Written by Chelsea Kiesling on July 19, 2022
As CHANCE® distributors, helping our installers become CHANCE Certified Installers is important. It’s a great way to start a new relationship and discuss their future plans for utilizing helical piles. EAS uses this time to evaluate the needs of the installers, both material needs and value engineering. By providing training on the capabilities and benefits of helical piles, installers are armed with a powerful tool to win future projects which can converted to helical piles from less efficient or more costly foundation design methods.
Installers who take the required online courses and field training to become CHANCE Certified Installers realize many benefits to themselves and the companies they work for including:
The advantage of submitting unique training certifications when bidding
Ability to offer a 30-year product warranty
Quickly gain expertise and credibility
Helps installers be competitive and win more projects
During a recent onsite field training, EAS Mid-Atlantic Territory Manager, Kelly Milliner, worked with new installer, QSC Construction. Beginning with their online installer training through in-person field training, Kelly assisted including direct involvement with their first helical pile installation at the R Street new construction project in Washington DC.
The process began with QSC’s enrollment in CHANCE University’s Certified Installer online training courses. The courses cover the fundamentals of helical piles including the installation process. Completing CHANCE University takes just a few hours and covers a wide range of helical pile applications and situations. Once an installer has completed the online courses and passed the required tests, the next step is to complete field training with a CHANCE Distributor.
Kelly traveled to Washington D.C. for a site visit with QSC Constructions to complete the field training portion of the certification process. Working with the project manager, Kelly began her site visit by checking to make certain all materials matched the recommendation and invoice. She walked them through the set-up process including the common problems installers typically experience during the preparation process. Kelly added “Sometimes it’s as simple as checking to see if the hydraulic hoses are connected correctly.”
After reviewing the equipment and ensuring everything is set up correctly, Kelly gathered the team to review safety operations, material/torque requirements and installation methods. She explained how to properly interpret inline pressure gauges and how to read the PSI/torque conversion charts to fill in the pile logs correctly. The pile logs are used to keep track of each pile’s depth, pressure, torque and any noteworthy remarks for future reference and certification.
Kelly expressed the importance of training the entire crew on all aspects of helical pile installation, no matter what their responsibility. She continued, “With many aspects of construction, unpredictable things happen. It’s better to have everyone with the same knowledge… sharing the ability to handle every aspect of the installation. It’s too inefficient when it’s ‘Oh, only Johnny can read the gauges’ or ‘Only Paul can convert the PSI chart’. This will hold up a project - costing them time and money.”
Once the QSC team was familiar with the equipment, Kelly had them lay out the required material. For this project they needed a lead section and three extensions to meet the anticipated depth of 28-feet. She discussed time saving methods for unbolting and bolting each section together. The team continued to familiarize themselves with the materials and the protocol before moving to the installation area.
Kelly observed and “jumped in” as the crew moved to their first installation spot. They worked together to get the first lead section attached to the drive head. As the operator began installing, Kelly showed how to read the gauges, ensuring the pile reached the required torque for a proper installation.
During this time, Kelly reviewed common causes and scenarios for installation issues including torque not being achieved. Each scenario is followed with the expected actions to be taken to create the best outcome. She adds “Since the project was located on an old dumpsite, encountering large obstructions is likely. If this happens, the pile location will have to be excavated to remove the obstruction”.
As the crew installed the first extension to meet the required depth and torque, they learned how the tooling makes it easy to move to the next extension using the CHANCE Locking Dog System. As they installed the extensions, Kelly kept an eye on their procedure and offered tips to keep the crew moving and reducing installation time. When asked abouts tips, Kelly smiled “Never leave your truck without a magnetic level and impact gun!”
Team coordination is very important she cited, “Have at least 3 crew members moving at all times to maximize the installation. When the operator is installing, have one teammate unbolting the next extension and the third monitoring the piles angle for plumbness and observing the gauges monitoring torque.”
QSC’s Washington, DC project was a “textbook” training procedure. Kelly Milliner’s last thought wraps it up perfectly. “Earth Anchoring’s territory managers and instructors stay on site for multiple pile installations. We make sure the crews are comfortable with the equipment and process. Our goal is to answer all questions. Empower installers, knowing CHANCE Certification has them educated and confident with helical pile installation and applications.”
Hubbell has local distributors across the United States and Canada. We have Certified Installers all over the world and will work with your team to find a way to provide industry-best training for everyone who works with our helical pile or Atlas resistance pier products (Think we’re kidding? Check out this article about a training seminar our team conducted in Sri Lanka!).
If you are interested in learning more about how CHANCE Certified Installer training can help your construction business, contact your local distributor by filling out the form on this page.
Chelsea Kiesling is the Marketing Operations Specialist for Earth Anchoring Suppliers (EAS). As the CHANCE exclusive Distributor for the northeast United States, EAS tackles trainings and projects in New York City & Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania (eastern), New York State (eastern), Maryland (eastern), Delaware, Metro Washington DC/Va., Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and West Virginia. Reach out to EAS or your local distributor for product, installation, or design support.
Sign me up to receive the latest posts from the CHANCE® Foundation Solutions Blog to my email.