Helical Pile Foundation for the Market Wharf Condo Presentation Centre

Techno Metal Post Hamilton-Durham (TMPHD) was contracted to install helical piles for a sales centre for the Market Wharf Condos project in downtown Toronto, Ontario.  The client, Context Developments, needed a foundation for their temporary structure, which would be housed in a parking lot for a period of 4-5 years.  Because this was a prime location, the condo display centre foundation solution needed to be cost-effective for the client and space-efficient.

Some of the challenges for this project included backfill soil and buried mainline utility services in a busy parking lot right in downtown Toronto.  By using helical piles, there was no need to excavate any backfill, which would have been the case had concrete sono-tubes been used.  Techno Metal Post’s Engineering Department proposed a secure and cost-effective solution by using 2 (two) piles to straddle the utility lines while staying in compliance with Ontario One’s one (1) meter off-set code requirement.

After cutting 12-inch x 12-inch holes in the pavement, TMPHD used compact R2D installation machines to install the P3 and P5 piles exactly on the locations required.  Using helical piles for this project provided a space-saving solution to the client that would allow many parking spots to remain open during the period the sales centre would be in use.  This approach enabled Context Developments to continue to generate higher revenue from those parking spaces and provide more parking areas for potential buyers for the condos.

Using Techno Metal Post helical piles and our proprietary installation equipment, TMPHD installed the piles precisely where the client needed, including slopped surfaces.  For this project, some piles needed to be installed in areas with minor slopping.  TMPHD was able to install all piles with no issue, ensuring the extra lateral stability needed for such an application.

Once all the Techno Metal Post helical piles were installed, the contractor was then able to build the frame for the temporary sales centre that same day.  Context Developments was so happy with the helical pile product and the foundation and frame for their sales centre, they requested TMPHD install the required helical piles needed for three advertising signs within the sales centre lot.

After the sales centre closed, TMPHD returned and removed all installed helical piles, restoring the parking area without disruption.  Had concrete sono-tubes been used, this would have required significant cost and time to remove and restore the area, which was eliminated using the Techno Metal Post helical pile solution. 

Year: May 2008

Dealer:  Derek Hofrichter and Roger Lauzon, TMP Hamilton-Durham

Client: Context Developments

Location address: 18 Lower Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario

Engineering firm: Cathro Engineering Ltd., Etobicoke, Ontario

General contractor: Bluesky Construction

Project objectives: To install a helical pile foundation for a temporary condo presentation and sales centre in a downtown Toronto parking lot.

Specific challenges:

  • Rocky backfill
  • Main utility lines in the exact spot where the piles were supposed to go
  • Maintaining as many available parking spots as possible

Advantages over other methods:

  • Compact installation equipment was used to install the helical piles on the lines of the parking spots significantly reducing the loss in parking (and revenue from those spaces) during those 4-5 years.
  • Precise location installations
  • Helical piles eliminated the costs associated with concrete caissons and the need for managing soil excavation.
  • The pile flat plates were welded in and across the entire structure, the mounting variance was within a 1/16” for the structural steel frame.

Soil type: Rocky backfill

Installation time: 2.5 weeks

Number of people on site: 5

Materials used:

  • P3 – P5 pile model, with single helix 12” diameter
  • P4 – P5 pile model, with double helix 12” diameter

Equipment used:

  • Two (2) R2D’s

Engineer’s specific requirements:

  • In order to prevent frost heave, kept a minimum clearance of 16 inches between structural element (helical piles, wood structures, steel framing, any other) and ground surface.
  • Special attention should be given to low areas (where water and snow accumulate, water down spouts, etc.), and areas where ground surface is sloped such that water/ice can accumulate under structural elements.

Average depth of piles:  Approximate minimum depth of eighteen (18) feet from grade.

Specific details of the structure on piles:  A temporary sales centre for a condominium project in downtown Toronto.

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