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Posted by Fritz Fromherz on November 26, 2013

Boardwalk Construction: Who Can Install a Concrete Boardwalk?

See other great resources on: Boardwalk Construction, Concrete Boardwalk Questions

Designers and owners who research boardwalk materials and boardwalk construction methods will find that PermaTrak is a fairly new product, and the precast concrete components are significantly heavier than wood or composite boardwalk materials. Does this mean installing contractors must be recommended by PermaTrak or “pre-certified” to install the boardwalk system? Absolutely not!

Among the PermaTrak projects we have provided in the last (3) years, all but one have been an open bid project. An open bid means the plans and specifications have been available for the local or regional construction communities to review and submit bids for the boardwalk installation. “Special" boardwalk construction contractors are just not required. Below are several reasons why.

PermaTrak is a well-engineered, technically-marketed, site-specific product. We are involved from the early project stages with the project designers and owners to find the specific requirements needed. The drawings and specifications are not generic. Eliminating hazy or obscure drawings and specs means a clearer estimating process.boardwalk construction detailed plans resized 600

The PermaTrak role during the pre-bid phase is to be personally involved with each contractor, even if they are subcontractors. We provide the scope of material, the physical details, and the handling and installation techniques for each bidder. These bidders are confident, they understand their role in the boardwalk construction process and generally submit a more accurate bid. This is absolutely an important key.

PermaTrak spends ample pre-bid time with contractors to assist them as they assess their manpower needs in the field. Past experiences with successful contractors have shown that it is not usually necessary to have large crews at the sites.boardwalk construction excavator resized 600

Contractors should try to be efficient with their manpower needs. We also review their actual equipment needs. Cranes are not needed on a typical PermaTrak boardwalk construction project. There are many small machines that are available to contractors that can be modified for PermaTrak sites.

Small excavators are used a lot. Modified backhoes with lifting gear to set components, skid-steers with adjustable blades to lift and move material are common and even regular fork lifts are used for unloading. These machines leave a small footprint, are readily available in any region, and are able to be modified. A “small” contractor does not need to own a yard full of equipment to install a PermaTrak concrete boardwalk. The message is, “Don’t add men and equipment unnecessarily.”

As for prior experience with concrete boardwalk construction, most potential bidders have not yet installed a concrete boardwalk. At this point in the development of the PermaTrak concrete boardwalk market, we’ve learned that this is not the defining step for a successful boardwalk installation. When we interact with these contractors we have found that their experience on other day-to-day construction sites may be all they need for PermaTrak.

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If a contractor has done site work, it typically involves attention to details such as layout, elevations, and perhaps drainage. Paving contractors, landscapers or dirt contractors may also have experience with these construction practices. Most site and drainage work includes the use of precast concrete manholes, drop inlets, boxes or pipe. All of those components require attention to layout, alignment and elevation. We have found that if they build on their personal experiences at other sites it can translate well to a successful PermaTrak concrete boardwalk installation.

Lastly, we provide a PermaTrak field representative on site to provide technical support during the initial few days of the boardwalk installation.

Who can install a concrete boardwalk?

  • A contractor that appreciates and uses the clear, site-specific drawings and specifications that we provide.

  • A contractor that has the site-specific scopes of material, Installation Guide and handling techniques that we provide.boardwalk construction permatrak consultative support resized 600

  • A contractor that properly assesses their manpower and equipment needs.

  • A contractor that will use their previous field experience to approach the concrete boardwalk construction with attention to layout, elevation and alignment.

  • And finally, a contractor that will work with PermaTrak consultative personnel in the field to help assure a successful installation.   

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About This Blog

The PermaTrak boardwalk blog articles are written for landscape architects, engineers, and agency or municipality professionals.

We aim to provide educational resources for designing and building boardwalks, pedestrian bridges, trail and greenway systems. 

By reading our weekly posts, you will deepen your understanding of boardwalk design, cost estimates, and construction practices. 

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