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City of Los Angeles has Finally Approved the Use of Helical Piles for New Construction Which Includes Seismic Design Categories D, E and F

by Darin Willis, P.E.


Fortified Engineering

October, 2022

After many years of trying to get the City of LA to accept new construction helical piles in their building code it was finally completed. This was accomplished in a large part due to the extensive full scale seismic testing performed at the University of California San Diego. Helical piles were tested in a dry sand in a study sponsored by the Deep Foundation Institute (DFI)  and led by Dr. Amy Cerato (University of Oklahoma). A second test was performed on the performance of helical piles in liquifiable soils that was sponsored by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) and led by Dr. Ramin Motamed (University of Nevada Reno). The data collected during these studies and the papers generated from them help convince the LA building officials of the viability and advantages of using helical piles in high seismic regions.

Yamil Moya and Manuel Chan with ICC-Evaluation Services were instrumental in working with a small helical pile sub-committee consisting of Darin Willis, Wayne Thompson, Gary Seider and Mark Bryant. After almost a year of back and forth Zoom meetings, questions, comments and responses, an agreement was finally reached where new construction helical piles could be used in the City LA in accordance to their commercial and residential building codes (LABC and LARC). Attached is the final approved conditions.

Click Here to Read LABC Approval Conditions