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End Bearing Helical Pile Foundation for Multi-Family Housing Units On The Red River

Saturated and sloughing soils create problems for housing developer, helical piles save timelines and keep the community happy


Forthright Properties


Multi-Family Housing Complex

Pile Details

● 43,000 lb (191 kN), 4-1/2" Ø shaft, 16" single helix● 5,000 lb (22 kN), 2-3/8" Ø shaft, single 12" helix


5 kip (22 kN) to 43 kip (191 kN) ULS, f.

Key Challenges

● Timeline Constraints● Disruption to Existing Tenants● Winter Construction● Saturated & Sloughing Soils● Budget

Helical piles installed into the ground. Excavator on site
 Two excavator installing helical piles into ground. Multiple helical piles already installed


VersaPile was engaged prior to construction by Forthright Properties which had received a geotechnical report indicating that eight (8) multi-family structures they were building at a new development site would require end bearing piles.
Due to the proximity of the site to the Red River (a large river that cuts through the city of Winnipeg), the soils were sloughing and saturated with generally low capacity. As a result, the piles would need to bear in dense till to support the housing units.
Because some of the construction was taking place in the frigid winter months, soils were hard and frozen which would make installing the piles more difficult. Timeline was also a crucial consideration.
One other important restriction for the foundation construction was that the first phase of development was completed and some units were rented to tenants. Thus, creating loud (and potentially damaging) vibrations from a driven piling solution was not desirable.
Finally, as with any development project, the budget for the foundation had to make economic sense for the client.


VersaPile worked with Beach Rocke (Structural) from Winnipeg, MB and DGH Engineering (Pile Engineer) to design pile layouts for the eight structures. John Rocke P.Eng. ensured an efficient solution for each structure, working within the limits of the 4-1/2" helical piles (selected for their overall value).
The piles had to be robust enough to handle the frozen soils, as the bulk of the work was in the winter, and would also need to penetrate the dense till. Pile caps would be welded to each pile to provide an effective and convenient transition to the Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) foundation walls the structures were built on.

The depth to firm till varied between 36ft and 51ft from grade. From excavated depth the piles reached a total of (up to) 43ft of embedment, installed in two sections. They would be installed to end bearing in dense till by passing through the layers of low capacity, saturated, and sloughing clay.

Forthright Properties is a legacy builder which thinks long term in every project they endeavor, so they chose to have the piles hot-dip galvanized. This investment effectively increased the life expectancy of each pile by 2 to 2.5 times, ensuring solid foundations for generations to come.

To help with timely installations, some of the buildings were piled using two CAT 210 installation rigs outfitted with Pengo RT20 and RT40 anchor drives. The rigs provided sufficient crowd for the piles to punch through the first few feet of frozen Manitoba clay as well penetrating the soft till layer encountered prior to embedding in dense till. The extended reach of the installation rigs allowed for the efficient installation of each pile in just two sections.

Other sites were piled during the spring and summer months and, although frozen soils were not an challenge, the installation rigs were still large enough to install helical piles in two sections and achieve a solid end bearing installation.

For added efficiency in terms of loading piles, a Kubota U35 midi-excavator was delivered to site with a pole grapple attachment. The combination of installation rig with pole setting equipment allowed the VersaPile crew to install more than 1,500 lineal feet of helical piles per day.

Because of the versatile equipment chosen to pile each building, we were able to keep mobilization costs affordable. This was key, as buildings were often piled months apart. The alternative piling solutions, such as a driven precast or timber piles, would have cost more to mobilize and equipment may have sat on-site for week. This would have made it difficult for various trades to navigate the busy project site.

Regarding noise and vibrations, there were no complaints made to VersaPile from other trades on-site or nearby tenants. Alternative end bearing pile solutions are pounded in the ground which can create vibrations and disruptive noise heard more than a kilometer away. Installing helical piles, by contrast, is no louder than the sound of an mid-idle excavator running.

One large excavator installing helical pile with Versapile employee monitoring installation. Mini excavator using grasper to lift and move helical piles in appropriate place.
Mini excavator lifting and moving helical pile to correct spot. Large excavator in background
Versapile employee monitoring installation of helical pile by helical drive attached to excavator
Townhouses with vehicles in parking stalls in front


VersaPile, with a team of project engineers, piled eight (8) multi-family buildings in challenging soil and climate conditions in record time compared to other foundation solutions.
While Forthright Properties may have preferred the budget of a cast-in-place concrete friction, the soil at their site had different plans.
Despite this, a helical pile solution delivered outstanding support in the difficult soil while coming in at a price that satisfied all parties involved and was competitive with a pre-cast driven foundation. Unlike a driven solution, however, helical piles were installed without any damaging vibrations or disruptive noise.
Now, the countless families who make these residences into homes will enjoy decades of stable and secure foundation support unaffected by the nearby river.

Contact Us


2046 Van Gorp Road
Ile Des Chenes, MB
Canada R0A 0T0


Monday - Friday8:00 - 17:00


(234) 567-8900moc.elipasrev%40olleh

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