From steam pile drivers to excavator mounted vibrators (EMV) and geotextiles. The technologies may have changed but the importance of solid foundations hasn’t.

Fremantle Harbour was design by Irish engineer Charles Yelverton O’Connor and commenced construction in 1892.

It was designed with greater width than traditional ports enabling the port to provide for future shipping. CY O’Connor understood that ports are living, dynamic operations and that to service their communities they need to be able to respond to changing technologies and demands. For example, the transition from sail to steam and timber to iron ships.

One thing that hasn’t changed over time is the importance of a solid foundation. Fremantle Port has been around for 124 years and it’s the ongoing remediation and foundation strengthening which has ensured its ongoing success.

After an opening of a sinkhole behind an existing sheet pile wall, Duratec was engaged to carry out remedial strengthening works.

The original sheet pile wall was being undermined and had been compromised in locations. To remediate the problem a new sheet pile wall was installed behind the original using an excavator mounted vibrator. The area between the walls was filled with reinforced concreted for extra stability and durability.

To stop subsidence issues and provide additional support to Shed C and the wharf deck, screw piles were installed under some C Shed columns. Screw piles are a great way of providing foundation support with less disturbance to the soil during installation.

In additional to the piling works, a layer of geotextile was laid at the base of the excavation to minimise the risk of washout, ensuring a high degree of stability for many years to come.