Waterfront Protection Structures – How to Safeguard Your Property and the Environment

Do you or your organization own a waterfront structure such as a jetty or bulkhead? Do you know the condition of it?  Is it structurally sound?  And safe?  Does it comply with the local regulations?

Waterfront Protection StructuresMany waterfront structures are not managed as well as they should be, and only receive attention after something fails or a notice is sent to the owner by a regulatory agency.  This is clearly not the best way to manage an asset.  You wouldn’t neglect your roof integrity until it collapsed into your living room or forget to get your car serviced until it broke down on the side of the road.  A waterfront structure is no different.

When a property owner does get waterfront protection structures inspected, the inspections are often performed by untrained persons.  While anyone can observe a structure and notice its features, only an engineer with years of experience can assess a structure and its components with engineering judgement.

The American Society of Civil Engineers Waterfront Protection Structuresrecently released the Waterfront Facilities and Inspection Assessment Manual to standardize inspection procedures and assessment across a range of materials commonly used in the construction of waterfront structures.  The guidelines allow a more stringent inspection by engineers with methods that can be repeated with certainty.

As the manual states, “Inspections are a necessary part of effective waterfront facility maintenance management programs.  They play an important role in protecting the public, providing reliable service, protecting the environment, and reducing maintenance and construction costs.”

There are a number of reasons why waterfront facility owners should get their structures inspected.  Some of these include:

  • Routine / Due Diligence Inspection – To determine a baseline to which further inspections are compared and to support development of maintenance plans.
  • Special Purpose Inspection – To perform a detailed investigation of a structure to understand the extent of any deterioration.
  • Repair or Upgrade Design Inspection – To record attributes of each defect so designs and / or bid documents can be prepared.
  • New Construction Inspection – To ensure quality control during and after construction.

With warm weather upon us, now is the time to make sure your waterfront protection structures are safe and meets all applicable regulations.  If action is required, Walden Environmental Engineering can handle all issues, from designs to permitting to construction management.  Please call us at (516) 624-7200 if you own or are responsible for a waterfront structure and learn how we can help you better manage these assets.

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