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Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Magnum Bulletin ISO-GEN1-11A HELICAL PILE/ANCHOR CASE HISTORIES AND ASSOCIATED LESSONS LEARNED Presented at DFI Helical Foundations Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 2010 Howard A. Perko, Ph.D., PE Director of Engineering for Magnum Geo-Solutions, LLC Chairman, DFI Helical Foundations and Tie-Backs Committee Author, Helical Piles: A Practical Guide to Design & Installation
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved With the variety of subsurface profiles, diverse geologic conditions, and a myriad of structures to be supported, the engineer and contractor need as many resources in their tool belt as possible. Helical piles and helical anchors represent one of those tools which, when used correctly, perform effectively. Like all piles and ground reinforcing elements, helical piles and helical anchors used incorrectly can have less than favorable results. Several case histories with less than favorable results are presented so the audience can learn the correct application of helical piles and helical anchors. Among the case histories are an underpinning project that resulted in a temporary moratorium on helical piles in New York City, a tie-back wall at a stadium, a sea wall with poor load test results, excessive settlement of grouted helical piles, and a residential underpinning project where a worker was unfortunately killed. Among the lessons learned are improper lateral bracing, torque miscalibration, and design changes during construction. Abstract
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved The case histories include helical piles/anchors manufactured by different companies collected over 18 years of experience by Howard Perko, Ph.D., P.E. The presentation is not meant to criticize any particular installer or manufacturers systems and is certainly not a criticism of helical piles/anchors in general. Any interpretation of this sort is purely accidental. Rather, Dr. Perko has dedicated much of his life to understanding these devices, is a proponent of them, and believes the best way to promote the industry is to teach about potential pitfalls in design and application through a discussion of case histories. Some of the case histories are ongoing cases wherein Dr. Perko has been retained as an expert consultant and the name and location of the projects has been withheld. Disclaimer
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Outline I. Buckled Underpinning in New York (a case for lateral bracing) II. Stadium Soil Nail Wall Failure (a review of common anchor design mistakes) III. Out-of-Spec Sea Wall Anchors (the importance of torque calibration) IV. Down-Drag of Grouted Helical Piles (failure to account for consolidation) V. Collapse During Foundation Repair (death as a result of undermining) VI. Settlement of Apartment Buildings (designing from flawed load tests and ignoring theory) VII. Scaffold Collapse on Helical Piles (a failure to provide lateral stability)
Buckled Underpinning in New York
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Helical piles were installed to reduce settlement during conventional concrete underpinning Footing rotated, piles buckled, and building settled severely Photo shows supplemental raker bracing system installed with deadmen piles after settlement occurred Printed by permission of NYC DOB
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Photo shows buckled pile and rotated bracket system Helical piles were slender shaft, possibly with reinforcing T-Pipe sleeves All piles were installed along the outside of the building This and a similar failure were catalysts to a nearly 2 yr moratorium on helical piles in NYC Printed by permission of NYC DOB
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Potential Cause of Failure Failed to follow an existing code provision to brace the tops of piles Per IBC2006: Pile or Pier Stability (Similar Section in NYC BC) All piles shall be braced for lateral stability Three or more piles per cap is considered braced Piles staggered under a wall are considered braced Otherwise provide engineered means of lateral bracing
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved One solution is to stagger the piles on both sides of the foundation wall.
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Another solution is to brace the wall laterally by doweling into the floor slab as in this photo. Square plates along the base of the wall are concrete anchors extending into the building slab. All piles were designed to withstand buckling while excavation was open.
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Another solution is to install tie-back anchors to brace the foundation at the top of the piles.
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved On smaller structures, bracing can be achieved internally. From Perko (2009) Helical Piles, Wiley, NY
Stadium Soil Nail Wall Failure
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved 3 rows of helical soil nails Approximately 15-foot cut between bleachers Reportedly a progressive failure
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Potential Causes of Failure Soil nails lacked continuous bonding Soil nail spacing too far Soil nail length too short Bearing capacity failure Insufficient lapping of reinforcing steel Poor drainage
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Typical soil anchor wall Purpose is to hold back facing Rigid facing that spans between anchors Post-tension anchors Helical bearing plates located far outside failure plane Anchors at angle from horizontal Foundation resists downward component of anchor force Large anchor spacing Higher capacity, longer anchors Drainage behind wall From Perko (2009) Helical Piles, Wiley, NY
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Typical soil nail wall Purpose is to build a reinforced soil block Minimal spacing that simply resists raveling Generally not post-tensioned Helical bearing plates located within failure plane Anchors often horizontal Minimal foundation Small anchor spacing Low capacity, short anchors Drainage behind wall From Perko (2009) Helical Piles, Wiley, NY
Out-of-Spec Sea Wall Anchors
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved 1 row of approximately 35 long helical tie-backs Continuous torque readings during installation Approximately 15-foot cut to removed failed timber crib wall All 18 helical anchors failed proof test Supplemental anchors based on same design methods, installed by same crew using different torque motor passed proof tests
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Potential Cause of Failure Flawed torque motor calibration
Down-Drag of Grouted Helical Piles
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Grouted pull-down piles Houses settled several inches Approximately 7-feet of site grading fill Piles bottomed in soft clay, grouted full depth
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Down-drag of site grading fill on grouted pile Potential Cause of Failure From Perko (2009) Helical Piles, Wiley, NY
Collapse During Foundation Repair
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved An addition was being constructed on the back of this home The existing back wall experienced settlement A foundation repair contractor was called out to install several piles along the back wall
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved During installation of piers, the wall suddenly collapsed, tragically killing one of the workers. Possible causes of accident may include undermining of existing footing, failure to account for eccentricity exerted on foundation by underpinning system, and lack of lateral bracing of foundation wall
Settlement of Apartment Buildings
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Approximately 140 helical piles installed to support several 5-story apartment buildings Design load of helical piles= 45 to 65 tons Immediately after construction, several of the buildings exhibited settlement on the order of 4 Three of the buildings had to be demolished and re-built. The others were repaired by underpinning.
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Potential Causes of Failure Non-conforming helix invalidates capacity to torque readings Insufficient bearing area; relied on torque alone and did not check theoretical bearing capacity Over-reliance on load tests
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Flawed load test results, actual measured deflection impossible because it is less than calculated elastic shortening of the helical pile shaft
Scaffold Collapse on Helical Piles
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Example Frame Scaffolding (Note: This is not the actual scaffold that collapsed. Due to confidentiality, actual scaffold cannot be shown.) Approximately 4-story tall, temporary, stand-alone scaffold towers were erected to construct an elevated concrete walkway Each scaffold tower was supported on 8 helical piles During concrete placement, scaffold gave-way killing one worker and injuring 18 others
Copyright © 2010 Howard Perko All Rights Reserved Potential Causes of Failure Structural issues associated with scaffold design (lack of lateral-torsional bracing) Foundation and structure relied upon each other for stability; together they were unstable No lateral capacity specification for the piles Square-shaft helical piles had negligible lateral capacity
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