Menard Oceania performs innovative ground improvement works to support new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal

10 September 2019

Australia’s leading ground improvement specialist, Menard Oceania, is excited to have recently completed important ground improvement and foundation works for the $158 million Brisbane International Cruise Terminal, which is expected to be open by October 2020.

Menard Oceania, a specialist geotechnical contractor known for major projects such as Melbourne’s Webb Dock, Perth’s Optus Stadium and Brisbane’s New Parallel Runway, began undertaking ground improvement works for the new cruise ship terminal building and an operations yard in April this year.


The new facility, described as a ‘game changer’ for the region’s economy, lays the foundation for visits by cruise vessels of all sizes. Currently there isn’t a dedicated cruise facility in south-east Queensland capable of accommodating mega cruise ships which instead must dock at Brisbane’s main cargo port. The need for a purpose-built terminal has been made even more pressing with vessels increasing in size. By next year, 60% of cruise vessels expected to dock in Australia will be mega cruise ships like the Symphony of the Seas which is three times the length of a rugby league field. 

Geoffrey Holding, Manager for Menard Oceania Northern Region, says Menard, in conjunction with Head Contractor Hindmarsh Constructions Queensland, is excited to be working on the prestigious design and construct project and continuing the relationship Menard first formed with the Port of Brisbane in 2003.

“Our latest work for the Port is hugely exciting and our staff began mobilising to the site at Luggage Point in Pinkenba, in early April. One of the first challenges we had to overcome was the site’s proximity to the Brisbane River. It meant our design team had to model the lateral deformations along the seawall using Plaxis. Another challenge was designing a ground improvement solution for the lift cores which had relatively high lateral loads and overturning moments.


“On the operational front, we had a tight construction program and hence needed to ensure we had a diverse range of plant and equipment readily available to perform the ground improvement works in challenging site conditions. Our team however are geotechnical experts who understand the local geotechnical conditions and use innovative, sustainable and cost-effective techniques to transform poor soils into solid foundations. Given the unique nature of the site’s core foundations, we adopted an innovative approach to the foundation elements and designed a series of composite deep soil mixing columns (DSM) and controlled modulus columns (CMC) to best manage the loading conditions for optimum settlement control and building stability. This solution has provided substantial cost savings that couldn’t have been achieved with a conventional piling approach,” said Holding.

DSM is usually designed to mass stabilise underlying geology through the introduction of a water and cement grout which is in turn mixed in situ with the existing materials.

“Depending upon the design requirements for the treated soil block or foundations, the quantity of grout (cement content) that is introduced varies accordingly to achieve the required properties,” explains Adam Zakrzewski, Business Development Engineer, Menard Oceania Northern Region. “While the ground improvement solution ultimately adopted for this project required some quite complex 3D modelling, the DSM technique, when combined with CMC’s produced a solution that was effective in terms of cost, time and simplification of constructability of the in-ground core elements.


“The incorporation of the DSM’s into the core foundations reduced the need for temporary formwork and extensive excavation usually associated with the construction of these inground structural elements. Due to the depth of the lift pits, typical extensive over excavation and battering works through the existing sand layers was avoided.”

Zakrzewski says Port of Brisbane’s brief was to provide a cost-effective solution for the ground improvement work to limit long-term settlements to less than 50mm and provide adequate capacity to withstand high lateral loads from a design seismic event.

“The Luggage Point site is underlain by thick and compact dredged sand, which is then underlain by compressible alluvial soils, up to depths of 30m. Although the site had been surcharged, without additional ground improvement works, any future creep settlements could lead to movement and subsequent damage of the structures. We’re confident however that the approach we have taken to groundworks minimises this risk.”


Philippe Vincent, Managing Director at Menard Oceania says the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal is an iconic project that the entire team at Menard Oceania is proud to be part of. “With our unique design, we're aiming to set a new benchmark of success for specialist ground improvement works in Australia and excited to be playing a part in supporting Queensland’s growing tourism economy by delivering this latest project for Port of Brisbane safely and on time.” 




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