Project Case Studies
Coastal Protection, Fairmont Ajman
Ecocoast was contracted to carry out emergency protection works at the Fairmont Hotel’s beach in a fastrack project to be completed in a short timeframe so as to not delay the hotel’s opening.
The hotel’s beach is subject to high waves and rough seas, particularly during Shamal season. The hotel’s retaining wall was built close to the hotel perimeter with a step down to the beach. The hotel owners wished to protect the hotel’s perimeter as well as create a larger beach that flowed directly from the hotel without a steep drop-off.
Ecocoast developed a new solution for coastal erosion protection using a combination of Trapbags and Geobags. The wall consists of a 2m high Trapbag® wall faced with over 300 Geobags to create a heavy duty protection wall that is 15m in front of the Hotel’s original concrete retaining wall. On completion the wall will be buried completely and invisible to Hotel guests until a significant storm event brings it into play.
Trapbags were originally designed for emergency flood protection in the US, but they are also ideal for coastal protection works. Due to their speed of installation and cost effectiveness they are a quick solution to short term erosion protection or as part of a longer term emergency protection plan for one-off or irregular storm events to protect key assets. We've been working with Geobags in the UAE as a solution for coastal protection for years, and now using a combined design with Trapbags, we can offer an advantage in both the speed of installation and price.
Coastal Protection, Hiltonia Beach Abu Dhabi
The construction of a protected, low maintenance, high quality beach to create value for the hotel rather than a financial burden. A long-term asset-leveraging solution.
Severe erosion was being caused by a combination of high tides, wind swell and boat wakes being generated from the deep channel in front of the beach and hitting the steep beach slope in the tidal zone. This was causing loss of beach and reduction of area for beach facilities and guests. Ongoing beach nourishment was proving costly and caused disruption to guests. This was resulting in a significant reduction to the value of the beach and resort.
Initial sand nourishment to stabilise beach, coupled with submerged toe structure to create a perched beach to protect beach and prevent erosion.
- Long-term solution: creation of a stabilised beach without ongoing disruption from re-nourishment activities.
- Cost savings: reduced need for re-nourishment
- No impact on ocean views: submerged structure, minimum 2m below sea level at low tide.
- No risk to safety of guests: submerged, soft structure, and will be a minimum of 2m below sea level at low tide.
Marine Construction, Dubai Offshore Sailing Club
Removal and installation of piles for marina at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club.
Coastal Protection, Private Island, Abu Dhabi
Our client, an Abu Dhabi based developer, appointed Ecocoast as its coastal advisors to protect and improve the coastline of its luxury island development off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Ecocoast provided an integrated design and construction solution for the entire island that was in-line with the client’s environmentally responsible philosophy.
The changeable nature of the surrounding mobile sand shoals and migrating channels on the island required Ecocoast to develop site-specific, low-risk and robust designs to cope with the changing environment. The construction materials needed to be equally as robust to effectively divert tidal flow, prevent erosion, protect the coastline from strong tidal forces and ultimately stabilize the island. An integrated design for the entire island, taking into account future construction and reclamation works, was required.
The coastal protection and beach stabilisation works were based on comprehensive coastal engineering studies of the site that included detailed bathymetric survey and wave and current modeling. The design developed was a series of low crested, submerged, segmented breakwaters linked with a continuous toe to seaward – similar to a natural fringing reef – combined with rock breakwater structures in key locations. It is designed to reduce wave height and resultant wave-driven currents and to create a protected sandy beach. The segmented design also enables essential flushing of water to prevent stagnation and reduce siltation.
The solutions for each section of the island were designed to blend into the natural environment and provide safe sandy swimming beaches. The construction methodology implemented sustainable building strategies, and used construction materials to ensure a good aesthetic for the luxury development.
Coastal Protection, Sheraton Hotel Jumeirah
Ecocoast was contracted to install a retaining wall consisting of 5 tonne sand-filled geosynthetic containers to protect the hotel’s playground from further erosion.
This year’s Shamal season caused significant erosion to the hotel’s beach, and in particular, strong waves had begun to erode the hotel’s playground area. Following previous Shamal seasons, the beach required consistent nourishing with new high-quality beach sand to provide hotel guests with a pleasant beach, at significant cost to the hotel.
Ecocoast installed a 40m long wall using 5 rows of 5 tonne sand-filled geosynthetic containers. The “sandbag” retaining wall is a more permanent solution, allowing the hotel to avoid the costly exercise of purchasing high-quality beach sand to re-nourish the beach following each Shamal. There is also no danger of the hotel’s playground being subjected to further erosion. The sand-filled geocontainers are a softer and more visually appealing structure for hotel guests than a rock wall and provide a safe stepped walkway/sitting area. Future plans to extend the protection works offshore and further along the hotel’s beach are underway.
