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Marine civil engineering design uses steel sheet or heavy tubular piling as a common method of construction in port infrastructure, however, this approach has considerable limitations. As the design life of steel structures in salt water is typically 25 years which is considerably reduced in areas of accelerated corrosion, the necessary cathodic protection and ongoing maintenance is also very expensive. Virtually all the steel used in UK marine construction is imported from the Far East which adds to our balance of payments deficit and provides no work or job opportunities for UK companies.
The use of pre-cast concrete in marine construction:
As a spin-off from the company's offshore wind turbine foundation design, Concrete Marine Solutions can now offer port and harbour authorities an innovative, cost effective alternative to traditional steel sheet piling, combi walls or piled structures, as a method of building piers, quays, jetties and breakwaters. The concept is specifically designed to simplify construction and reduce or eliminate floating plant, mitigating the risks normally associated with all marine operations. Seabed levels are accessed from the surface and require no divers or extensive seabed preparation. Where possible, construction is based on an erect and advance basis which requires no temporary works and minimises the weather risk during construction.
The durability of concrete in a marine environment is well known and a design life of 100 years + is perfectly possible with minimal maintenance. The system is designed to minimise disruption at ports through the fast and accurate installation of precast concrete elements which incorporate fendering, access ladders, service ducts, and deck furniture.
The standard pre-cast concrete sections can be manufactured under controlled conditions by UK companies using indigenous materials at quarries convenient to the construction site. They can be stockpiled in advance to ensure continuity of supply during the construction phase.