Floating Structures: a better, more environmentally responsible practice for developer in building on water vs land reclamation

Kahayan Floating River Cafe – Palangkaraya

Floating Water Treatment Platform PT ATB, Batam

Istora Terapung Jatiluhur – Purwakarta

The heated debate around Benoa Bay (Teluk Benoa) in Bali has been ongoing for many months, in which a lot of efforts and cost have been incurred on both sides of the fence. Both sides have compelling reasons for their stance. The developers see Benoa Bay as very strategic to extend Bali Island’s tourism industry growth, due to its very close proximity to the airport, Nusa Dua, area, the sea, and Denpasar itself. Those opposed to it cite environmental issues – that the area’s mangrove forest will be destroyed, that aquatic life and the water current pattern will forever be altered. They are right – the moment a body of water is reclaimed, i.ie, buried with soil and sand, the aquatic biota of the area ends.
So is there a viable compromise to this situation? Making the development floating over water is possibly one of them. b-foam® floating structure solution is EPS foam based platform, which offer very long and maintenance-free service life (warranty is 30 years for buoyancy capacity), exceptional safety factor (virtually unsinkable because there is no hollow air cavity inside the pontoon module), and high load capacity. b-foam® floating structures has been successfully employed to build many floating facilities at the popular Lembang Floating Market, a 2 story floating restaurant on Kahayan River, Palangkaraya (Central Borneo), and transport floating platform to carry solid concrete tetrapods (1.2 tons each).
Back to addressing the environmental issue vs reclamation, a smaller scale case study has been proven successful: at Lembang Floating Market, part of the Umar Pond (Situ Umar) was originally planned to be reclaimed for dining area. However, since this is an old lake with lots of sedimentation, reclaiming the pond might take lots of soil to bury the pond body. Cost aside, reclaiming the pond would mean certain termination of aquatic life there, both for plants and animals. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the soil fill will not settle down in the near future, and this will add to long term repair and maintenance cost of the facility. 4 platforms made of b-foam® floating structures are constructed for this purpose, and as the result, sufficient dining area are achieved, with less cost and time required to reclaim the body of water, with reduced impact to the aquatic biota.
With climate change and uncertainty of tide pattern in the coming years, floating construction provides better assurance – the platform will follow the prevailing water surface, and no worry of extra cost for repairing the reclaimed land due to land subduction common in reclamation projects.
Construction efficiency is another forte of b-foam® floating structures: they come in precut prefabricated modules, with protective casing already installed (Optional is Marine-Grade Sulphate-resistant casing), these modules are then assembled together to form the platform over water, and finally, concrete mix is cast over it after appropriate steel reinforcement has been installed. All of these processes happened in situ, over water. The finished cast floating platform then can be easily towed to the desired final location where the construction of the floating facility is completed.

Dancing Stage Illustration, Sentul

Floating Bridge Illustration, Cilacap

Aside from its own engineering team, b-foam® team has always have access to experience outside technical consultant for the floating platform designs. To cater a much large scale and technically challenging floating projects, in 2014, PT BE Putra form technical partnership with Netherland-based Flexbase NV, a global leader in EPS-based floating structures.


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