A Brief History of Screw-Piling and its Benefits

Screw-piling, also known as helical piling or helical piles, is a foundation construction technique that has evolved over centuries. Here is a brief overview of the history of screw-piling:

  • Industrial Revolution: The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries brought technological advancements that led to the development of metal screw piles. Engineers and inventors, such as Alexander Mitchell and Alexander Graham Bell, made significant contributions to the design and application of screw-piles during this period. Screw-piles were used extensively for light houses and piers during this period and many of these structures still stand today.
  • Modernisation: In the 20th century, screw-piling technology continued to evolve, with improvements in materials and machinery. Screw piles became more widely used in 
  • construction, especially in situations where traditional foundation methods were impractical.
  • Contemporary Applications: Today, screw-piling is a well-established foundation technique used in a wide range of construction projects, from residential buildings to industrial facilities and infrastructure. Modern screw piles are typically made of steel and can be installed using specialised machinery. 
  • Increasingly, situations such as poor conditions, tree protection order, poor access to site or simply the desire to avoid concrete warranted the use of screw-piles.

Benefits of Screw-Piling as a Form of Foundation

Screw-piling offers several advantages as a foundation method, making it a popular choice in various construction scenarios:

  • Speed and Efficiency: Screw piles can be installed quickly, often in a matter of hours, reducing construction time and labor costs.
  • Minimal Site Disturbance: Screw-piling causes minimal disruption to the surrounding environment since it does not require excavation. This is particularly beneficial in environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Versatility: Screw piles can be used in a wide range of soil types and ground conditions, making them versatile for different construction projects.
  • Load-Bearing Capacity: Screw piles are known for their excellent load-bearing capacity, providing strong and stable foundations for structures.
  • Year-Round Installation: Screw piles can be installed in various weather conditions, allowing for year-round construction.
  • No Concrete Cure Time: Unlike traditional concrete foundations, screw piles do not require curing time, which can expedite construction schedules.
  • Adjustability: Screw piles can be adjusted in height, making them suitable for uneven or sloping terrain.
  • Reusability: In some cases, screw piles can be removed and reused, reducing waste and environmental impact.
  • Cost-Effective: The speed of installation, reduced labor, and versatility often result in cost savings compared to traditional foundation methods.
  • Proven Performance: Screw-piling has a track record of success in various applications, ensuring the reliability of this foundation technique.

Overall, screw-piling has evolved from ancient manual methods to a modern, efficient, and reliable foundation solution. Its benefits make it a valuable choice for construction projects seeking stable and cost-effective foundations.


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