Case Study: How USS Installed Helical Piers for an Indiana Amazon Distribution Center

Looking for a real-life example of how we’ve used helical piers to secure a commercial foundation?

Our commercial foundation services include helical piers for existing and new construction, helical tie-backs, resistance piles, and micropiles.

In this case study, we’ll discuss how we helped Amazon repair a damaged foundation in a warehouse they acquired in Gary, Indiana. Keep reading below to learn more.

Amazon Distribution Center Background

Amazon set out to open a new distribution center in Gary. Rather than construct a new facility, they purchased an existing empty warehouse in April 2019.

They completely renovated the interior of the warehouse and made plans to design a new loading dock on the building’s west wall.

Unfortunately, Amazon ran into an issue with this project. The new loading dock was to be at a lower elevation than the existing one. Once the concrete was removed and excavated to frame and pour the new loading dock, they discovered that the existing foundation wall and footing would be exposed.

This would increase the risk of poor sandy soil collapsing into the excavated trench under the weight of the building. As a result of this problem, the wall itself could eventually collapse.

How We Helped Secure the Existing Foundation

Amazon contracted United Structural Systems of Illinois, Inc. (USS) to install interior helical piers to underpin the existing foundation so it wouldn’t sink or collapse.

They also hired us to install helical wall tie-backs to the exterior of the building to prevent the wall from bowing outwards. Helical tie-backs are rods drilled through a foundation wall and into the exterior soil to help strengthen and straighten a bowing problem.

While the helical piers were needed to secure the warehouse foundation, the helical wall tie-backs were done as a preventative measure.

We didn’t want a bowing wall to create a potentially dangerous work environment or threaten the structural integrity of the entire building.

Project Results

Construction on the new Amazon distribution center ended in January 2020. Our commercial helical piers installation was successful.

The new loading dock was secured by helical pier installation on the footings after it was poured to avoid any problems with the sandy soil.

We ended up using 1.5-inch square shaft helical piers both for underpinning and the tie-back system. The piers were galvanized to protect them from the elements. They ran a helical flight pattern of 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches.

Amazon was able to open its new distribution center on time and use its new loading dock without having to worry about its long-term structural integrity.

Commercial Foundation Repair Experts

Here at USS, we specialize in helical pier foundation installation. These piers are best used for lighter structures or additions like Amazon’s new loading dock.

We are proud of the quality work we provided Amazon and wanted to share a real-life example of how we use helical piers to secure all types of foundations.

Call us today at 847-382-2882 if you have any questions about helical pier installation or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation.