VIDEOS: 2 Great Blue Chip Decks on Postech Screw Piles

Winnipeg has a number of skilled and professional deck builders and we are fortunate to support many of the City’s great decks.  Blue Chip Decks, a great example of local pros, has prepared two videos of decks built on Postech Screw Piles which are worth checking out!

If you got some ideas from the videos for your own backyard, check out the Blue Chip Decks website:  www.bluechipdecks.com

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Screw Pile Tip #2: GET A CLICK BEFORE YOU DIG

Often we are told by a customer that they know where their lines are located and a Call Before You Dig (now called a Click Before You Dig) is not required.

Fortunately, most customers are understanding when we insist that we still conduct a Click Before You Dig prior to installing the screw piles.

Sadly, every year we lose potential customers to competitors who are willing to drill without first locating gas or electrical lines.

Winnipeg Screw Pile Tip #2:

Only give business to a screw pile company that insists on a Click Before You Dig.

This tip might not seem important but if a company is willing to drill blind, you should consider the following:

  • What other corners are they willing to cut?
  • Why don’t they care enough about their people, customers and community to ensure their work is safe and won’t put them at potential risk?
  • Why are they willing to risk all jobs (company’s future) for one job?
  • Insurance claims may be denied in a case of gross negligence or wilful disregard.

Fortunately, a Click Before You Dig is relatively easy to coordinate in Winnipeg or rural Manitoba and can be done online at www.clickbeforeyoudigmb.com OR if you prefer, you can call 1.800.940.3447 OR even give our office a call at 204.793.0653 and we will coordinate the utility locate on your behalf.

Typically there is a 3 to 10 day wait for the Hydro lines to be located and the work needs to be performed within 2 weeks of the locates having been completed.

Note that some rural and cottage country areas do not have buried lines and in such cases a written confirmation can be secured quickly and easily within a day or two.

Note that private utilities such as an electrical line from the house to detached garage, may need to be located privately.  Also, any water lines which could be at play would need to be located privately as well.

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Winnipeg Screw Pile Tip #1 – AVOID SOIL ASSUMPTIONS

With over 20 years of “screw pile’ish” technology being used in and around Winnipeg, Manitobans have grown to be aware of what a screw pile / ground anchor is.

Unfortunately Winnipeg was led to believe that screw piles should come with a sticker featuring an “engineer approved” capacity.  This is NOT a best practice as the capacity rating on the sticker is based purely on an assumption that soil density is 1,500 psf.

There is an empirical relationship between torque achieved during the installation of a screw pile and the capacity of the screw pile.   This means, by measuring torque, you can actually confirm that the soil is capable of supporting a design load – NO ASSUMPTIONS!

Some Manitoba building authorities have gotten stuck on the way things have been done for over 20 years.  However, screw piles have always been intended to be installed using a site specific engineered process.

Engineers who work extensively with screw piles grow to especially appreciate the technology due to an empirical torque to capacity relationship.

Screw Pile Tip #1: 

If the company you are looking to invest with does not monitor toque to verify capacities, you are gambling unnecessarily.

Stay tuned for more screw pile tips or get your free copy of Winnipeg’s Screw Pile Survival Guide at www.ScrewPilesManitoba.ca

Posted in Manitoba Soils and Screw Piles, Screw Pile Engineering, Screw Piles, Torque Monitored Installation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Save Money Saving Your Dock

Winnipegers seem to have got the message that Postech’s team of helical screw pile installers can perform magic when it comes to underpinning a sunken deck, porch, addition or home.  Recently, we put our underpinning skills to work on stabilizing a dock with a wonky cribbed foundation.

The customer was hopeful to make his dock usable without tearing it down and starting fresh.  The budget also was substantially less than what any new dock might cost.

The initial challenge was determining the best strategy for getting a piled foundation under a cribbed dock.  Several plans were drawn up with the bulk of them requiring that all decking be pulled up and then replaced.  Ultimately a plan was created where the piles would be installed strictly around the perimeter of the dock using a combination of offset brackets, I-beams and a picture frame skirting and decking detail for a seamless end result.

Cribbed Dock Underpin Plan

With the window of opportunity to work on the ice nearing close, our team got quickly to work.  The piles installed ranged in depth from 10 to 40 feet and the piles and components were all hot-dip galvanized to ensure long life (approximately 2.5 times life vs. black steel).

The most challenging aspect of the project was the removal of existing cribs while installing I-beams.  A secondary challenge was figuring out the skirting detail that would be stand up to the ice while hiding the screw piles and I-beams.

Whether you want a new dock or want to solidify an existing dock our team of helical screw pile experts would be happy to work with you on a solution that meets your budget and keeps you smiling for many years to come.

 

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Piles Inside a Hotel? Call Postech!

Postech Installers have been on their fair share of “interesting” job sites but it was uniquely cool to drive through the front doors of a local hotel and navigate our way into the laundry room.

 

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Our customer was tasked with eliminating undesired vibrations passed through the floors and walls of the hotel by the commercial laundry machines.  The floor was built solid to support the weight of the machines but was not effective in isolating the shaking which occurred for several minutes when the machines would reach certain cycles.  Hotels tend to do a lot of laundry so this was problematic.

A 3 foot crawlspace existed below the floor and several plumbing pipes ran across the space.  It was also important that down-time of the machines be minimized as they served a vital role in the operations of the establishment.

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With the floor cut open per the footprint of the machines another challenge became apparent – there would be only a 7 inch gap to work with and the piles needed to be very close to one wall.

The crew exercised a considerable amount of caution bringing the excavator through the lobby, down and hall and around a challenging corner and into the laundry room.

Once inside, venting was added to the excavator and ran outside a window to ensure no exhaust fumes in the room.  This was surprisingly effective with not even a hint of diesel exhaust smell in the air.

Each screw pile was brought in a split pile design to allow us to maneuver the piles in the restrictive crawl space.  The piles were stood through the 7 inch gap and extensions were secured with galvanized structural bolts.  As the piles were turned into the ground, the walls were protected with plywood and a finishing extension was added to turn the piles down to desired height.

 

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With all 6 piles down and located perfectly in place or within a fraction of a inch, the welder finished up by securing heavy duty plates to support the machines as well as bracing in the crawlspace to ensure any lateral forces were isolated.  Because screw piles, unlike concrete piles, require zero curing, the machines could be loaded onto and secured to the piles immediately.

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With the machines now supported independently from the rest of the structure, they no longer vibrate or shake the floors and total comfort has been achieved.  The customer was thrilled to have found a solution that was not only cost effective in terms of the piling invoice received but that also greatly reduced downtime which further compounded savings.

Do you have a project where the challenging conditions have you scratching your head?  Perhaps, Postech Screw Piles has a solution – Call us at 204.793.0653 and see if you can stump our team or if we can provide an out of the box solution to save the day.

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Screw Piles (David) Slay Concrete Piles (Goliath) In This Case Study

Liquid Storage Install 3

You are the manager of a plant operation tasked with the installation of a 72,000 liter liquid storage tank.  You won’t be shutting down the day to day operations.  In fact, it is expected that little to no disturbance to regular business operations occur.

Closing your eyes, you envision the process for boring 0.5 meter [20in.] diameter by 9 meter [30ft] cast in place piles.  A compact drill rig will be required due to overhead restrictions, this means additional time onsite for the process of continuously adding and removing auger extensions and clearing tailings.

The tailings are going to be a real issue.  Your operation requires a clean and controlled space; piling the tailings inside won’t be an option.

The thought of constant back and forth to haul tailings out of the building has you wondering how to coordinate your employees and the piling crew so they aren’t bumping each other in the hallways.

Maybe it’s not so bad.  How much of a mess could eight piles create anyway?

Curious you calculate the volume of each pile and reach a grand total of 14.8 cubic meters [523 cu.ft.]… that sounds like a lot!  Google is telling you to multiply the undisturbed volume of the soil by at least 1.3 to gain a realistic expectation for the true volume of disturbed soil.  Just like that, the tailings from a mere 8 piles will require two dump trucks and more than 110 wheelbarrow trips through the plant.

In addition to everything, two concrete trucks will need to access the site to fill the bore holes.

Recently, the team at Postech Screw Piles Manitoba helped a local concerned plant manager make the experience of piling a 72,000 liter liquid storage tank easy and pleasurable.  Little to no disturbance of the day to day operations occurred and 8 multi-helix screw piles were installed to 12 meter [40 ft] depths without mess.  Torque monitoring of the installation and on-site load tests both confirmed that design loads of 133 kN [30,000lbs] where satisfied while the smile on the plant manager’s face confirmed he was satisfied.

P.S. This is a case study demonstrating savings that can be realized beyond a per pile estimate provided by a piling company. In this particular case, screw piles were also estimated cheaper than concrete further compounding the savings.

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Buried Treasure Under Your Home

Did you know that very few homes in Winnipeg built by mass home builders are built with ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) or Superior Wall (precast walls built in controlled factory)?  It’s surprising to me that this is the case because in comparison to formed and poured concrete walls, these two products provide a tremendous value – so much so that many of the owners and executives of mass home building companies build their own homes with these products.

Why would builders use inferior technology when it comes to something as imperative as a home’s foundation?

Simple.  When a family tours a show home, they don’t salivate over the foundation.  Granite countertops sell, foundation walls don’t.  Most home builders consider foundation upgrades to be a direct hit to their profit – “if they can’t see it, they don’t want to pay for it.”

Granite countertops are luxurious and tasteful but did you know that you can get fake granite that will fool your friends for thousands less?  Did you know that those couple thousand dollars of savings could get you into a foundation wall system that could save you many thousands of dollars in costly foundation repairs?

Did you know that a CIP (cast in place) concrete pile is engineered based on a soil assumption?  That’s right… they make an educated guess as to the competency of the soil under your home.  During the process of boring holes and filling them with concrete and rebar, the soil is not tested to ensure that the soil capacity assumption made is in fact met or exceeded.

You know what they say about when you assume?  It makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.   Perhaps you know someone or some people with foundation issues in newer homes built on concrete piles?  We’ve met quite a few over the years and many over the course of 2017 being a dry year with periods of heavy rain.

Helical screw piles in contrast to concrete piles are professionally installed using an engineered process for verifying soil capacities.  By monitoring the torque during installation, a professional screw pile installer can ensure that design criteria is satisfied – guaranteed.

Winnipeg soils are often unpredictable, loose soils are common and competent soil stratas are sometimes 50 or more feet deep, therefore a screw pile foundation won’t always be as cheap at the onset as a poured in place concrete pile.  The key is that the investment is only more expensive at the onset.  Note, sometimes they are cheaper at the onset as well; typical in areas of Winnipeg with shallow hard pan or in some suburbs.

You’ll never be able to tour your friends under your basement to show off your hot-dip galvanized engineered Postech Screw Piles or peel back the drywall to show off your Superior Walls or ICF basement.  However, if you tour a savvy engineer, contractor or architect through your home, they’ll appreciate the buried treasures working hard to keep your investment solid.

Learn more about helical screw piles by visiting www.screwpiling.ca or contact Dale Plett at 204.793.0653.

Posted in Construction, Foundation Repair with Screw Piles, Manitoba Soils and Screw Piles, Piling, Screw Pile Engineering, Screw Piles, Screw Piles for Homes, Screw Piles for ICF Foundations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Screw Piles & Light Structures = No Brainer for Manitobans

The screw pile industry markets hard that screw piles are cheaper than concrete.  The truth is that screw piles can be used for a wide range of projects and, depending on the soil characteristics, they aren’t always cheaper.

However, here is a bold claim –  Screw piles are cheaper for lightly loaded structures.

It’s a bold claim and I wrestled with myself whether or not it was true.  I determined that when you zoom out and look at the big picture, it’s true for Manitobans every time.  Here is why:

Screw piles for lightly loaded structures are most often cheaper than a concrete sonotube (CIP) or belled (big foot) piles.

 I won’t go as far to say that screw piles will always be cheaper because some concrete companies are willing to price themselves out of business (you’ll find some in the screw pile industry as well).  Also, not all concrete piles are created equal; Yes, a 6 foot deep concrete pile will support your deck but it will not resist frost heave.

Screw pile installation won’t ruin the landscaping or leave an awful mess.

The collateral damage from traditional concrete piling has a cost.  This cost is often overlooked but can range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.  For some folks, the highest cost is having their yard down for repairs and not available for enjoyment.

Concrete piles often heave when lightly loaded and especially when outside a heated space.

