For the first time in more than a half- century, crews on various projects are using a larger, stronger iteration of steel H-shaped piles recently approved by industry groups. The piles, typically used to construct deep foundations for buildings and bridges, also can save money on column applications, according to contractors and engineers.
For years, H-pile cross sections have measured as large as 14 in. The new piles, designated HP16 and HP18, “go up to 18-inch cross sections, so now you’ve got bigger loads you can carry,” says Charlie Carter, chief structural engineer for the American Institute of Steel Construction. “Now you can drive fewer piles [and reduce] stiffeners and doublers.”