Sometimes in life a challenge arises that will test your mettle.
That was the case for Nordcap Steel Docks. Long known for their ability to design and build the highest quality steel docks that stand the test of time, Nordcap was called upon to create a structure capable of safely supporting 70 tonnes of dry dock weight, an extra-large boathouse frame, and dozens of people walking on the dock.
The project was the steel and concrete dock and support structures for the new Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre boathouse extension, a multi-million-dollar expansion that will house the beautiful 93-foot-long Wanda III yacht.
Nordcap needed to design, engineer and build a commercial steel dock that would also support the columns for the timber frame addition.
“This project goes beyond simple dock building,” explains Philipp Spoerndli, owner of Nordcap Steel Docks. “We had to support a 60-tonne boat, a 10-tonne steel dry dock, the platform, and the building itself. The criteria was to provide an integrated wet slip and drydock facility, along with heated exhibition space on two floors.”
A project of this magnitude required considerable research and planning, even for a builder with Philipp’s years of experience.
While the entire structure would rest on piles driven as much as 70 feet down to bedrock, it involved much more than that just piles. Because of the size and weight of the boat and the structure, the entire building needed to be integrated, to function as a complete unit from the steel piles up through the roof. It meant working closely with the architects and engineers; all while paying careful attention to the heritage nature of the site.
The heated building above the steel dock had to be done in concrete, and required Nordcap to combine the steel structure with a continuous concrete slab, using stay-in-place galvanized forms and Nelson studs.
And as if that weren’t enough, the addition needed to be joined to the existing building.
“It is all knit together – the dock, the boathouse addition to the Discovery Centre, and the dry dock,” says Philipp. “Every detail, right down to the stainless-steel fasteners and epoxy-coated piles, must be done exactly right to achieve the desired results.”
He adds: “We are thankful to have been given the opportunity, to be involved in the planning right from the start of the project. It allowed us to do the research and source the best suppliers and products for this unique application. It shows what we can accomplish as a company. We are up for any challenge.”
Philipp says this project shows Nordcap can find customized solutions that go far beyond a cottage steel dock.
“We have risen to the challenge of becoming a one-stop destination that can meet customer’s expectations,” he says.
Thirty years of excellence
Founded in 1991, Nordcap has been building steel docks in Muskoka for 30 years. Their reputation for ingenuity, strength, and durability isn’t by accident: it’s by design.
Nordcap’s premium steel docks begin with the backbone of all their docks: piles made from Hollow Structural Steel (HSS). The piles range in thickness from 0.472-inches to 0.625-inches and in diameter from five inches all the way up to 12 inches, depending on water depth, exposure and point loads.
Whether you are looking for a dock for your waterfront or you have something that requires more than a simple solution, Nordcap Steel Docks has the proven experience needed to take on those tougher projects.
“We can customize solutions for your property with our highly experienced team, quality installation standards and materials.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS SCOTT TURNBULL