One of the most useful applications of screw piles is when you need to build on unstable soil. Without them, creating strong footings can be almost impossible. Making any subsequent structures fundamentally unsound. But while screw piles can help to provide the necessary support you need to build on soft ground, they do need to be paired with a base on which the building can rest. In some circumstances a steel beam, concrete raft, or ring beams will provide the solution. But a grade beam is also a viable option.

What Do You Need to Know About Using Grade Beams with Screw Piles?

What is a grade beam?

A grade beam is a peripheral sill created from either structural steel or reinforced concrete. They can be positioned either below the surface or above the ground. And just like other foundation types, they enable the even distribution of the building’s weight. On unstable or soft ground, screw piles will be used with grade beams in order to provide maximum support and stability.

How should you use screw piles with grade beams?


In order to successfully install screw piles for use with grade beams, you will need to calculate the final load of your project. If you are working with a structural engineer, they will do this for you. Without this knowledge, you will not be able to accurately determine the size of the screw piles best suited to your project. Or the number of screw piles required.

Mark your site

Once you’ve ascertained how many screw piles you require, you will need to mark out your site for installation. Screw piles are usually installed at regular intervals to provide optimum stability.

Install your screw piles

The beauty of screw pile installation is that it can be managed without an excavation. Unless you are intending to site your grade beam underground, as long as the ground is clear, you can install your screw piles. This can be managed by hand for small projects. Or using groundworks vehicles if you’re working on a larger scale. Simply screw the piles into the ground until they reach the desired torque. Complete each pile with a flat plate termination or bracket, depending upon the needs of your project.

Attach your grade beams

Before continuing with construction, you will need to attach your grade beam to your screw piles. The method that you use to do this will depend upon the nature of your project. Often, groundworks professionals will finish the screw pile with a pile hat that can be incorporated into the beam. Alternatively they can use steel work that ties into the top of the screw-pile and is then incorporated into the beam.

Why use grade beams and screw piles?

The combination of grade beams and screw piles simply gives your building a stronger footing. But it can also carry other benefits.

·        Using screw piles avoids the costly and time-consuming excavation that is associated with the use of concrete piles. Not to mention the risk of collapsing excavations.

·        While driven piles may be another option in unstable soil, the noise and vibration can often agitate surrounding structures and neighbors. 

·        With screw piles, the project can also be completed with environmental disturbance. Leading to a cleaner and smoother install process.

Building on unstable soil is never easy. It can be one of the most frustrating and expensive construction experiences. But when you use screw piles with a grade beam, most of the common difficulties can be simply and cost-effectively overcome.

To find out more about using screw piles for your next building project, get in touch with UK Helix.  

DisclaimerInformation in this blog does not in any way constitute building advice or guidance for private or commercial building projects.

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