Newquay Harbour

North Pier

Newquay Harbour’s North Pier was showing signs of instability after nearly 200 years of battering from the sea. Cormac was brought in to stabilise the structure and make masonry repairs.

Newquay Harbour

A History of Attrition

Repairing the harbour wall

Newquay Harbour was built in 1832 for the export of china clay, iron ore and grain, and the import of coal, manure, salt and limestone.

Over the years, worn by the harsh marine environment, the pier had become severely undercut and was showing signs of instability. Cormac was brought in to stabilise and rebuild the structure to ensure its resilience in decades to come. The designs included using steel sheet piles, concrete and complex masonry repairs.

We also designed in new features to make the pier and harbour wall more accessible to local residents and harbour users, including harbour steps, a plaswood fendering system for docking boats, a new handrail and bollards.

Our extensive experience in marine construction, repairs and sea defences made Cormac the obvious choice for this contract. Offering a multi-disciplinary approach, a wide range of relevant equipment and access to trusted local contractors, the first job was to manage the logistics of the project.

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Access all Areas

Finding solutions to congestion

In perennially popular Newquay, one of the biggest challenges was access. Andrew Berryman says: ‘It was difficult getting the materials to the site. We had to site the crane on the north pier, which meant closing the end of the pier off. All materials had to be brought in by barge due to the restricted area. The concrete was all brought in by lorry, which was very restrictive – so we had to create a traffic management plan.’

The work was noisy and disruptive, with heavy plant and concrete tankers sometimes blocking access to their homes, parking and businesses for long periods.

Liaising with locals was absolutely key – and Cormac is well versed in dealing with the community in projects like this: ‘Newquay is always busy,’ explains Andy Berryman. ‘There were a lot of liaisons between Cormac, the county councillor and local residents and businesses to make sure that it affected them as little as possible.’

Construction Challenges

Stormy waters

To reduce the impact of the works, the repairs were carried out during the winter. While this helped the local residents and businesses, it certainly made the job more challenging, with unpredictable weather and ferocious tidal conditions.

The construction work was carried out by crane from a barge and the pier. The project involved excavation of excess sand, then cutting a trench in to the harbour bed using a rock-saw. Nearly 90 steel sheet piles were driven into the trench, and concrete poured behind them, to provide a new layer of protection.

In order for the concrete to achieve the desired strength and durability, it had to be continuously poured, with deliveries changing over every 40 minutes, for a period of four weeks.

A steel reinforced capping beam was then installed, with more concrete pumped from tankers located 150m away, on the narrow harbour access road. In total, over 140 cubic metres of concrete were poured. 

Environment Matters

Handling the impact on marine life and locals alike

As Newquay Pier is both a heritage and a marine site, we worked closely with a number of organisations, including Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Environment Agency (EA), Historic England, and Cornwall Council’s Conservation team to ensure that the work protected the marine environment and preserved the Grade II Listed status of the pier. Our own heritage and environment teams guided us from the design stage, right through to completion.

Communication, as ever, was one of our great strengths in this project – making sure that the local community was constantly informed and relevant concerns were handled with sensitivity.

We are hugely grateful for the support of the local population as well as these agencies to ensure that the project was completed with the minimum of impact.

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    Years Since the Pier Was Built

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    Meters Cubed of Concrete Poured Continuously

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    Sheet Piles Driven Into a Trench in the Harbour Floor

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    Minutes Between Each Concrete Delivery

  • Luckily, we had a lot of local support for the project – partly thanks to our open communications, and making every effort to reduce the impact on them through our traffic management plan.

    Andrew Berryman

    Senior Contracts Manager

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Cormac began as a business with a remit to service all the civil engineering needs of Cornwall. As a consequence we have an extensive range of specialist skillsets, and can offer a true end-to-end service to our clients in Cornwall and beyond.

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