Coastal Protection, Sir Bani Yas Island Abu Dhabi
The Desert Islands, Anantara Resort and Spa is situated on the exposed northern side of Sir Bani Yas Island surrounded by a flat rocky reef. Due to its location, previous attempts to create a beach for hotel guests had been unsuccessful and waves were regularly breaking onto the gabion retaining wall protecting the pool. To provide protection, plans were initially drawn up to create a rock fringing breakwater that would have been fully emerged and would have had significant impact on the natural reef and obscured the ocean view for the guests.
Ecocoast was requested to provide an alternative solution which consisted of a low crested segmented breakwater created from sand-filled geotextile containers. The design consisted of over 80 containers, each 25m long and weighing in excess of 300 tonnes. In keeping with the island’s eco ideology, local sand was used to fill the geosynthetic containers, avoiding the need to quarry rock then transport it hundreds of kilometres. An alternative to a larger rock breakwater, the use of geotextiles provides numerous benefits. The primary advantage is a reduced footprint which avoids sensitive hamour habitat areas off the hotel’s coast. The inherent softness of the structure also provides a safer experience for beach users and the natural colouring and organic forms of the containers provide lower visual impact on the environment.
The previously exposed rocky barren foreshore of the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Hotel & Spa has been transformed into a sandy beach protected by an eco-friendly reef in-line with Sir Ban Yas Island’s ethos of conservation and preservation. This uniquely designed low-crested reef mimics natural fringing reefs which break waves offshore and protect the beach. Initial monitoring shows the structure is already providing a substrate for algaes and a habitat for fish and crustaceans.
Coastal Protection, Fishing Harbour Umm Al Quwain
The project was to increase the size of the Umm Al Quwain Fishing Harbour to accommodate 300 commercial fishing vessels; providing a protected location with floating marina berths for these vessels, many of which were previously moored ad hoc on the banks of Umm Al Quwain estuary. The harbour also includes a new UAE Coast Guard facility with reporting berths to monitor fishing and boating operations.
Ecocoast was engaged by the Principal Marina Contractor, Al Manzel, to undertake all stages of the breakwater work from the site investigations to the construction supervision.
The site is exposed to moderate-large swells generated over the full reach of the Arabian Gulf. The southern breakwater is adjacent to the prevailing Northwesterly wind and swell, whereas the northern breakwater is exposed to smaller swells generated from the Northeast.
The construction needed to be carried out in the shamal storm season. The challenge was to produce a cost effective design and construction methodology that could be constructed by local contractors during the shamal season without excessive delays and downtime and to keep within a tight budget.
The existing breakwater required the removal of a large quantity of material before the extension on the southern breakwater could progress. Much of the existing limestone rock armour appeared to have bio-erosion occurring due to rock-boring bivalves.
The project involved bathymetric survey, numerical modelling, detailed design and supervision. The final design was developed in close cooperation with Al Manzel and the Client. The final design was in accordance with the UK Rock Manual and included an additional 800m of rock breakwaters.
The rock armour and core material from the original fishing harbour were considered satisfactory for re-use in the new design, with potential environmental benefits resulting from re-using the bio-eroded limestone (See here for further details regarding bioerosion.) Denser Gabbro rock was also utilised in the construction and large 3-6 tonne rock armour was placed on the seaward face of the southern breakwater where the most significant wave action was expected.
Significant cost savings were achieved by:
- Designing to suit the local contracting plant and methods
- Maximizing the recovery and reusing of existing rock
- Minimizing the crest width and heights
- A very high standard of on-site supervision and project management allowing additions, such as a boat slip requested by client, to be included
Construction management during adverse weather was controlled using a dynamic approach to temporarily protect exposed areas when meteorological models indicated potentially damaging storm events. These storm events were almost a weekly occurance whilst constructing during the winter "Shamal" season.
Coastal Protection, Jangwani Beach Tanzania
Our client’s hotel boundary was under severe threat due to erosion. The dominant feature of the coastline and the hotel’s beach frontage is a rocky shelf which extended some 300m from the shoreline and was completely exposed at low tides. The sandy beach in front of the hotel was under nourished and eroding.
Our hotel developer client enlisted Ecocoast’s services to inspect its site in Jangwani on the East coast of Tanzania. Ecocoast conducted extensive survey of the site and provided analysis and design options to protect the hotel and enhance beach amenity. Key factors driving design were retaining the visual aesthetics and usability of the beach for hotel guests, together with achieving a practical construction methodology that could be easily managed by a local contractor using largely manual labour. The latter factor ruled out the use of sand-filled geotextile containers; the most user-friendly and visually pleasing option. Upon approval of the final design, Ecocoast project managed the construction and supplied construction materials.
