Specialist cranage from Carney Plant being used at a high-value large scale Specialist Reinforced Concrete construction project of a major sea-wall being built on the south Dorset coast

Lyme Regis Sea Wall & Promenade

Project overview

Working for Balfour Beatty on behalf of Dorset Council & the Environmental Agency Carney Construction delivered a sea defence project protecting the town of Lyme Regis from ongoing costal erosion while developing the town’s tourism appeal. The project delivered a bespoke 450m long curved seawall, 8m in height, with a return wave designed profile with slip resistant promenade.

Key info

  • Form of Contract: NEC 3 Option B contract
  • Project commence: June 2013
  • Project completion: July 2015
  • Total project value: £2.4million

Working for Balfour Beatty, Carney Construction provided the resource and methodology for constructing this promenade. The methodology was achieved by designing and fabricating the specialist faceted shutter which allowed the wall to appear to be continuously flowing around the base of an active cliff. 

Carney provided labour, plant, materials and management, the total cost of £2.4 million.


Safety & Environment

It was required that the works had to be completed around a tidal environment with severe weather conditions under an unstable cliff (forming a rare protected UNESCO site), which deposited spoil over the length of the project. The single lane haul road provided was often washed away and only provided limited access along the works essentially causing the construction site to act as a tunnel with limited passing opportunities. 

These works were carried out through a changeable winter and as such weather factored into this construction heavily. The control and maintenance of the access onsite, along with ensuring that local roadways were maintained free from silt or runoff was proactively dealt with by Carney to ensure local stakeholders were not negatively effected by the works. The local stakeholders commended the works as being far improved compared with previous schemes in the area. 

Productivity & Programme

The scope of the works was increased to include complex radius access ramps with faceted shutters in the break wash of the harbour, complex stairs and even a casting in of a 2ft fossil into the head of the stair unit.

Due to the form of contract it was important to keep the client updated and ensure that key dates were met to allow project milestones and KPI’s to be achieved to the client imposed changes. The Programme could have been compromised by rockfalls and severe weather systems causing the nearby Dawlish rail collapse through the project however, these delays were mitigated and no unsubstantiated delays were realised for the project delivery through affective communication and collaboration between parties engaged.

Carney were able to complete the works in a single visit and despite access constraints, were able to establish and effectively manage multiple work fronts down the beach front. Working with the client, specific plant items were purchased and through careful weather monitoring robust achievable programmes were developed and achieved. The client was both happy with the programme, value and quality of the end product.


Carney used high quality steel shutters which where able to withstand the force of significant tidal energy capable of damaging rebar cages and moving over 100t of compacted haul road in a single tidal event. This protected the concrete such that no bays of special curved wall were damaged prior to handover which was achieved first time. Concrete was scanned to check the 100mm of cover was achieved throughout using ferrous scanners throughout.

The project won the prestigious Concrete Society award for 2015 and the Construction News Specialist Award 2015.

Conclusion & Summary

Carney were engaged as the specialist FRC subcontractor for a unique and logistically challenging project through innovative formwork design and a collaborative & experienced driven approach were able to deliver the project requirements to the client and stakeholders effectively. The following are the biggest achievements:

  • Carney delivered the project with Zero riddor reportable accidents and incidents and managed multiple serious hazards including cliff instability and the water risk to works.
  • The client had very good reviews from local residents and were pleased with the working relations of the team.
  • Quality concrete finishes were delivered over the scheme utilising multiple shuttering systems such as timber specials, bespoke steel shutters and casting into existing rock faces.
  • Multiple awards won for quality and delivery of the project in a sustainable manner to budget, programme and project quality constraints.

The Society Awards judging panel said, “The ‘flowing’ nature of concrete allows smooth transition of curvature as it follows the shoreline. The smooth lines of the varying curvature of the sea wall and the consistency of the appearance of finished concrete fit sympathetically with the coastal surroundings.”

Share this Project