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Limited Access? No Problem.

Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, NY launched an expansion project this past year, which includes repurposing an old 7 - story parking garage into additional rooms and a women’s services building. A sub-surface exploration concluded that the native soils could not support the loads of the new foundations, and a deep foundation system was needed.

Driven piles as well as other piling methods were out of the question, due to the vibration and pounding during install, and that left one option – helical piles. As we began looking into the project for estimating, it was noted that there was a section of piles located at ground level in existing parking garage that may pose as a bit of a challenge. Access to the parking garage was on a narrow side street, and piles in this area would be installed with about 6-8 feet of headroom. There were a total of 66 piles in this section with a working load of 40kips compression, 25kips tension, and 5kips lateral.


The lack of overhead room in this limited access space caused a challenge because of the size of the equipment needed to install a foundation of that capacity. Normally, the excavator our team would use to install the spec’d 5.5” piles would be a Hitachi 135 15-ton machine, something that would be inoperable in the space available for install. Thankfully this wasn’t our first rodeo (or even our second) and we had experience in this field to help find the right combination of equipment for install.



A quick brainstorm led us to the option of the Brokk, a remote-controlled mini excavator paired with a drive motor that we knew to be capable, the DIGGA 25ADT. The Brokk was the solution because it’s the only machine small enough to fit that has the required auxiliary GPM and PSI.


Our operator this project had experience of 9+ years in helical piles install, including numerous jobs with remote controlled equipment, and thanks to the team the piles were installed efficiently and on schedule to a depth of about 20 feet on average.


The installation of the other 207 piles is still ongoing, but this phase highlighted the versatility, knowledge and skill set of our team in problem solving for projects like this one. Here at CMI, we enjoy a challenge and finding new ways to solve it without compromising on efficiency and cost, and this project was no different.




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