Case Study: Pier Load Testing & Helical Pier Installation at a Local High School

Students at Vernon Hills High School were excited to hear about the construction of a new athletics facility on campus.

But, before work on the facility could begin, the school district had to ensure that it was properly supported with a strong foundation.

Keep reading the following case study to learn how we installed helical piers and conducted pier load testing for the school’s new foundation.

Vernon Hills High School Addition Background

Recently, the USS team was contacted to assist with an addition at Vernon Hills High School in northern Chicago. The school first opened in 1999 and now wanted to construct a large addition to the front and rear areas of the school.

We were asked to help with the front addition, which would house a new pool, fitness area, and gym.

Between the pool and all of the mechanicals that would need to be added, a tremendous amount of weight would need to be supported in this addition. Geotechnical engineers found that the soil was unable to support the extra weight.

Unsuitable soil can cause foundation issues because the ground will swell or shrink depending on the water level.

Helical pier foundation installation was needed to secure the weight of the new structure.

Pier Load Testing & Helical Pier Installation

The foundation repair team from USS worked in coordination with the structural engineer to install a grid pattern of helical piers in the areas where the new load-bearing columns would be constructed. 

We started by excavating the area around each column site approximately four feet to the bottom of the new concrete footing. These columns would be responsible for supporting the new addition, so we needed them to be secure.

Our team installed 3.5” diameter helical piers around these new footings. The piers were installed to a depth of between 35-42 feet deep in all locations. Helical piers need to be driven to the proper torque.

Project Results

Before the new foundation could be considered secured, USS needed to install two sacrificial helical piles and perform a load test to ensure the helical piles could support the load of the concrete, new columns, and the building.

The renovations will provide students with more opportunities to get involved in athletics and will enhance the ability of different programs to get facility access.

Our helical pile foundation installation will ensure that the foundation of the new pool, fitness area, and gym is permanently secured. Generations of new students will be able to enjoy the new facilities for years to come.

Commercial Helical Piles Installation

Although the Vernon Hills High School renovation wouldn’t be considered a commercial project, it required us to work at a much larger scale than the foundation work we do on residential homes. Helical piers are an effective solution for many foundation issues.

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.