New lifeboat station for Mumbles

Work to construct an RNLI lifeboat station on Mumbles Pier, in West Glamorgan continues to make good progress.

Mumbles Lifeboat Station is a new facility for the area and replaces an existing station that has been in operation since 1863. The station is approximately two and a half times larger than the existing station and once work is complete on the facility it will be a key feature in the restoration of the historic pier.

BAM Nuttall is the main contractor on the Mumbles Lifeboat Station project, whilst Opus International Consultants is the designer, Alan Culshaw is the architect and Chris Smith is the lead designer.

Commenting on the construction of the new station, Head of Estates Management for RNLI, Howard Richings, said:

“The Mumbles is an iconic lifeboat station and in common with the other Tamar stations completed in recent years, presents significant technical and logistical challenges.

“The delicate nature of the historic pier means that the materials and construction plant is being brought in by sea to jack-up barge, which provides the leverage for the piling and building work.”

Howard added:

“An additional challenge unique to this project is the extreme tidal range – one of the biggest in the world – which significantly affects construction of the slipway, much of which lies in the inter-tidal zone and is subjected to strong currents and rapidly changing water levels.”

Immobilisation works began on the site in June 2012, with demolition works taking place shortly afterwards in order to provide access to the site.

HaskoningDHV is heavily involved with the construction process of the new lifeboat house in Mumbles, continuing a working relationship with the RNLI which has lasted for more than 100 years. Discussing some of the initial work on the site, Project Manager, Johnathan Kirkland of Royal HaskoningDHV, said:

“During the early works on the project the pier head was stripped back to where the pier stem finishes and then open ended tubes were driven into the site. All of the work was carefully monitored, as we didn’t want the process to have a negative effect on the remaining structure of the pier head.

“Due to the location of the tubes we haven’t been able to take the conventional approach to the construction of the boathouse. Instead of completing all the concrete works in-situ we have instead used pre-cast units as a base structure.

“Once the slab has been constructed the pier head will then be reinstated around the new lifeboat station slab and two new fishing platforms will be constructed on either side of the pier head.

“We are currently piling for the slipway and work is scheduled for completion in October/November 2013.”

Johnathan added:

“It is fantastic to be involved with schemes such as these, which update and improve RNLI lifeboat houses. Some of the changes being made on the boathouses are once in a generation changes, so this is a great opportunity to be a part of the work being undertaken in Mumbles.

“The RNLI have a framework in place for updating their stations, which means we know exactly what the key issues for modernising and updating each site are and we can work out a cost effective solution with contractors.”

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