Seahouses Pier Restoration

This project was an excellent example of partnership working on a key sea defence infrastructure which protects homes and businesses in the harbour area from flood and erosion risk from the sea.

Paul Jones | Director of Local Service, Northumberland County Council

Complete
money
99%
spend within 40 miles of site
tools
100%
of supply chain were SMEs
ccs
44/50
Consider Constructors Scheme

Northumberland County Council commissioned the restoration of the main pier in Seahouses, following experts estimating that exposure to the elements and constant buffeting by the sea had left the pier with only 10-15 years of usable life left in it. Work began in April 2019 to 're-skin' the whole pier, ensuring it remains in good condition for years to come.

The project was delivered by Balfour Beatty via our Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework, with the building works completed in an extremely sensitive marine conservation area and every effort was made to minimise any adverse environmental impacts.

Seahouses Main Pier was originally constructed in 1889 to support the lime and fishing industries. Today, the harbour plays a valuable role in supporting the local tourism industry as the sole point from which to access the Farne Islands; home to breeding birds and England's largest colony of seals.

Exposure to the elements and constant erosion from the sea had left the pier structure in very poor condition. The pier is within a number areas of scientific interest, outstanding natural beauty and special protection. Working collaboratively with the Marine Management Organisation and Natural England to minimise and prevent environmental impact throughout the duration of the scheme was vital.

To protect Seahouses pier from further erosion and reduce the risk of flooding, a complex restoration of the pier’s structure was completed.

Works included:

  • Filling underwater voids with concrete to strengthen the existing walls
  • Encasing the pier with a 300mm thick layer of locally sourced concrete, in effect creating a new wall around the pier
  • Capping the new concrete wall with concrete slabs to secure the core and provide a working deck

With a tight budget, all parties worked together to develop and design a scheme that would deliver value for money whilst ensuring buildability and consideration to the sensitive marine environment.

Through Early Contractor Involvement, a variety of options to reduce construction risk, whilst balancing impact on cost and programme were explored and approximately £380,000 of savings were identified.

Throughout the duration of the project, Balfour Beatty maintained access to the pier for the 150,000 members of the public that embarked on Farne Island boat tours.

The restoration of the pier will help to safeguard the harbour’s future, fishing and tourism industries for another 100 years and protect approximately 26 businesses and 139 homes from the risk of sea flooding and coastal erosion.

The Environment Agency estimates that Seahouses pier better protects businesses and 139 homes from the risk of flooding from the sea.

Delivered by

Project Statistics

Project value

£3 million

Sector

Infrastructure & Flood Defence

ECI savings

£380,000

Spend within 40 miles of site

99%

Supply chain spend with SMEs

100%

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