Canada’s newest marina, Milltown Marina, sits on the outskirts of downtown Vancouver, B.C. in a well-protected basin on the North Arm of the Frasier River.
The marina’s story is not that different from other Greenfield projects, and it’s actually the commonalities that it shares with other projects that makes it an interesting case study. Milltown started out the way many new marina projects do with a vision for the site, then a concept design and finally a layout for the docks followed by an issuance of a Request for Proposal (RFP).
Like a growing number of Greenfield marina projects, the response to the RFP is where the Milltown project deviated from its original course. The original plan was to get bids from dock builders to supply the docks that when assembled in the water by a general contractor would make up the configuration shown in the original drawing. The anchoring system would be supplied and installed by a third party and the utilities and accessory packages would be handled separately. This approach was designed to cut out any middlemen and avoid extra markups. In theory, the concept makes sense. The problem is that the modern marina is a complex web of interconnected systems that is most often best approached as a single system by a marina builder who specializes in the design/build of marina systems and who can take advantage of economies of scale. This is where the real savings happens.
Use of telescoping pile in floating concrete marina design was first conceived by Bellingham Marine in 2006 during the design of a 150 meter long floating wave attenuator for the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli near Sydney, Australia.
Since its use at Kirribilli, Bellingham’s telescoping pile has been used on several other projects and is gaining popularity among high end marina owners that are looking for a mooring solution for their floating docks that combines the benefits of a traditional pile system with the clean visual look of a chain anchored dock system.
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.