If you work in construction, you’ll probably be familiar with a range of foundation methods. Individual footing or isolated footing, strip foundation, deep foundation, raft or mat foundation, drilled shafts, and piled foundations. They’ve all got uses in different conditions and projects. But there are some scenarios that call for a combined approach. Where a ring beam, concrete raft, or steel beam needs to be used in conjunction with screw piles for additional support and stability. The problem is, if you’ve not done it before, knowing how to tie the two together can be difficult. And it’s tempting to ignore the easiest solution in favour of the familiar.

But combining screw piles with traditional foundation methods is a lot less complicated than you might think.

How to Use Screw Piles with Ring Beams, Steel Beams, and Concrete Rafts


The most important step in any construction project using helical piles is preparation. Regardless of the secondary foundation method, you will need to work with a structural engineer to calculate the exact load of the finished project. Only then can you work out the pile size you’ll need to achieve the correct support. You will then need to contact a screw pile specialist, who will help you find the right pile length and number to complete the job.

Screw pile installation

Once you know how many piles you require, you will need to mark your site. In most instances, screw piles will need to be situated at intervals of 2 to 3 metres. This will provide the optimum support for your structure.

Mechanical installation

For most large-scale projects, screw piles are installed using a groundworks vehicle. Most commonly an excavator or skid steer. You will need one person to operate the vehicle and another to guide the piles and check the torque throughout installation. Once the pile has reached the correct depth it is immediately ready for use and you can move on to the next pile.  

Manual installation

For smaller projects, it is possible to install screw piles by hand. You just need two people and a screw pile installation tool. Simply install each helical pile until it reaches the desired level.

Attaching the screw piles to the foundations

Once the screw piles are in place, you will need to attach them to the secondary foundation type. In most cases, whether you are working with ring beams, steel beams, or a concrete raft, the screw piles will need to be completed with a flat plate termination. The supporting beams can then be bolted on, allowing the screw piles to act as an anchor for the structure.

However, with ring beams and steel beams, construction workers will sometimes feed steelwork into the top of the screw pile instead, thus tying the piles to the foundations.

Once either process has been completed, you can then continue with the standard foundation laying method associated with the foundation type.

Why would you use screw piles with ring beams, steel beams, or concrete rafts?

As we’ve already mentioned, each foundation type is suited to a particular set of circumstances. But there are times when one foundation type isn’t enough. Where the ground is soft, sandy, or likely to be subject to flooding and erosion, you need to find a way to provide additional support. And that is the role of the screw pile.

They can be installed quickly, and are ready to use immediately. And they create minimal site disruption. Which can be particularly important if you are building in close proximity to other structures.

Screw piles have become the go-to foundation solution for construction projects planned on potentially unstable ground. Cutting into the earth following a constant pitch, each size and type of helical pile is designed to suit a specific set of ground conditions. Ensuring that once in place, they remain stable and secure until they are no longer needed. At which point, they can be easily removed with a groundworks vehicle. They create little waste, require no excavation, and are extremely easy to use. Making them an ideal choice a range of projects. Whether as a standalone foundation solution, or as part of a combined one.

For more information about screw piles products and services, 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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