Balancing the need for a user-friendly construction methodology, together with achieving a visually appealing beach, Ecocoast designed a highly practical and cost-effective structure to protect the hotel and improve the beach simultaneously. The structure consisted of a terminal seawall partially buried under nourished beach along the property boundary using 5 tonne sand filled geotextile containers. The seawall was designed to provide erosion protection in severe events and delineate the sandy beach and landscaped areas as well as provide user friendly stepped access down to the beach. The design also included a mixed geotextile container and gabion groyne/breakwater.
Coastal Protection, Private Island 2 Abu Dhabi
Ecocoast was contracted to provide a low-crested breakwater to widen the existing beach on a Private Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
The island’s existing stub groyne was too short and high tidal velocities were causing scouring off the beach. As a result, the beach required consistent nourishing and dredging which was both costly and damaging to the environment. Due to its remote location, a traditional rock structure would have proven too costly and time consuming as the rock would need to be brought in by barges.
By installing 60m sand-filled containers, works were completed in two days and the tidal flow was redirected allowing a stable beach to form.
Marine Works, FIFA World Cup Beach Soccer Dubai
The Dubai Sports Council requested for Ecocoast to design and install a temporary and economical beach protection structure to protect the site of the FIFA World Cup Beach Soccer.
The site for the FIFA World Cup Beach Soccer at Umm Sequim Beach in Dubai was low, uneven and very vulnerable to overtopping. In addition, the event was planned to take place during “Shamal Season”; a period of frequent high winds and seas across the Arabian Gulf.
Ecocoast’s engineers designed and installed a unique 300m long geotextile 'geobund' to temporarily protect the beach for the Beach Soccer event. In addition to these works the entire beach was leveled and resurfaced with high quality beach sand suitable for the world class event. During the event, the installation withstood several shamals combined with spring tides. It was removed once the temporary stadium had been safely removed from site.
Marine Works, UAE National Day Fireworks Burj Al Arab
Ecocoast was contracted by Ruggieri to project manage the marine elements of the fireworks display for the 42nd and 43rd UAE National Day at the Burj Al Arab. This included supplying a fleet of barges and pontoons and modifying them for the fireworks set-up, developing the anchoring configuration in close but safe proximity from the Burj, installing the vessels and providing all project management services for the marine based works.
Marine Works, World Parachuting Championships Dubai
Ecocoast was contracted to manage marine works relating to the World Parachuting Championships 2012 in Dubai. The main works related to the Opening Ceremony Event, and included the secure mooring of the Mega Yacht “Dubai”, the second largest private yacht in the world at 162 metres. The M/Y Dubai, being the centerpiece of the Opening Ceremony, was to be securely moored for 3 days close to a rock breakwater to act as a unique “projection screen” for the Opening Ceremony film. This was a world first. Other works also included the supply and installation of a flame barge and the installation and repair of pontoons at the Skydive Dubai site to cope with the high volume of marine traffic.
Marine Construction, Lululaiah Fujariah
Removal of old marina and installation of piles for pontoon system at CICPA Coastguard Station, Lululaiah, Fujariah.
Coastal Protection, Rixos Bab Al Bahr
Beach cleaning and sand nourishment works for beach expansion and coastal protection at Rixos Bab Al Bahr, Ras Al Khaimah.
New Years Eve Fireworks 2016
Ecocoast was contracted to manage all marine works relating to the New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Dubai including design, fabrication and installation of barges and floating pontoons.
To design and manufacture over 180 floating platforms to withstand high forces and Shamal weather, and deploy the platforms along over 20km of Dubai coastline and waterways. Also to provide Project Management for all the marine based work involved in the event.
Ecocoast was honoured to be part of another successful New Years Eve fireworks event.
RECLAIMED ISLAND, DUBAI
Ecocoast was contracted to install a temporary retaining wall to cover approximately 500m of beach to protect a newly reclaimed island during construction works for a period of approximately 2 years.
Severe erosion was encroaching upon the temporary roads and buildings involved in the development of the island, threatening to disrupt the ongoing construction work. A protection structure needed to be cost-effective, quick to install and remove at the end of construction works.
Ecocoast installed over 1,800 units of geocontainers. The resulting “sandbag” retaining wall is a robust solution to protect the island from further erosion. The sand-filled geocontainers provide an effective, safe & reliable solution that can also be quickly removed at the end of construction works to create a useable beach.
Marine Piling, Louvre Abu Dhabi
Ecocoast was contracted to carry out the marine piling works for the marine facilities at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. A total of 6 tubular piles for restraining VIP pontoons (i.e. the VIP water entrance to the museum) were fabricated and installed underneath the intricate roof of this iconic project.
Besides marine piling, Ecocoast was also contracted to design, supply and install almost 1km of silt curtains to protect the nearby marine environment during the construction of the temporary bund.
The newly constructed roof of the museum posed a problem for most commonly used machinery for this type of work, due to the limited overhead space. Ecocoast developed a well-planned, systematic installation methodology to successfully complete the works; within close proximity of the finished structure and with the added challenge of incredibly restricted access.
