Helical Pile FAQ’s

Q: What kind of company is Almita?

A: Almita is Canada’s leading provider of turnkey helical pile foundation solutions. This means that in addition to providing custom engineered designs and stamped drawings, Almita also custom manufactures helical piles at its fabrication facility and installs the piles with speed and precision. With over 10 installers, a diverse fleet of installation units and more than 70 years of cumulative experience in the design, fabrication and installation of helical piles, Almita is the largest and most experienced helical pile provider in Canada.

Q: What are helical piles?

A: Helical piles are an increasingly popular and remarkably effective deep foundation option. Each helical pile is composed of a steel pipe shaft with a 45° cut at the bottom and two or more formed helical plates welded outside.View Picture

Q: How do helical piles work?

A: Imagine using a power drill to advance a helical into a block of wood. Now imagine using a hammer to drive a nail into that same block of wood. The “thread” or helix on the helical pile allows it to be turned into the ground with impressive speed and accuracy and without the noise and vibrations associated with a pile driver. The addition of the helix also dramatically increases bearing capacity and pull-out resistance making helical piles a good option for deep foundations such as transmission towers, as well as lighter load projects such as decks or fences.

Q: Does Almita have much experience in the foundations industry?

A: Almita is a helical pile expert. The company has been an industry leader for over 15 years. Not only that, the company is continually expanding its knowledge of helical piles. Through partnerships with post-secondary institutions including the University of Western Ontario, the University of Alberta and Red Deer College, Almita’s engineers have developed new applications for helical piles and have expanded the range of conditions that helical piles can be used in. Almita constantly validates these scientific theories with practical field experience.

Q: Are helical piles safe?

A: Absolutely. Helical piles are recognized as a safe and effective foundation by the Deep Foundations Institute and in the Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual.

Q: How important is safety to Almita?

A: Safety is a top priority for Almita. The company is ISO-Certified and Almita’s meticulous attention to quality ensures that every pile is carefully inspected before it leaves Almita’s manufacturing shop. Almita always ensures that its products meet or exceed all CSA and standards

Q: What kind of training does Almita’s staff have?

A: Almita maintains a strong team of in-house engineers with advanced post-secondary training. Welders in Almita’s manufacturing facility are all CWB-Certified and undergo a rigorous training program.

When an Almita installation team arrives on your work site you can rest assured that you’ll be dealing with one of the most well trained and experienced teams in the industry. Almita’s teams carry most, if not all, of the safety tickets required commonly required at worksites today. If you would like to find out whether Almita’s teams are qualified to work at your site, please contact us.

Q: Can Almita install helical piles in winter conditions?

A: Yes. Frozen soil is not a deterrent for Almita’s product or its installation teams. Almita is capable of installing piles 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Almita’s installation teams perform cold weather installations on a regular basis and are often asked to install piles in remote areas of northern Canada where the sensitive ecosystems and long distances make concrete piles or pile drivers unattractive options.

Q: What differentiates helical piles from other foundation options?

A: Helical piles are the fastest, most flexible and environmentally-friendly foundation options available. Installing a helical pile doesn’t require any pre-excavation and there is no need to dispose of tailings. There is no time-consuming wait for concrete to cure and there are no noisy pile drivers or cumbersome cement trucks to deal with. View an installation or see what our clients think about helical piles.

Q: What industries does Almita work with?

A: When Almita was first launched in 1991 it primarily worked with the oil and gas industry providing foundations for pump jacks, dehydrators and flare stacks. Over the last decade, the applications for helical pile foundations have multiplied and Almita has expanded its service offerings to meet the growing demand. Today the company works extensively with the power transmission and telecommunication industries, municipalities and real estate developers.

Some of the other common helical pile foundation applications include:

  1. Telecommunication towers
  2. Power transmission and distribution structures
  3. Pump jacks, compressors and other oilfield equipment
  4. Pipeline supports and buoyancy control
  5. Street light bases
  6. School portables
  7. Industrial work camps (portable and permanent)
  8. Guy anchors, tie-backs and wall anchors
  9. Commercial and residential structures
  10. Underpinning
  11. Permanent or temporary and reusable wall anchors
  12. Highway sign bases
  13. Slope stabilization
  14. Fence posts, flag posts, solariums and deck or patio footings
  15. Manufactured homes
  16. Boardwalks

Q: To what depths can Almita’s helical piles be installed?

A: We have installed piles to as deep as 80 feet but Almita’s engineers can typically optimize the design to ensure that such depths are not necessary.

Q: I need a mix of helical piles and concrete piles on this job and I’d prefer to use a single vendor. Do you handle other types of foundations?

A: We’re best known for our skill and experience with helical piles but Almita is truly a one-stop shop. We can assist our customers with virtually any foundation need, including concrete foundations.

Q: The project I’m working on involves rocky terrain. Are helical piles even an option?

A: Yes. Our engineering expertise, top-notch equipment and years of experience ensure that we can install our piles under almost any conditions. Our installation fleet includes a specialized air drill/hammer that allows us to install helical piles in rocky terrain.


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