My brother is currently building a house on the waterfront of the Magothy River, near Annapolis, Md., in an area where soil conditions are too inconsistent for a conventional foundation. The building site is about 60 feet from the water’s edge, with significant groundwater at 3 to 4 feet below grade. To avoid any possibility that the foundation would settle in those saturated soil conditions, plans called for the new home to be supported by a concrete grade beam and a series of concrete pads bearing on 59 helical piers, each penetrating 17 to 18 feet below ground level. My company, which has about 20 years of experience using helical piers (we call them piles in my area) in a variety of applications, did the layout and pier installation and worked directly with the subcontractors and tradespeople who excavated the site and formed and poured the grade beam and walls.

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