Screw piles are one of the most versatile foundation options available and can be used for a whole range of projects. From sheds and garden rooms to piers. But although they’ve been in use since 1833, it’s only in relatively recent years that their use has been adopted outside of large-scale construction. And it’s not always clear when screw piles are acceptable for use. So, one of the most common questions we are asked at UK Helix, is whether you can use screw piles with steel beams.
What You Need to Know About Using Screw Piles with Steel Beams
Can you use screw piles with steel beams?
The short answer here is, yes. Screw piles can be easily and quickly combined with steel beams to make a solid and durable foundation for a variety of construction projects; from workshops to house extensions.
How do screw piles and steel beams work together?
When screw pile foundations are installed, the piles protrude from the ground, providing an anchor point. Steel beams can be connected to this protruding point. On small projects like a workshop, a flat “end plate” may be used to terminate the screw pile; the beam may then be strapped to the plate. However typically the supporting beam is bolted to the end plate. You can then continue with your build as you would with any other construction project using steel beams.
Why use screw piles instead of concrete when building with steel beams?
Every build is different. And there will be some projects where screw piles simply aren’t appropriate – when you’re building on rocky ground, for example. But there are a number of benefits to using screw piles vs concrete.
To start with, screw piles are a lot faster to install. They are not weather dependent. And once they have been installed, they can be used immediately. So, there’s no wasted time. The screw piles can also be removed if needed.
There are many projects that require particularly deep foundations where it is not practical or advisable to use concrete foundations, think of projects where a foundational depth of 3 meters or more is required. The process is typically a lot cleaner and a lot less disruptive than concrete. And you don’t have any waste to dispose of once the build is complete.
How do you install screw piles?
Screw piles can be stalled in three ways.
- By hand. With a screw pile installation tool, it is possible for two people working as a team to simply wind a screw pile into the ground. Once you’ve reached the right depth, you can stop and move on to the next pile.
- With groundworks vehicles. Using an excavator you can perform the same task, only at a much greater speed. In this instance, you must ensure you have adequate site access for an excavator.
- Using an electric installation machine. The middle ground, these devices allow you to install screw piles by hand, only at a faster rate and with more torque. They are much smaller and quieter than groundworks vehicles. But they are also less common, and you may need to hire one from a specialist supplier.
Screw piles provide the ideal foundation solution for use with steel beams. They are strong, versatile, and durable. And when used for the right project, they can bring speed and efficiency that simply isn’t possible with concrete foundations.
Disclaimer –Information in this blog does not in any way constitute building advice or guidance for private or commercial building projects.