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Contracting an independent dock engineer.

Contracting an independent dock engineer.

Contracting an independent dock engineer.

I'm a contractor with a reputation for taking on the more unique projects, so My client asked me to help pull together the information needed to get a set of engineered stamped drawings for an existing 10 slip dock on a lake that changes elevation by 20 feet over the course of the year. The dock needs to be reanchored and have a new long access ramp designed. The structural engineer I usually work with doesn't seem interested in specifying the project and the client already has a fabrication shop who will most likely have the time to build the assemblies. How do I go about finding an engineer for this project that is both competent and not attached to a specific manufacturer?


RE: Contracting an independent dock engineer.

Most good consulting engineers will not be affiliated with a particular product or manufacturer. Those that are do tend to be (can be) biased, and are not always working in the best interest of their primary client. That is to say... who is their client, you or that manufacturer? Large industrial docks do require some specialized experience and knowledge for their design and construction. But, it sound like you already have a working dock with 10 slips, and need some reassurance as to its pilings and foundation, and then you need a new bridge (access ramp, 50 - 60' long) from land to the dock which will tolerate, and work with, the 20' water level change over the year. The biggest question will be, does this bridge and dock carry groups of people, or must it carry a truck with a full sized boat engine? Many local structural or civil engineers, along with the help of a geotechnical engineer, should be able to help you with this project.

RE: Contracting an independent dock engineer.

Thanks dhengr, That confirms the suspicions I have of what kind of engineer we should hire. More specifically on the anchorage, It's currently anchored with winched cables to the rock bottom of the lakeshore and the dock needs to be rotated to align with the shore and anchored with 70' spars to allow for the 20' vertical. Then due to the steepness of the shore access, the 4' wide bridge needs to be around 100' long and support the weight of a family walking to their boat with coolers, or a couple of technicians wheeling an engine in a wheelbarrow. smile The technical and logistic details of the project are pretty interesting, but my current question is: "How do I find the right engineer for this project?". Is there a specific title or subclassification of PE that I should be looking for? I've checked with the Indiana Professional Licencing Association and they only list *everyone* with a PE. I checked the yellow pages and on-line and have only so far turned up companies that want to fabricate and install. How do I find the individual or firm that happily just designs these things and doesn't mind doing calculations on work that has already been performed?

RE: Contracting an independent dock engineer.

Look for PE’s (Professional Engineers) Structural, Civil & Geotechnical, maybe Mechanical. Look up ACEC/IN, ASCE/IN, NSPE/IN, they should each have lists of engineering members with their areas of work, etc. Your state board of Professional Registration of Engineers, Architects, Geotechs, Surveyors, et.al. should have a listing too. There probably won’t be many that even list dock building as a specialty, but many of the Structural and Civil Engineers will know what needs doing if they want the work. Many are also pretty willing to make recommendations if they know of a specialist. Where are the tides that high in Indiana, or is this on a reservoir?

Most engineers will need to do some inspection and maybe some modification of the existing, they will not just sign-off on someone else’s work, or construction in bad condition. This will likely require some new structure on the dock itself, since you are concentrating all of the lateral loading at a few points in a new way. They will likely need some help from a testing lab, particularly some foundation investigations to determine what to do with the piles which hold the dock in place laterally.

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