness and respect for the property, impressed the owners who now have a safe and stable office building.