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Helical Piles are for the Birds. . . and All of God's Creatures
We love our animals in America. There are approximately 85 million companion animals or pets in the USA. The vast majority are comprised of 79.5 million dogs and cats and 68% of all households have at least one pet. We spent 62.75 billion dollars on our pets in 2016. I just spent $700 for oral surgery for one of our cats, Catty Mayonnaise, who never quite got the knack of kitty dental floss.
In January of this year, Danbro and one of our new Installers, Northeast Foundation & Concrete, were immersed in a construction project driven by the homeowner’s concerns for the potential negative impact on her beloved Parrots.
The project was tailor-made for helicals. The garage and driveway had developed cracks and were settling. A few cracks to start with, but over time, the situation got worse and worse. A subsurface investigation revealed that the garage had been built on top of an underground spring that was washing out the soil. The weight of the car, constantly coming and going, was accelerating the settlement. There were some of the usual access (overhead) issues associated with work inside a garage, but nothing out of the ordinary. It was clear that this was not going to be your ordinary “Helicals trump access” story.
Access issues on steroids
So, coming in 4th in the pet popularity contest are birds. The homeowner on Apple Drive wanted to avoid any and all stress for her two rescue parrots as the garage was attached to the house. There was to be no mess, no noise, no vibration, and no fumes. Many contractors would have walked away or delayed the job until the birds were on vacation. The homeowner declined to move herself and the parrots to a pet friendly hotel at the Installer’s expense until the job was completed; it was too cold in January to expose tropical denizens to the lower temperature and harsh elements while in transit. So, how do you install ANY deep foundation system with all of the above-mentioned limitations while facing the near impossible challenge of equipment access? Oh, and by the way, try to stay on budget!
Meet Ian Smith … a true helical hero!
Ian Smith, of Northeast Foundations & Concrete, aided and ably abetted by Nick Gill, of Danbro Distributors, proved to be “pet friendly” heroes of great resource. Here is how they accomplished the impossible on time and on budget.
They staged the backhoe, the noisy power source, in the street downwind and away from the house. They ran 100 ft. of hydraulic hose across the property to the garage. They used the hand-held portable installation unit to install the helicals and communicated by walkie talkies from the power source to the installer 100 feet away. (14) IDEAL helical pipe piles were installed to 15 ft. - (6) with underpinning brackets supporting the garage and (8) with new construction caps for the re-poured slab.
With resourcefulness and a remarkable spirit of customer service, the dynamic duo from Northeast Foundations & Concrete and Danbro completed this challenging job in one day, cleanly, quietly, and with no toxic fumes. The homeowner was very pleased, but the two men have yet to receive a thank you note from the birds!
by Pat Haffert
Danbro Vice President
The Author with Catty Mayonnaise