Frequently Asked Questions
What engineering services do you provide?
We provide all engineering services for foundation design and installation procedure, including geotechnical and structural. All of our drawings are stamped by a registered professional engineer (P.E.) for the respective jurisdiction of installation.
Who does your foundation installation?
Our installations are performed by our own crew. For especially large projects or tight project deadlines, we may recruit additional personnel, and often from the respective local area of the project.
In what geographic areas do you work?
We have installations from Pennsylvania to Colorado and South Carolina to Michigan! We can work almost anywhere in the contiguous United States. For smaller projects, we will do work in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky.
What is the cost?
Structural Foundations often cost 25% to 50% less than deep foundations, piles, pile alternatives, concrete caissons, aggregate piers, helical piers, and large concrete pours.
What are Structural Foundations and what are they used for?
Structural Foundations are high-capacity structural steel foundations that substitute deep foundations, piles (h-piles, pipe piles, screw piles / helical piers), concrete caissons, aggregate piers, and large concrete pours. In most applications, Structural Foundations provide load capacities for less cost per unit of load than these foundation types. Structural Foundations are engineered by geotechnical and structural engineers, and bear a P.E. stamp for the respective jurisdiction of installation. Extensively validated and installed in the United States since 1986, Structural Foundations provide a superior foundation solution for buildings, industrial structures, and other applications.
How much time can Structural Foundations save?
Structural Foundations require no impact blows unlike traditional piles and far less drilling (smaller diameter holes and much shallower depths) than pile variants, saving hours, if not days, in installation. Where concrete is used, cure times commonly range between seven and 28 days. That's seven to 28 days when you can't build on it! Also, concrete installations can become impractical in conditions of low ambient temperatures or frozen ground. Structural Foundations can be installed in mere minutes up to an hour's time year-round, regardless of ambient or ground temperatures, and can be built upon immediately following installation.
How will Structural Foundations work in poor soils?
The Structural Foundations' installation process can improve soils' bearing capacity. Loose soils and poor soils can be consolidated and compacted in this installation process, greatly improving their bearing capacity. The capability to improve soils' bearing capacity distinguishes Structural Foundations from other foundation types, achieving required capacity with less foundation material and therefore less cost. This capability to improve soils' bearing capacity has been validated by the U.S. Department of Energy - NREL in a Structural Foundations' installation for a large wind turbine application.
Do Structural Foundations work in rock?
Yes. Structural Foundations work as well in hard and soft rock combinations as in compacted and loose soils. Once the hole is drilled, the installation procedure and time needed is substantially the same.
What kind of equipment is needed for installation?
Little more is needed than a small crane or front-end loader, an auger for drilling, and a compact hydraulic system.
How are the excavated materials disposed?
The excavated material is returned to the steel pipe of the foundation system after installation, with any remaining (from swell) of such minor amount that it can be spread in the vicinity of the installation.
What sizes of Structural Foundations are available?
Physical sizes of Structural Foundations have ranged from top plates having dimensions as small as 12 in. x 12 in. up to 7 ft. x 7 ft. Lengths (to achieve specified depth and bearing or moment capacity) have ranged from as short as 3 ft. up to 22 ft. Weights have ranged from 300 lbs. to over 3 tons! Installed bearing capacities of a single foundation have ranged from 20 kips (10 tons) to more than 600 kips (300 tons)! Structural Foundations can be made in virtually any size and designed for virtually any loading requirements.
How can I be confident that Structural Foundations will bear a certain capacity?
Because bearing capacity is verified at the time of installation through the application of known force by the hydraulic system. A hydraulically installed Structural Foundation is a tested foundation!
Will Structural Foundations settle or creep?
The method of installing Structural Foundations consolidates and compacts soils and combinations of rocks and soils. The capacity of the foundation is known in installation. This virtually eliminates settling and creep of the structure at loading equal to or less than the applied installing load.
Structural Foundations are made of steel. Won't that rust and deteriorate?
Driven piles commonly last for 100+ years...and Structural Foundations uses equivalent or even more robust materials! With installations since 1986, not one Structural Foundation has required maintenance or replacement. Structural Foundations are fabricated from high-strength structural steel and when specified, hot-dip galvanized in accordance with ASTM A123 / A123M standards. These are robust materials with known durability and properties, providing superior corrosion resistance both beneath and above ground. Galvanized coatings are ubiquitous on construction materials and hardware having steel substrates. Structural Foundations can achieve a maintenance-free lifetime of 100+ years.
How is it that Structural Foundations can be removed and used again?
Each Structural Foundation is an integral, single piece that is highly portable. Removal of Structural Foundations begins with hydraulic lifting, performed in the reverse manner as in installation. For small foundations, a front-end loader can complete the lifting action to remove. For larger foundations, a crane is necessary.
So, this would make sense if I'm erecting temporary structures on a site?
Structural Foundations are perfectly suited both for permanent and temporary installations. As uses and locations change for structures on your site, we can remove and re-install the foundations, even multiple times. With Structural Foundations, you pay once for a foundation that could have many uses and installation locations.
This would make sense for environmental restoration and reclamation, right?
Yes. For jurisdictions requiring environmental restoration and reclamation, Structural Foundations can easily be removed and there is no associated disposal (no soils or other materials to dispose). Where removed, only minimal infilling of soils is necessary.
What kind of site disruption does a Structural Foundations installation cause?
Very minimal. Equipment needs are few. Excavated materials are returned to the foundation system during installation. Delicate surfaces are minimally affected or deformed. Most overhead obstructions don't require removal. Access via high-capacity road usually isn't necessary. Installation can be performed in the immediate vicinity of buildings, trees, and utilities.
How does the carbon footprint of Structural Foundations compare to concrete?
Being made of steel, Structural Foundations have a smaller carbon footprint than concrete foundations designed for similar capacity.
What independent validation has been performed?
Structural Foundations' performance has been evaluated and validated by the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), a department of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). In 2004, NWTC validated the performance of a Structural Foundations installation to support a wind turbine and tower in Colorado. The installation exceeded all design requirements and loads. Additionally, Terradon Corporation, a West Virginia engineering firm, has evaluated the loading and performance over time of our anchoring systems.
Where are Structural Foundations manufactured?
For smaller projects, we manufacture Structural Foundations at our facility in West Virginia. For larger projects or projects in other geographic areas, we contract manufacture Structural Foundations at qualified steel fabricators with quality control protocols. All Structural Foundations are fabricated by American Welding Society (AWS) certified welders. We only use steel produced in the United States.
Who are some of Structural Foundations' notable clients?
FirstEnergy Corporation, nTelos (now Sprint Corporation), Crown Castle, Kent Power, State of West Virginia, Imperial Technologies, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Ohio Department of Transportation, Marietta College, Davis H. Elliot Company, and U.S. Department of Energy - NREL., among others!
If I'm an architect, engineering firm, or general contractor, how do I get started with Structural Foundations?
Please contact us and describe your project needs. We provide consulting geotechnical, structural, and civil engineering services in addition to foundation engineering and installation. Any project information that you already have on hand, including site surveys, soil reports, and structure loads will be helpful to us in quickly delivering you a project quote.
If I'm an owner or developer, how do I get started with Structural Foundations?
Please contact us as early in your planning or project as possible. We can then provide options early on that will save you the most foundation cost. We pride ourselves on returning communications within one business day.
Does Structural Foundations do both union and non-union projects?
Structural Foundations has performed both union and non-union projects. For union projects, we recruit laborers from local union halls to complement our crew supervisors.