GEOPIER® vs. Helitech VSCs

Soil conditions can vary greatly within a single job site. The characteristics of the in-situ soil play a crucial role in determining which ground improvement technique or group of techniques is best for each particular project.

Vibro stone columns are currently one of the most commonly used ground improvement systems. They are designed to improve the load-bearing capacity of the surrounding soil and reduce excessive settlement. The Geopier GP3 systems reinforce poor soils like clay, silt, sand, gravel, and variable fill by using replacement Rammed Aggregate Pier (RAP) elements.

GEOPIER® Rammed Aggregate Piers vs. Helitech  VSCs

Both systems have their own set of pros and cons, so we’re going to examine the differences of each and the potential ways they could impact the quality, cost, and schedule of your project.

Download an easy to follow comparison table to view on your computer at your convenience.

GEOPIER® GP3® System Rammed Aggregate Pier® (RAP)Helitech’s Direct Displacement System – VSCsPotential Project Impact
Design Quality AssuranceAn individually licensed designer will provide an initial and final design for the GEOPIER® system.  There is no external review for this design-build solution.Helitech utilizes an independent engineering firm to peer review Helitech’s designs and then sign and seal these design-build solutions.

System SpoilsLicensed GEOPIER® installers will employ a “Drill and Fill” method if using the GP3® System.  This method will produce significant spoils that will need to be handled and hauled away.Helitech’s Direct Displacement System (DDS), minimizes spoils. DDS is a great approach where contaminated soils may exist.


Installation ApproachUsing a “Drill and Fill” approach, the licensed GEOPIER®  installers will need to perform multiple procedures on each hole, potentially extending duration onsite.Helitech touches the hole only once using the DDS approach, potentially shortening the duration onsite.  This method also densifies the in situ granular soils between the Aggregate Piers.


Installation PadLicensed GEOPIER® installers require that they have sole access to the working pad while installing piers.Since Helitech’s DDS minimizes spoils, Helitech will allow access to the working pad while still installing piers.  This access may improve construction schedule.


Installation Quality AssuranceGEOPIER® provided specifications for Rammed Aggregate Pier® (RAP) require that the owner or contractor hire an onsite Control Technician to report on installation.Each of Helitech’s installation rigs are equipped with the latest data logging computer monitoring system, thus Control Technician requirement may be waived.



What are the applications for each ground improvement system?


Geopiers are often used in cases of over-excavation and replacement or deep foundations. They are used in many applications, such as:

  • Foundations
  • Floor slabs
  • Industrial facilities
  • Storage tanks
  • Slope stabilization
  • Transportation

Helitech CCD VSCs

Since their creation, vibro-piers are used to increase bearing capacity, reducing settlement, and mitigating liquefaction. They are used on many different types of projects, such as:

  • Multi-story buildings
  • Commercial centers
  • Industrial facilities
  • Liquid storage tanks
  • Grain bins and silos
  • Grain elevators
  • Farm buildings for agricultural machinery
  • Wind towers and wind farms

Why Helitech Civil Construction Division?

At Helitech Civil Construction, we provide technical and constructional support to a wide variety of industries and have done so since 1987. We use a unique and strategic combination of engineering and construction knowledge and have effectively positioned ourselves as a leader in geotechnical construction in the Midwest.

We focus on quality construction and installation, and we pride ourselves on unmatched customer service and engineering support. We believe in helping our clients achieve their goals and find peace of mind.

Not sure what geotechnical solution can work for your job? We can help.

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Learn more about how Helitech’s VSC System Compares to GEOPIER®