Assisted Living Facility Threatened By Foundation Settlement
435 HELICAL PILES FOR ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY
The Bonaventure Assisted Living Facility in Pueblo, Colorado contacted Straight Line Construction in 2016 to provide a solution for
an existing column. In 2017, the owner of the facility reached out again after observing additional signs of foundation distress on the
building’s exterior. Floor level surveys and visual observations pointed to the culprit: settlement of the surficial soils.
With anywhere from 7 to 35 feet of clay soils over claystone bedrock, the ground loses significant strength when moisture content
increases. The upper-level clay is mapped as being in the Piney Creek Alluvium formation. For the Bonaventure Assisted Living Facility, the distress and movement came from soil settlement. The foundation had settled up to six inches in certain areas.
Straight Line Construction worked with Chrisman Engineering, Inc. to propose the solution: underpinning the building with the use of helical piles. Ram Jack’s 2-7⁄8 inch piles with a single eightinch helix on the lead section were chosen for installation around
the exterior foundation as well as the interior grade beams at approximately four-foot centers. The piles were designed for a
capacity of 25 kips and are being used in conjunction with 5 foot 3-½” guide sleeves and 4021 underpinning brackets to provide
the required structural capacity. The interior piles require the use of hand-tools for installation to place them in the desired
The installation of the 435 interior helical piles is scheduled for completion in March of 2020. While the first floor of the affected wing of the building must remain unoccupied during the installation process, due to interior installation of piles requiring selective removal of floor coverings, the rest of the facility remains operational. Near-complete recovery of the building’s
original elevation is expected.
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