Contractor says more residents installing screw piles to mitigate overland flooding

Driving along Riverside Drive in Windsor, Ont., shows high water levels and flooded fields — but it also shows construction. Houses continue to be built in neighbourhoods like East Riverside despite calls from current residents for improved flood protection systems.

This means work for some companies has gone up — especially companies who install a flood protection system such as screw piles.

Screw piles are a ground anchoring system that allow for load-bearance to be transferred away from the structure itself onto the pile.

Home builds while flood concerns are high have made it the “busiest year yet” for a company like Postech Screw Piles, a Quebec owned company with a branch in Windsor.

“The pipes are designed to support the concrete foundation so nothing settles and sinks,” said local branch owner Carmen Aquino. “There’s less risk for the homeowner and the builder.”

Companies like Postech are brought in to build plans by more traditional companies who have been working with conservation authorities to ensure standards are met.

According to Gino Piccioni with Timberland Homes, screw piles are one type of special equipment that are required when homes are built in areas with poor soil conditions.

One of Aquino’s recent Riverside Drive homes had Postech install screw piles around the perimeter, with the plan of building a concrete retaining wall to prevent shoreline flooding from seeping into the home’s foundation.

“Along the back of their property, where they’re supposed to have a break wall, the water is coming right over the break wall,” said Aquino. “It was beneficial to use screw piles.”

Installing screw piles can be “tens of thousands of dollars” and can take anywhere from half a day to two days to complete, according to Aquino.

Screw piles are often used in lighthouse or rail construction. They are also considered a more environmentally-friendly type of construction, reducing the need to displace and then transport soil away from the build site.

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