Our company, HighCraft Builders in Fort Collins, Colo., specializes in room additions and remodels. Residential construction in this area is complicated by expansive clay, hilly lots, and variable soils that can make excavating and pouring conventional concrete foundations challenging and expensive. Completing a small addition can take a surprisingly long time and typically costs substantially more per square foot than new home construction. Given these concerns, we do anything we can to make the process easier and less expensive for our customers.

A couple of years ago, we met Dr. Howard Perko, Ph.D., of Secure Foundations and Structures, Inc. (www.secureengineer.com), an engineer in our area who holds a patent on a type of helical pier. Helical piers are essentially large earth screws made from galvanized steel. They're turned into the ground until they're stable enough to build on....

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