What Is Marine Construction, and what does it involve?
At its core, marine construction is about building in, on, or adjacent to a body of water. This may be a private or commercial property, or as an aspect of marine civil construction. Often, this wide range of projects involves the expertise of marine piling contractors and the hiring of marine construction equipment, or plant.
Specialist marine engineers and project managers with years of experience in marine civil engineering use a variety of marine plant hire to carry out construction projects.
In order to get the necessary plant like piling equipment to the site, marine contractors must use specialised work boats. These can be crane boats, digger pontoons, or other boats designed to transport large machinery.
Some plant are road transportable, but the construction site might not be accessible except by water. Therefore, it is often more cost effective to have rental access to a fleet of marine plant that can move on canals and rivers.
Floating plant is necessary in places like city centres and other urban areas where access by road or towpath is either impossible or impractical. For example, even if a traditional digger or crane were able to get to a canal edge, it would likely block a route used by pedestrians and cyclists.
Large equipment may also damage a towpath, which would then require subsequent repair. A better choice is to use plant and equipment that can be transported and used directly on the water.
For almost every type of construction equipment, there is a marine equivalent. Pontoon boats, an incredibly versatile boat, is a floating platform that – depending on the specific pontoon – can carry several tonnes. These include the powered excavator pontoon which is 40-feet long, and the wide beam crane pontoon, which has a maximum lift of eight tonnes.
Also, the narrow beam digger pontoon can access awkward locations via canal or river at which point the digger can stay on the pontoon and be operated from the water, or the digger can disembark to be operated from the ground, without needing a land accessible route.
One major aspect of marine construction is piling. Piling is when metal, wood, or concrete posts (or sheets, in the case of sheet piling) are driven into the ground. This is often done as part of building the foundation in the early stages of construction, but can also be used to create a retaining wall.
Marine piling has to take into account the conditions of river and canal beds, the chemical composition of the water, and the oxygenation of the water, to decide which material is best for the particular requirements of each piling task.
As with diggers and cranes, piling equipment, like hydraulic piling hammers, can be used on a canal or river bank, and on a pontoon. Sheet piling is especially important in marine construction as it uses interlocking sheets driven into the ground to make banks and towpaths safe from collapse.