Breakwaters, seawalls and revetments

With more than 75 years’ international experience in the design and construction of structures in the marine environment, we use our exceptional expertise to develop, optimise and deliver cost-effective and sustainable breakwater solutions for our clients. 

Resilient marine infrastructure

Breakwaters, seawalls, and revetments are expensive; building in the ocean means environmental conditions are complex or construction is challenging. We work with our clients to deliver cost-effective and sustainable solutions. We help to define their objectives, select the best location and configuration of new structures, and develop bespoke designs that address the unique circumstances and constraints of their port or coastal infrastructure development. From conceptual design through to construction, we support our clients through every stage of their project.

To prolong the life of existing breakwaters, we carry out condition assessments and storm damage assessments, and develop repair plans to restore structural integrity.

Comprehensive marine structure design

Our coastal engineers and scientists use a traditional approach to breakwater design. Our expertise is underpinned by our unique suite of computational and CFD models and, where necessary, physical models tested in our world-class simulation facilities. As industry leaders, we use the latest design approaches and standards in the development of rubble mound, berm breakwater, reef breakwater techniques and in the use of concrete armour  and caisson units. Our services include: 

  • Problem definition and development of scheme options
  • Outline designs, drawings and costing of schemes.
  • Economic (or benefit-cost) assessments.
  • Consultations with local and national organisations.
  • Detailed designs, drawings, specifications and contract documents.
  • Advice on construction, maintenance and monitoring procedures.
  • Site supervision and technical support
  • Expert witness services for arbitration and litigation.

Our design processes and risk assessments are compliant with the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM2015).

Breakwaters are expensive. Do you really need one?

Coastal infrastructure is expensive. Clients sometimes come to us with plans involving major capital infrastructure. But when we start asking the fundamental questions, we find there could be alternatives. If we can show that there are other options, there can be massive benefits, including reduced capital outlay and an increased return on investment. Less construction can have environmental benefits and reduce the requirement for natural resources (such as rock) and concrete armouring.

Innovation into best practice

Using our world-leading expertise we have developed guidelines for the design of coastal structures for the UK Government, professional bodies and international funders. These are in use worldwide and include:

  • EurOtop: The Overtopping Manual
  • The Rock Manual
  • CIRIA Beach Manual
  • CIRIA Old seawalls
  • Construction risk in coastal engineering
  • Construction risk in river and estuary engineering – A guidance manual
  • Construction health and safety in coastal and maritime Engineering, 

We have helped to develop British Standards including BS6349 Part 7, The design of breakwaters.

Want to know more?

Headshot of Ian Cruikshank, Director of Engineering and Delivery
Ian Cruickshank
Director of Engineering and Delivery
+44 (0)1491 822899
Preferred contact method
Stay informed - opt-in to receive regular updates

By clicking 'Send message', you consent to allow HR Wallingford to store and process the personal information provided in this form to email you requested information. Every email will include a clear unsubscribe link. For more information on how we use your personal data please see our privacy policy.