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Waterfront Dock Strengthening - How Composites Are Rising to the Challenge

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, located in Coal Harbour, British Columbia, stands as one of the world's premier yacht clubs. Year after year, its thousands of members enjoy the world-class facilities and exclusive access to some of the finest boating opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.


This oceanfront environment in the Burrard Inlet can present unique challenges for property owners. From December to February, winter storms can usher in strong winds, which can elevate water levels in this region by 20 to 40 inches (50 -100 cm) above the normal levels. These storm surges can lead to complications when they coincide with king tides, which are exceptionally high seasonal tides occurring three or four times a year during the winter season. Consequently, the significant floating concrete docks along the waterfront face substantial stresses, necessitating high-strength solutions capable of withstanding these forces.

Image of a boat ramp on a floating dock at a The Royal Vancouver Yacht club, showing significant cracks in the concrete surface.
Boat Ramp with Cracked Concrete on a Floating Dock at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club

The floating concrete boat ramp on one of the docks at the Yacht Club was experiencing extensive cracking. Zervan Engineering, out of North Vancouver was contracted to inspect the damage and look for possible repair options. Zervan reached out to Structural Reinforcement Solutions for a non-corrosive engineered composite repair solution that utilized SRS' Carbon Fiber Strengthening Systems.


Visual representation of an engineered structural design solution focused on reinforcing a cracked concrete dock
Structural Design Solution For Cracked Concrete Dock Reinforcement

SRS provided a CFRP solution to provide reinforcement and waterproofing of the cracked areas as well as globally strengthen this area against future damage. To accomplish this, 24" SRS-660 Bidirectional Carbon Fiber was specified to confine the cracking, along with 6" SRS-600 Unidirectional straps placed perpendicular to the cracks to provide global strengthening across the area. These straps offer more than 2 x the strength of #4 rebar and are applied to the surface of the concrete. This non-invasive approach minimizes disruption to the concrete, resulting in a non-invasive repair with significantly reduced downtime to the area.


SRS collaborated with Retro Specialty Contractors based in Vancouver, BC. Their extensive experience installing CFRP on major infrastructure rehabilitation projects throughout the region, including the Burrard Bridge, BC Place, and the Vancouver Airport Authority, led to Retro to be awarded the waterfront dock strengthening project.

Image displaying the layout of carbon fiber and the preparation of the surface for reinforcement.
Carbon Fiber Layout and Surface Preparation to CSP-3 Per ACI Guidelines

The layout of the carbon fiber was mapped out onto the concrete surface, which was prepared to achieve an optimum surface profile for carbon fiber embedment. This critical step ensures that any surface contaminants are removed, further opening the pores of the concrete to maximize the adhesion of the carbon fiber to the surface. Additionally, this light scarification of the concrete allows the ultra-thin CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer) to lie flush with the surface.

Image depicting the mixing of structural epoxy resin for the installation of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP)
SRS-1000 Structural Epoxy Resin Being Mixed for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Installation

A specialized structural epoxy resin, designed to saturate the fabric and bond it to the concrete, was applied to the surface prior to the wet layup process.

Wet layup application of 24" SRS-660 Bidirectional CFRP for structural crack repair and confinement.
24" SRS-660 Bidirectional CFRP Wet Layup Application for Structural Crack Repair and Confinement

The SRS-24" bidirectional fabric was cut to exact lengths and rolled out over the concrete surface. Retro then worked the carbon fiber into the epoxy resin to form the composite strengthening system.

Application of SRS-1000 Structural Epoxy Resin over SRS-660BI (Bidirectional Carbon Fiber) for reinforcement
SRS-1000 Structural Epoxy Resin Saturating the SRS-660 Bidirectional Carbon Fiber Fabric

Once the fabric was fully adhered to the concrete surface, an additional application of structural epoxy resin was applied to fully encapsulate and protect the carbon fiber.

Placement of 6" SRS-600 Unidirectional Carbon Fiber over SRS-660 Bidirectional for reinforcement
6" SRS-600 Unidirectional Carbon Fiber Being Applied Over SRS-660 Bidirectional

On day two of the installation 6" SRS-600UNI straps were applied to over the bidirectional to complete the global strengthening of the area and feathered into the previously installed CFRP to conceal the edges of the fabric.

Embedding of unidirectional FRP (Fiber Reinforced Polymer) straps for comprehensive strengthening across the patch.
Unidirectional FRP Straps Being Embedded For Global Strengthening Across the Patch

Composite crack strengthening system after completion and before applying the finishing coat.
Completed CFRP Crack Strengthening System Prior to Finish Coating

The complete installation permanently strengthened the concrete dock against future storms while significantly increasing it's service life. A final coat of sand was broadcast over a layer of wet epoxy to protect the installation from UV exposure and form an abrasion resistant non-slip finish.

Application of protective sand over SRS-1000 Structural Epoxy Resin for UV protection and enhanced abrasion resistance
Protective Sand was Broadcast Over SRS-1000 Structural Epoxy Resin for UV Protection and Abrasion Resistance

SRS takes pride in its pivotal role in backing essential infrastructure projects along North America's shorelines. The success of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club project exemplifies our proficiency in pioneering structural repairs, addressing the requirements of waterfront infrastructure restoration, and ensuring their long-term functionality.


Download Case Study

Carbon Fiber Concrete Dock Reinforcement Case Study
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