Case Study: New Construction with Helical Piers at Fox Valley Mall

Did you know that helical piers can be used to secure children’s playgrounds?

In this case study, we’ll describe how we worked with the Fox Valley Mall to secure the foundation for a new treehouse and children’s playground area. If you’ve visited the mall recently, you know what a truly unique space this is.

Keep reading below to learn how we did it.

Background for a New Playground at Fox Valley Mall

The 1.5 million-square-foot Fox Valley Mall first opened in 1975. Located in Aurora, Illinois, this mall has been serving customers around the Chicago metropolitan area with stores like JCPenney and Sears.

They contacted USS regarding plans to build a large children’s play and recreation area in the center of the mall. It would feature a large treehouse constructed over two floors.

Mall staff discovered that the existing concrete couldn’t support the weight of the new treehouse. They were concerned that it wouldn’t be able to hold up the structure. Fox Valley Mall needed our help for helical pier foundation installation.

Installing Helical Piers & Pouring a New Concrete Pad

Our team knew that this was a serious job because it involved securing a children’s play area. There was no doubt it had to be 100% stable.

We worked with the project’s engineering firm to calculate the loads of the treehouse and to determine how much weight needed to be supported for the playground and recreation area.

With the plans drawn up, we removed the existing floor slab in order to find a concrete pad. Next, we cored 12-inch diameter holes into the floor pad and installed a series of helical piers through them. 

Each pier was driven to proper torque to ensure it supported the required load of the new structure. After the helical pile installation was complete, we poured a new concrete pad over the helical piers. They would serve as anchors for the pad.

Project Results

For this project in the Fox Valley Mall, we installed 1-¾” square shaft galvanized helical piers. The project was a success, and the weight of the new treehouse was supported by these helical piers.

The finished Fox Valley Mall Treehouse is one of the most unique indoor structures you’ll find in any shopping mall. Besides standing over two stories, it has an 850-square-foot viewing deck with connecting bridges and a spiral staircase.

Around the tree is a play area for children of all ages. It truly offers shoppers a rare experience.

Commercial Helical Piles Installation

United Structural Systems of Illinois, Inc. installs many helical piers for new factories, loading docks, or stores. We also get the opportunity to complete interesting projects like the treehouse at the Fox Valley Mall.

It’s unlike many of the foundation jobs we’ve done in the past, but we were proud to have been part of it.

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