Episode #6 – Old Dogs, New Tricks!
Adaptation is the key to survival. Whether it be life, technology, or your construction business, learning and adaptation is the key to success. Quoting Max McKeown
“All failure is failure to adapt and all success is successful adaptation”
Episode six of The Construction Life titled “Old Dog New Tricks” is based on the same concept. Roger Lauzon from TechnoMetal Post is the guest of episode #6, the pioneer of introducing helical piles in residential construction. Roger’s knowledge and witty sense of humor are one of the reasons this episode is worth your time! The trio gave the guest an amazing rapping welcome and made him comfortable throughout the episode so he could share his valuable experiences with us. Operating in 12 countries and completing over 1000 projects per year, TechnoMetal Post is changing the dynamics of building foundations.
One of the most important technologies that have been introduced in construction is helical piles, this episode focuses on how concrete is not a big deal anymore. So now we don’t have to worry about putting concrete above the grass so that we don’t get water sitting and stagnating inside the wood or worrying about the concrete splitting.
Time Is Money
When it comes to comparing concrete vs helical piles, helical piles will save you time, energy, and even cost. Roger explains how contractors complain they are months behind and are short of men. If they start using helical piles, sunroom contractors can make an extra sunroom per year, if they are a deck company, they can make extra two to four decks per year. Helical piles can thus lead to an increase in your profit margins. They can save you days, even weeks as they are time-efficient and don’t need dry weather as concrete does. Roger claims, TechnoMetal Posts even work on rainy days!
Helical Piles are liked by the conservation authorities and the arborists equally. The reason is that it preserves the root systems, instead of digging in and killing the root systems, it works with a bump-out. Roger believes that the Sonotubes should always be above left with a min of 6” of exposed concrete above the ground not in the ground to avoid digging.
Waterfront Property – Corrosion Solution System
Helical Piles can also be used for the waterfront properties. TechnoMetal Post has a sister company called TechnoProtection which is a corrosion solution system. Depending on a soil type, the environment, the client’s need, and how long they need to be protected, they can provide you with a solution. Roger gave an example of building bridges on the side of the highway and how they can do it differently from the regular contractors.
“What are they using? They are using steel and they will calculate how much rust is going to happen within 50 to 100 years. What they’ll do is they’ll use more steel, the same principle of orthotics. We could use black steel, we could use black steel that is hot-dip galvanized, which is going to give some added protection, we can also use sacrificial anodes. And we can also use impress current, which means that we could actually stop corrosions from all the pipes in Toronto.” – Roger Lauzon – TechnoMetal Post
When the existing structure or foundation is not strong enough to support a building due to the soil structure or external influence, underpins come to the rescue. Roger explains underpinning and the way they do it. Let’s say if someone wants to build a second story of their bungalow, TechnoMetals Post will transfer the load from the soil to the existing wall in the basement giving support to the whole structure without disturbing the soil.
Contractors Stuck in Concrete
Roger says that the awareness about helical piles has increased in the past few years in contractors and homeowners. Roger also educates people about helical piles and encourages people to call them if they have any queries. He talked about how they are like an unused tool in the contactor’s toolbox because they don’t know what this tool is worth, how it can save them thousands of dollars and months of time. So old contractors who are still stuck in concrete, it’s time to learn new tricks and expand your business!
Helical Piles Are Like Baking Muffins
Roger explains how using helical piles is like baking muffins. For different soil conditions, you have to use different-sized helixes. Asix-inch helix could hold as much load as a 24-inch helix depending on the type of soil. So, if you’re in dense, dense soil, you have to use a smaller helix, you’re still going to get a lot of torque. Roger believes in doing tests and consulting geo-technicians to give you the perfect recipe!
TechnoMetal Post has a pressure gauge on their machines. That pressure gauge correlates to torque, it’s the torque that correlates to low bearing capacity. They use a rotary head and have the biggest machines. Their biggest one can install piles 12 inches in diameter and can hold a load of 55,000 pounds!
Prominent Benefits of Helical Piles
When asked, Roger answered that the expectancy can range between 75 to 150 years and if they put a corrosion solution it can last for even 300,000 years.
As compared to concrete decks, helical piles decks can easily be replaced and removed if needed.
Workers usually get injured while digging holes in the foundation work. Helical piles have reduced the risk of workers getting hurt.
Helical piles are cheaper
Roger gave an example of how once Halton conservation wanted to build a staircase system. And they had an engineer with concrete who went in and hit backfill and it was terrible. They called TechnoMetal Post for assistance. The team went down 15 to 20 feet and completed the task in a week. And on top of that, their budget for concrete was $52,000.00, while helical piles cost them 50% of their budget!
Digging the hole and concrete work comes with a lot of mess. You have to get rid of the loose soil. With helical piles, you are just drilling and there is no more waste.
Thanking the guests in a friendly way and pitching in the Techno Metal Night Club Idea for humor, what else could be a perfect ending for this episode! Listen to the episode to learn the new tricks from the old dogs!