Blackwall Yard Geotechnical Investigation Work

In February we were approached by an existing client who required assistance with access to undertake some Geotechnical Investigation works of a long disused dry dock in East London. The Dock in question – Blackwall Yard is a Grade 2 Listed Dock and has a rich history of shipbuilding and later ship repairs and remained operational for over 350 years. However, as with much of East London’s ship building heritage, the docks closed, the works moved elsewhere and the yard was left empty and unused, that all looks set to change with redevelopment of the area due to commence. As part of the plans the dry or graving dock is due to take centre stage as a focal point of the development.

As part of the redevelopment works our client had been tasked with drilling a number of investigation holes within the dock using a small drilling rig. The issue they had was how to go about this, having not been operational for over 50 years the dry dock gates aren’t as water tight as they once were the Thames floods and empties the dock daily, leaving behind a heavy build up of silt.

Thankfully for them (and us) our pontoons provide the perfect solution for these tidal conditions. Our modular pontoon system is flexible yet strong enough that at low tide it is able to follow undulating ground and as a result simply rest on top of the uneven silt. Yet at high tide it can float up with the rising water and offer sufficient buoyancy to house the drilling rig and our clients safely and securely.

We were unable to get our haulage vehicle with HIAB crane close enough to lift the pontoons directly into the dock itself. As a result, we had to call upon City Lifting and one of their truck cranes. The pontoons were unloaded from the haulage vehicle into the car park and then lifted into the dock using the crane, from there our expert installation team took over and did what they do best! Making use of the rising tide we were able to get all 230 sqm of pontoon on the water on day 1 one and secured in place, complete with moon pools in the pontoon allowing the drilling rig to do its thing from the safe confines of the pontoon. The pontoon was then fitted with Combisafe edge protection on all exposed edges and signed over to our client as ready for use.

We love what we do and on jobs like this when you get to have a little sneak peek at the maritime history of our little old country its even better, like they say – Every day is a school day!

If we can be of assistance with any geotechnical investigation works (they don’t have to be on listed dry docks) then please give us a call on 01590 607104, we’d love to help out.