Aggregate Piers / Stone Columns

Helitech CCD, a CNC Foundations Company, provides custom foundational solutions for your property and budget. One of these solutions is the use of aggregate piers, which are also called vibro- or vibratory stone columns, vibro-piers, VSCs, or RAMMED AGGREGATE PIER® systems.


Aggregate pier installation is a ground improvement technique that constructs dense columns of compacted stone. The columns are installed in groups in soft soil to increase bearing pressure and mitigate settlement under structural footings.

Structure of Aggregate Piers

Although similar, VSCs and RAMMED AGGREGATE PIER® systems are created slightly differently from one another.

  • RAMMED AGGREGATE PIER® systems are made by pre-drilling a hole into the soil of foundation, lifting the aggregates, and then tamping them into the hole. This lifting and tamping process is repeated until the void is filled with aggregate, and each additional ramming step creates a tighter, sturdier compact.
  • Vibratory Stone Columns create the compacted fill by way of a vibratory probe either in a pre-drilled hole or with custom rigging.

Applications for Aggregate Piers

Vibratory aggregate columns have been used to increase bearing capacity, decrease settlement, and mitigate liquefaction potential for all types of planned structures including industrial buildings, embankments, dams, agriculture structures, tanks, and towers. In terms of functionality, vibro-piers:

  • Amplify weight-bearing abilities
    Vibro-piers are an excellent solution for soil and foundations that are uneven, unpredictable, or made up of layers of varying material.
  • Minimize settlement
    As each pier is driven into the soil, loose granular particles are compressed, creating a more sound and compact foundation on which to build.
  • Deter liquefaction
    As non-liquefiable structures in potentially liquefiable foundations, VSCs are extremely effective in mitigating potential damage from water pressure, seismic movement, and general stress.

Uses for Aggregate Piers

  • Strengthening foundations
    RAMMED AGGREGATE PIER® systems are a simple way to dramatically increase the strength and bearing pressure of foundations so that they can meet the requirements of their project.
  • Wall and embankment stabilization
    Aggregate piers are often used in soft, poor- or mixed-soil environments to provide stabilization for large walls and embankments. The stress of the pillars being vibrated into the earth compacts the soil, making the ground stronger, increasing its weight-bearing capacity, and overall safety.
  • Agricultural, municipal, and manufacturing support
    VSCs provide a solid, compressed foundation on which to build structures with heavy equipment and machinery.

Job Types and Special Considerations

Aggregate piers are extremely versatile in terms of project use. Whether they are leveraged to create a foundation on which to build or to fortify existing soil with unknown or mixed density, vibro-piers are an effective solution to create lasting strength. Regardless of slope or seismic activity, VSCs create foundations of capable of accommodating extreme bearing pressure. Check out our Aggregate Pier installation comparison to GEOPIER®.

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

Get My Custom Solution
Get reliable, experienced contractors for your residential or commercial deep-foundation project