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Tall story for D-Drill
UK diamond drilling and concrete sawing specialist D-Drill, which is headquartered in Coventry and has nine further offices, worked on one of the most exciting and high-profile projects in the firm’s 40-year history, the reconstruction and deepening of berths 201 and 202 at Southampton dock. Due to the increasing size of container-ships, the dock required deeper berths and reconstruction of the berth quay wall and, with it, new quayside cranes to transfer containers on and off the vessels. D-Drill’s expertise which includes a complete, nationwide specialist concrete cutting service was required for a range of elements in the project which were undertaken successfully and on time by its southern branch.


D-Drill was sub-contracted to the project by VolkerStevin and worked on the development of the port, which comprised of various stages. 

These included diamond wire sawing to allow the selective demolition and removal of large sections to the existing heavily reinforced concrete wall. 

The firm was also required to remove  sections of the 500mm thick reinforced concrete dock paving to allow for the upgrading and re-configuration of new mechanical and electrical installations and chose a diamond floor sawing/stitch drilling technique to cut it away. 

During a 12-month period, D-Drill was required to visit site and carry out works periodically. On certain elements of the project D-Drill would have up to ten operatives on site at one time.

One of the most important elements of the job involved the drilling of 2,000 anchor holes, which was executed during a pre-planned accelerated programme, working in conjunction with the rail installation team. These works were required for the crane rails and were completed in less than two weeks. 

John Barber, the manager of D-Drill’s southern branch, utilised support from the company’s nine other branches from across the UK to help get the job done. 

The rails would be equipped with 150 feet tall cranes, with a safe working load of 80 tonnes to handle the world’s largest container ships. 

“The works needed to be precise and to be done quickly,” said Barber. 

“There were some challenges involved, especially in relation to the physical conditions of rain and wind, which exist in this kind of location. We worked collaboratively with VolkerStevin during the whole process, as well as internally across our regional branches in order to meet all the requirements of the works and finish on schedule.” 

Every job requires strict health and safety policy, but being so close to the sea meant there were additional pressures on that front.

During certain elements of the works, such as removing parts of the reinforced concrete wall, the team had to follow a tidal plan, which worked around the tide coming in and out. D-Drill factored in the adjusted working hours into their planning in order to ensure the works progressed according to schedule. 

The development of the Southampton dock is an important measure to ensure it remains a strong competitor among the top UK ports, and ports worldwide.

Without it, the UK economy would be at a serious disadvantage against competitors around the world. 

Barber added: “We have worked with VolkerStevin previously and we have a great relationship with them. 

“It is always pleasing to deliver a project of this nature. We have undertaken more technical jobs but the sheer size and profile of this work meant it was an extremely prestigious contract for D-Drill.” 

Find out more about D-Drill wire sawing and concrete cutting services:

  1.  Wire Sawing
  2.  Concrete Cutting
It is always pleasing to deliver a project of this nature. We have undertaken more technical jobs but the sheer size and profile of this work meant it was an extremely prestigious contract for D-Drill