Ram Jack Receives the Very First ICC-ES Evaluation Report Compliant with AC358
by Bill Bonekemper
March 24, 2011
That’s ABSOLUTELY GREAT NEWS for Ram Jack. Only helical pier manufacturers who do not yet have their respective ER’s can relate to the trials, tribulations and enormous cost associated with successfully completing the requirements as defined in AC358.
But hold on a second.
ESR-1854 not only recognizes the Ram Jack 2 7/8” O.D. x 0.217” wall thickness helical pier product as complying with the IBC, but on a more limited scope, also recognizes the Ram Jack hydraulically driven (push pier) product line components with the same pipe specifications and some of the same brackets. For this author and other people in the industry with close ties to the whole AC358-related development process, seeing a push pier product included in ESR-1854 is a huge surprise.
After reading ESR-1854 several times and after receiving several calls and emails from people searching for input and clarification, HPW contacted ICC-ES engineer Brian Gerber – the lead engineer who worked with helical pier manufacturers and consultants during the development of AC358. Mr. Gerber explained that ICC-ES was asked by Ram Jack’s director of engineering, Darin Willis, to include the hydraulically driven (push pier) products when he submitted the application. Gerber went on to explain the logic used by ICC-ES engineers for allowing the request was based upon the following conditions:
- The pipe shaft specification for both product lines is identical
- Cross compatible brackets used with either product line have identical specifications
- The connection to structure specifications are identical for the brackets common to both product lines
- Ram Jack already had an ICC-ES Legacy Report (PFC-5996) that covered both product lines
- Recognition of the push pier assembly is limited to the bracket and shaft capacity Pile-soil interaction is outside the scope of the report
Since Ram Jack held a Legacy Report (PFC-5996) which included both 2 3/8” and 2 7/8” diameter helical piles and 2 7/8” diameter hydraulically driven piles, the company elected to submit an application to convert a legacy report to an evaluation report so they could have their driven piles included in the ESR. Because the material, brackets and structural connection are the same as what was tested for the Ram Jack Helical Pile System, the strength and capacities of the driven pile system were easily verified for code compliance.
Mr. Gerber’s explanation on these five points is certainly logical. Since hydraulically driven (push pier) systems have virtually no tension capacity, an N/A is inserted in the tension capacity tables in ESR-1854. Also, ESR-1854 states that soil capacity of the hydraulically driven system is not within the scope of review. This means additional investigation by the project engineer will need to establish suitability for a specific installation.
The list of Ram Jack products certified in ESR-1854 includes:
- 4021.1 Side load bracket
- 4038.1 Side load bracket
- 4039.1 Side load bracket
- 4075.1 New construction bracket
- 4079.1 New construction bracket
- 4093.1 Slab bracket
- 4550.2875.1 Tieback assembly
- 2 7/8” Outside diameter x 0.217” wall pile
It is certainly noteworthy to point out that so much time has elapsed since AC358 was approved in June 2007 under the 2006 IBC, in part because the data requirements are significant. Efforts to revise AC358 for compliance with the 2009 IBC and potentially the 2012 IBC (due out next month) are underway (more information). It is unclear at this time when the revisions to AC358 will be completed.
In conclusion, this author tosses huge kudos in the direction of Mr. Darin Willis and the entire Ram Jack team for pushing the envelope and making what turned out to be a very savvy business decision.