Concrete piles under your home have a very high chance of performing as designed. However, a quick stroll through any of Winnipeg’s new developments and you can’t help but notice cracking on the front steps from heaving.  You will also find a disproportionate amount of frost effected piles under unheated structures like decks and sunrooms.  The reason is simple, concrete is porous and frost forces are strong.

A screw pile for a lightly loaded structure (deck, sunroom, solar farm, etc.) in contrast is small enough to be considered a non-displacement pile which translates into English as a pile with a shaft small enough that the frost forces are negligible compared to the resistance created at the helical blade.  Frost heaved piles are generally very expensive to remedy and most people will just suffer along with a deck or porch they aren’t happy with.

When you consider the big picture, a screw pile of a lightly loaded structure is a no brainer.  Just remember, in the same way that not all concrete piles or companies are equal, not all screw piles or screw pile companies are equal; do your research and you will ensure worry free screw pile foundation for a great value.

 

Posted in Screw Piles, Screw Piles and Decks, Screw Piles and Solar, Screw Piles for Docks, Screw Piles for Porch with Roof, screw piles for sunrooms, Screw Piles in Frozen Soil, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Baeumler Approved Screw Pile Company for Manitoba & Kenora!

Postech Screw Piles – Manitoba and Kenora is Baeumler Approved.  We are very excited and proud to be a part of the Baeumler Approved family.  Our status of Baeumler Approved means we are recognized as striving to meet the same as Bryan Baeumler of quality work and honesty with customers.

We are particularly thrilled because we really like Bryan Baeumler and feel he very much represents a professional Canadian contractor – he does great work while having a great time.

Stan & Bryan Baeumler

Posted in Screw Piles and Decks, Screw Piles and Solar, Screw Piles as Anchors, Screw Piles for Commercial Projects, Screw Piles for Cottages / Cabin, Screw Piles for Docks, Screw Piles for Garages, Screw Piles for Home Additions, Screw Piles for Homes, Screw Piles for ICF Foundations, Screw Piles for Pergola, Screw Piles for Pools, Screw Piles for Porch with Roof, Screw Piles for Sea Containers, Screw Piles for Stairs, Screw Piles for Structural Slabs, screw piles for sunrooms, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Affordable Geotechnical Investigations and Reports for Residential Building Projects in Winnipeg, MB

There is a strong push by local building authorities and engineers to complete geotechnical investigations and reports from which to base structural foundation designs for any residential building project that results in 4 season living space.  This would mean that new home builds, home additions and some sunroom projects will require an investment of thousands of dollars to ensure the foundation is designed according to the soil conditions.

Additional hoops can be frustrating but we all know more than one Winnipegger who has broken the bank dealing with foundation failures due to soil capacities much lower than assumed.  Perhaps building costs were relatively low until recent years and the tradition of engineering based on norms was an acceptable practice.  With the granite countertops, imported tile and fixtures that cost more than a television, the stakes are higher than ever and the authorities feel pressure to enforce higher standards.

Let’s face it, a geotechnical investigation and report, as expensive as they are, is still exponentially cheaper than a foundation failure.

The great news is that Postech Screw Piles Manitoba and NW Ontario now has proprietary technology to efficiently and effectively provide a residential geotechnical investigation and engineered stamped report for half to one quarter of what some local geotechnical engineering firms are charging.

Reports can typically be turned around in 1 to 2 weeks compared the industry standard 4 to 6 week time frame.

And, we can complete the work using small tracked equipment that will leave little if any impacts to your landscaping.

“But is this is a proper soils investigation or a cowboy report using questionable and unproven methods for determining soil capacities?”

NO, our system has been carefully created in partnership with geotechnical and structural engineers.  Although unique and innovative, our process still results in undisturbed soil samples in shelby tubes along with measurements of soil capacities.  Furthermore, our system generates an engineered site-specific formula for correlating pile installation torque to soil capacity as an additional performance predictor.

To learn more about how Postech Screw Piles can help you build faster and better with less headaches, call Dale Plett, B.Sc.Eng., Director of Customer Consultation at 204.793.0653.

Posted in Screw Pile Engineering, Screw Piles for Home Additions, Screw Piles for Homes, screw piles for sunrooms, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment