Construction Services

The Basics of Bulkheads Construction

Bulkheads are shoreline structures designed to retain soil and protect against erosion. They are erected parallel to and near the high water mark, and they are usually built to minimize the impact on nearby beaches and other areas.Bulkheads Construction

On passenger ships, bulkheads are so positioned that even when the ship suffers reasonable flooding, the damage is contained and the overall reserve buoyancy is maintained to allow the vessel to reach port safely without loss of transverse stability or excessive trim. These bulkheads also form the boundaries of tank spaces. For professional services, you can contact Bulkheads Construction Charleston SC.

Bulkheads are constructed to prevent damage or flooding in a particular area of a building. They are often made of steel but can also be constructed of concrete, glass, or wood. They are designed to resist a number of different forces, including shear and lateral forces. The structural design of a bulkhead is determined by the materials used, its dimensions, and its location. The most common bulkheads are designed to resist shear and lateral forces, but they can also be designed for a combination of shear, bending, and axial forces, depending on the design requirements of the structure.

A bulkhead is usually constructed of a thick plate and stiffened by either a longitudinal or a transverse beam. The plates are often reinforced by corner and end brackets, which provide additional resistance to shear and lateral forces. The corners are also often reinforced with a plate to reduce stress concentration at these points. Bulkheads are also designed to calculate the global loads acting on them throughout a vessel’s lifecycle, and they can be designed with specific rules for collision bulkheads. These rules are stricter than those of regular bulkheads due to one of the worst disasters in maritime history, when the Titanic sank due to the lack of watertight bulkheads.

Coastal revetments, seawalls, and bulkheads are commonly employed in areas where erosion threatens the stability of developed shorelines. These structures can be built to combat coastal erosion or to maintain development in an advanced position away from the natural shoreline. Proper performance of these types of structures is predicated on close adherence to established design guidance, and all applicable design guidance should be studied carefully before the construction of such structures.

The locations and designs of bulkheads should be such that they minimize adverse effects on nearby beaches and do not alter natural shoreline habitats. In addition, they should not detract from public access to the coast.

The positions of collision bulkheads are mainly decided by the results of flood-able length calculations and factors that depend on the ship’s geometry. The design of watertight bulkheads is especially detailed because they are critical to the safety and stability of the vessels. Watertight bulkheads are designed to withstand a certain amount of hydrostatic pressure and are tested by shipbuilder engineers with the use of pressure hoses.


Bulkheads are a type of marine construction and waterfront property development that functions to retain earth sediments, soils, and/or water. They are most commonly seen around oceans and lakes but can also be utilized for manmade bodies of water, such as landscaping ponds. They are most often viewed and used on commercial, industrial, and residential waterfront properties.

They can be made from any material that can support the structure and withstand the forces of wave action or currents. Most commonly, they are constructed from a combination of concrete, steel, wood, and/or vinyl.

Usually, bulkheads are designed to be able to maintain the overall reserve buoyancy of a ship in the event of flooding. They achieve this by physically dividing and compartmentalizing areas of the vessel to prevent water from rushing in during a flood. In addition, they help to contain the spread of fire and flames within localized areas so that there is no catastrophic damage to the entire vessel.

The bulkhead construction process begins with the placement of foundational materials. This is typically accomplished through pilings and/or sheet piling. Once the foundation has been laid, lagging can then be placed over the top of the piles. This helps reduce the lateral pressure on the front of the bulkhead wall. This is especially important when constructing bulkheads in sandy or granular soils where the screening effect of the piles is not fully realized.

When an opening needs to be cut through a bulkhead, the corners are strengthened with additional plates in order to maintain structural integrity and prevent stress concentration. This is due to the fact that an opening results in a significant structural discontinuity that causes stress levels to increase significantly.

Tie rods are then added to the bulkhead, and a deadman (treated post) is put in place to “tie back” the bulkhead and provide support from behind. If needed, a top cap can then be added to give the structure a clean appearance and some extra structural integrity. The capped bulkhead is then backfilled, and the project is completed.


Bulkheads are a critical component of a ship’s structural stability. They are usually positioned aft of the bow and act like a solid wall in case of a collision. Collision bulkheads are also designed with a specific purpose in mind: they prevent flooding throughout the entire vessel as water flows from damaged areas to other compartments. This is especially important for a ship to avoid serious damage to its engine room or propellers.

There are several types of bulkheads on ships, but they all serve similar purposes. In addition to providing protection, they are used to separate different spaces and provide separation from corrosive elements. Some bulkheads are fire-resistant, which is especially important on ships that carry hazardous cargo.

If you’re working with threaded bulkheads, be sure to clean the inside of the female socket before installing a male nut. Otherwise, the threads may scoot over time and create leaks. Also, be sure to use a thread lubricant made specifically for PVC. This is available at Lowe’s, HD, and Ace hardware stores under brands such as Laco or Permatex.

Most bulkheads are constructed in a manner that minimizes adverse effects on nearby beaches and the natural shoreline. They should be located and constructed in a way that will not detract from public access to public waterfronts and limit the impact on fish habitats, shellfish beds, and recreational uses. In addition, bulkheads should be located and constructed in a manner that will not restrict fishermen’s ability to fish.

Before you begin to install a bulkhead, make sure that you have the proper tools and materials. Start by placing a pressure-treated 2×6 sill across the bottom of the bulkhead opening. Then, mark and cut the side foundation plates to length. Once the foundation plates are installed, you can start on the plumbing.

First, you need to measure the diameter of the bulkhead’s exterior sockets. This will tell you what size hole saw you need to get a good fit. Then you can install the socket and gasket. When the fitting is in place, you can test it for watertightness by filling the tank with water to its design load and making sure there are no leaks.


Bulkheads require routine maintenance to keep them in a safe and functional condition. If not done, a bulkhead may collapse and cause damage to the land behind it. This can result in costly property damage and/or environmental liability. Regular inspections by a licensed professional will help detect and prevent potential problems.

If a bulkhead is failing or has deteriorated, a permit will need to be obtained before any repair work can be completed. It is best to consult with a licensed professional to make sure that any repairs are done in a way that will not compromise the structural integrity of the structure.


A common problem is when the berm on the water side of a bulkhead begins to erode and lose its support. This can occur over time from the vibration and impact of speeding boats and excessive wave action. If this occurs, the toe of the bulkhead will start to slip outward, and the wall will begin to sag and heave. This can be corrected by building up the berm or adding riprap to stabilize the bulkhead and stop the toe movement. Sometimes helical tiebacks can be used for a minimally invasive replacement.

Another common issue is when the tie-back rods begin to rust or corrode and loosen or break. This can be a big concern if it happens in the center of the bulkhead, where it is most vulnerable. The rods anchor the wall to the deadman pile, which is typically driven into the ground 10–12 feet behind the bulkhead. It is important to replace this if it shows signs of rot.

In addition, a bulkhead should be tested on a regular basis to ensure it is functioning properly. This test is typically done by exposing the bulkhead to a predetermined amount of water pressure from a hose for a set period of time. This is a great way to identify any areas of deformation, leaks, or leaking joints.