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Case Study

IMAX Theater Expansion, Pooler, GA


Soft fill material around an IMAX theater expansion in this coastal community imposed a need for greater support under the building to house the nation's largest IMAX screen. Stability Engineering consulted with Cantsink on the use of its helical piers to ensure lasting stability for the structure in increasing wet climate conditions. Whitaker Laboratories provided excellent, accurate analysis from soil borings, which allowed the Cantsink installation to proceed with confidence.

Scope of Work

Load calculations were essential because of the significant weight of the structure. Some column loads exceeded 800,000 pounds. More importantly, significant lateral capacities influenced the use of multiple smaller shaft helical piles rather than fewer, larger capacity piles. With multiple piles battered to provide support in opposite directions, the lateral stability was greatly enhanced. In addition, site conditions, including rain, made installation challenging, but the crew was able to proceed with the work as planned because helical piers can be installed despite wetness, unlike other support methods. The crew completed the installation of 336 helical piers, for a total of 5,302 linear feet, in just five days.

Anchor System

The installation crew placed 336 2.5-inch, schedule 40 pipe piles comprising 5,302 linear feet at a 30-kip design/60-kip ultimate reading with a Pro-Dig 7k drive.


Work on the expansion proceeded, allowing the theater to expand for safe viewing. Coastal locations with sandy soil like this location present special stability challenges in especially wet, and sometimes threatening, climate conditions. Cantsink helical piers offer installation advantages over other stability methods and lasting stability benefits for these types of soils and weather conditions. With Cantsink helical piers, structural stability is assured for the life of the building.

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