As the piles could not be installed in one piece, Ecocoast divided the piles into two sections of equal lengths (6 meters each). The first half of the pile was installed to reach full embedment of the pile design, whilst leaving an appropriate amount of pile above ground to complete the welding of the remaining half.
The remaining section of the pile was placed on top of the first section, in which verticality of the pile was ensured through tried and tested methods.
Marine Infrastructure, Dubai Marina
Ecocoast was contracted to design and install access platforms and tubular piles for pontoons in 4 locations in Dubai Marina, in order to expand the berthing capacity.
Dubai Marina is one of the first and largest of its kind water developments in the region, featuring residential and commercial buildings, entertainment and leisure facilities.
Ecocoast was contracted to carry out the design and installation of steel piles, steel frames and precast concrete decking for the four access platforms. The latter being quite a new approach for marine structures in the region.
All pontoon piles were sleeved with HDPE to extend their lifespan and reduce maintenance. The pile sleeves are an alternative to removing and replacing marine piles, adding to their life span and reducing future maintenance or replacement costs.
The result is a clean and smooth appearance from sleeves that offer unparalleled protection.
Dubai Marina now has four new marinas, designed for longevity, and adding to the vibrancy of the growing precinct.
Marine Infrastructure, Montgomerie Golf Club Dam
Ecocoast was asked to install a temporary dam in the irrigation lake at Montgomerie Golf Club in Dubai, in order to provide a dry environment for the construction of a new pump house inlet pipe for the new irrigation system.
As the irrigation lake was required to be in use at all times, Ecocoast had limited window to complete the project. The first step was to reduce the water level in the lake, after which the foundation phase could start. Bulk bags filled with sand were placed in a pyramid arrangement to provide a stable and efficient structure. As the contours of the lake caused gaps between the bulk bags to allow water to flow through, a waterproof liner was laid over the top of the bulk bags to close the gaps and make the entire structure watertight.
The main challenge was to come up with a solid dam solution for a working irrigation lake and maintain the actual structure. An existing pump station that utilized the lake could not be stopped; the new pump station utilized the same lake. Additional complication of the delicate existing liner that could not be damaged, an innovative solution was required.
It was important for the foundation to be in position properly, to ensure the temporary dam could not break or move, as the lake liner has inherently low friction.
Even though challenges were met along the way, Ecocoast was able to install and remove the temporary dam within the required period of time.
Piling Protection, Dubai Marina Yacht Club
We have been working with HDPE Piling Sleeves for many years to prolong the life of marine piles. Most recently we have been studying alternate solutions to offer additional longevity - whether they are old and rusting marine piles, or new installations. UHMW-PE Piling Sleeves have been used in the US for over 10 years, and we recently partnered with the manufacturer of these sleeves to carry out the first installation in the Middle East.
The sleeves are made from Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene - the toughest plastic in the world. UHMW-PE is highly resistant to corrosive chemicals, has extremely low moisture absorption and a very low coefficient of friction. The material is highly resistant to abrasion, making it an ideal material for use in marine environment. The sleeves are heat-shrunk onto piles to offer additional protection and prevent corrosion. The most common use of the sleeves is on old, rusting piles that are nearing the end of their lifespan, however they can also be installed on new piles.
We recently installed UHMW-PE sleeves on two old corroded piles at Dubai Marine Yacht Club in Dubai, in order to have a local “proof of life” of the finished product, and to also perfect the installation process before embarking on our next marina-wide installation.
Prior to the actual sleeving process, the old piles had to be cleaned of all marine growth. This was done by using a high pressure steam cleaner above the water level and divers below the water. Following surface cleaning, traces of rust were removed by grinder and cavities were filled by epoxy putty, making for a smooth surface that would enable the subsequent sleeving process.
With one of its properties being shrinking at high temperatures, a custom-made UHMW-PE sleeve was placed around the previously cleaned pile and then steamed to fit tightly around the pile. By lowering the steaming “jacket” below the water level, the steaming process continued down the pile, along the full length of the sleeve.
After cleaning of the piles, the installation process takes about 2-3 hours per pile using minimal equipment and manpower. The works were carried out on an existing pontoon, and using an additional small floating pontoon. This methodology presents significant savings compared to pile replacement in terms of equipment, material costs, manpower and time.
The installed sleeves provide additional protection to the existing piles, effectively doubling their lifespan. They prevent the onset of corrosion, avert impacts and structural damage, extend the life of pads, but very importantly, they also improve the piles aesthetically.
Sleeved versus Unsleeved
The difference between sleeved versus unsleeved steel pontoon piles is rather significant. The examples below show piles in Dubai Marina Yacht Club with and without UHMW-PE sleeve.
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Ecocoast Contracting LLC, P.O. Box 72768, Dubai, UAE