NI Science Park wished to restore the existing dock in Belfast Harbour as part of the Titanic quarter visitor attraction.
The Thompson dry dock was constructed in 1910 and at the time was the largest dry dock in the world at almost 300m long, 50m wide and 15m deep. The dock and caisson gate were built to facilitate fit-out of the Titanic liner by Harland and Wolff and the dock is a Scheduled Monument.
Since closure, the caisson gates had fallen into disrepair with the dock at risk of flooding. As part of a programme to develop the site into a visitor attraction the dock was refurbished, with a new caisson wall in front of the existing wall to relieve sea pressure from the original structure.
Due to the client concerns on the stability and integrity of the existing quay walls, a number of innovative construction approaches and methodologies were used to deliver the scheme objectives, including measures to eliminate water ingress, consideration of abnormal loads and the age and historical use of the dock. We successfully delivered this project within a very restricted space, avoiding any damage to this critical part of Belfast’s industrial heritage.