Best Eco-Friendly Foundations for Sustainable Building Projects

When revitalizing a community, mixing new with the old requires experience and innovation. Learn how Chance partners made sustainability possible in the revitalization of a historic district in Richmond.



In the Scott’s Addition Historic District in Richmond VA, a once thriving industrial area of the city is being reconfigured into a vibrant neighborhood with eclectic businesses and residential options. This allows cities to repurpose existing areas that may be starting to show decline by adding new commercial services and opportunities to older, developed areas to maintain tax revenues and provide enhanced lifestyle options to the residents of the city. In addition, using existing structures has a major impact on sustainability since they represent a significant amount of entrained carbon and greatly offset the emissions required to demolish and rebuild.

The use of helical piles and a team of knowledgeable professionals allowed the construction of a large 126-unit multi-purpose structure on a lot right next to an existing structure to move forward with no disruption in schedule while keeping the appeal of the historical neighborhood.

scotts-addtion-footingWhile prepping the site for the new structure, it was discovered that the required excavation of soils would be nearly 5 feet below an adjunct existing building’s foundation. This would obviously undermine the existing structure, so a way to shore up the existing foundation was needed. The contractor for the new structure called in Chance Certified Installers at Stable Foundations and the local Chance Distributor, Walder Foundation Products, to assess the situation.


After a quick load calculation of the existing structure was done, the information was put into HeliCAP helical capacity design software and it was determined that a series of Chance Helical Combo Piles would easily handle the job of shoring up the adjacent wall while also providing lateral support.


underpinning-brackets-pilesCombo piles combine a solid square shaft lead section with round shaft pipe extensions, coupling them together with a cast transition. The square shaft lead section provides superior penetration of the helices into dense soil and is followed by the pipe that provides greater lateral capacity and is less susceptible to buckling. Chance helical piles are eco-friendly - they are made from recycled steel and are recyclable. Because of this and other considerations, Chance helical pile foundations may be eligible for LEED credits.

Because of the knowledge and experience of both Stable Foundation and Walder Foundation Products, the Engineer of Record had great confidence in signing off on the solution. The installation of the Chance Helical Combo Pile took only 4 days and allowed the new build job to continue without major delays.

Learn more in this video about combo piles:



Helical Piles and knowledgeable partners aren’t good for just job schedules, they are also good for communities and the environment. Contact your local Chance partners today.

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