Bellingham Marine’s company strategy is fairly simple; provide each client with a solution that provides the best value for their specific project and criteria. In order to find a balance between price and performance, each project must be looked at through its own unique lens.
The company relies heavily upon the expertise of its employees, its experience in the industry, and its network of outside professionals to provide each client with a best value option.
Innovation is embraced as a means to achieve “best value” rather than a goal in and of itself. It is this focus on value and ability to provide innovative solutions that allows Bellingham Marine to excel in its niche market and to be comfortable and successful in taking on unique, one-off projects.
In 2013, Bellingham Marine was approached by a major supplier of high quality construction aggregates. The company was looking for an innovative solution for mooring its Panamax bulk carriers at its new import terminal at the Port of Long Beach in California. The existing berth structures at the site were designed for barges and would not work for what the company needed. They needed a solution that would allow them to moor mid-sized bulk carries and support an efficient off-loading operation.
For the marina industry, 2012 continued a steady march forward toward greater innovation, higher customization and a stronger push for value.
The passing of time is inevitable; another year has come and gone and we are now well into 2013. Part fueled by tighter budgets and part by improvements in materials and technologies, the marina industry is becoming leaner and more advanced.
A look back at the many discussions with owners and developers over the year reveals an ever increasing importance being placed by owners on aesthetics, functionality and last but not least value.
Many of the trends in aesthetics center on customization and personalization. Each year, the number of clients requesting colored and /or stamped concrete docks increases. Rounded finger ends are becoming a standard feature in Australia and are continuing to increase in popularity in the U.S., use of LED lighting is becoming more widespread, and requests for hardwood and composite trim packages are starting to show up in large public projects.
Marina construction projects are a costly endeavor, and at the end of the day all marina owners and developers want the same thing – they want to know they’ve received the best value for their money. They want a marina that isn’t riddled with unnecessary costs, and they want a dock system that meets or exceeds their expectations for quality and performance.
Value Engineering is a term used frequently in the construction industry. Unfortunately, it has come to mean different things to different people and is often misused. In the true sense of the word, value engineering is a systematic method used to improve the “value” of something by examining its function and analyzing its function to cost ratio. To be done effectively, it requires intimate knowledge and a high level of understanding of the processes and /or engineering that went into the original system or product in order to make the judgment calls required to effectively improve its value without compromising the function or characteristics deemed important by the user.
Although numerous alternatives have become available since the early twentieth century when timber docks dominated the market, they remain a preferred choice for some, especially along certain seaboards. For some the natural warmth and aesthetic qualities of timber along with ease of assembly and repair make timber a preferred choice.
As with all dock systems not all designs or manufacturers are equal. However, assuming all performance specifications are on par with each other, one of the key components that can greatly impact the service life of your timber dock is the decking.
Exposed to the elements and heavy foot traffic, a durable deck that holds up to daily wear and tear and occasional hard use will ensure you get the best return on your investment. Unfortunately, the problem with most wood decks, even with pressure treating, is that over time the wood cracks, splits and splinters. One of the reasons is that the sun dries out the top but not the bottom causing the board to curl like a potato chip. The hard edges take the brunt of the foot traffic and over time breakdown and splinter leaving the wood susceptible to rot.
Building or renovating a marina can be, and usually is, a long and complicated process. One of the major obstacles these days is the permitting procedure. In order to obtain the necessary permits to move forward a good deal of time and money is required to complete concept designs, impact studies and environmental assessments.
Permit approval brings a developer only to the starting line of a project and the next stage will usually involve a complicated mix of marina consultants, architects, engineers, contractors, sub-contractors and a whole host of “experts”. Apart from the obvious cost of all these experts, a huge amount of the developer’s time is required to define their input, coordinate their work and assess their recommendations. The result of this process is a specification or tender document, which is then sent out to various marina construction companies who spend more time and money reworking the designs to suit their particular dock systems. This can involve cutting corners and interpreting specifications to allow the very minimum possible so as to ensure a competitive bid.
This is not an ideal situation for a developer who wants a quality marina. There is no doubt that this tried and tested system works; however, it comes at a cost of both time and money.