ENCAT was selected as the civil contractor to design, manufacture and install a new boardwalk in Minnamurra Rainforest. Using our expertise working with stainless steel together with our knowledge of designing products for high volume public use, we set about adapting our boardwalk system to suit this application.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service needed to either remove or replace the existing timber boardwalk in Minnamurra Falls Walk to restore access to the beautiful Upper Minnamurra Falls.
Doing this scale of boardwalk upgrade would help restore visitor numbers to this Instagram-worthy location. This ancient rainforest is one of the top locations to visit near Kiama.
What was wrong with the existing boardwalk in the rain forest?
One of the first steps of this project was to assess the site and understand what the existing boardwalk system was like. A number of areas had to be closed off to public use because the joists, bearers and timber boards were unsafe to walk on or carry any type of load.
There were various issues that we discovered;
- The posts and joists were rusting in various locations.
- In sections the boardwalk was on the ground or sediment had built up over time which was trapping moisture.
- There were boards that had gaps or were uneven.
- The design of the balustrades meant that debris could easily build up between the wiring and timber boards.
- In various sections there wasn’t much clearance between flora and the timber boards.
Essentially the existing boardwalk system wasn’t able to handle the extreme conditions within the rain forest which included long periods of moisture or dampness and other periods of high humidity under the canopy of the rainforest. The combination of timber, plastic and metal meant the materials weren’t ideally suited to this type of location. While the construction methods in some parts meant it was blocking the watercourse or enabling debris to build up around the posts or boardwalk itself.
What was the design solution we came up with to replace the boardwalk?
- Modular – We designed a modular boardwalk system that could easily manage uneven terrain and could be used with or without balustrades that had a simple assembly system. It makes it perfect for use in national parks, beachside locations or even mountain top walks.
- Easily expanded – Rather than create a completely bespoke boardwalk that would be hard to maintain or replace, our system has a uniform design that is easy to repair if damaged while being simple to extend if needed.
- Suits any terrain – With simply height adjustable posts it also meant we were able to easily handle the extreme changes in gradients along the pathway in the rainforest. This is a great cost saving benefit because it avoids the need to construct bridges and ensures the design looks uniform.
- Low environmental impact – The modular system is raised off the ground which means debris, animals and sediment can easily flow under the boardwalk. It also means there is plenty of ventilation to ensure there is no moisture build up around the joists or connections to minimise the chances of rust build up.
- Easy to maintain – The open bar design of the balustrades will also mean the leaf or tree debris will easily blow away from the boardwalk or it can easily be cleaned using a broom or blowing tool
Encat’s modular stainless steel boardwalk system is a fully engineered solution offering design flexibility and reliability. The stainless steel components are engineering certified for trouble free installation, ensuring a long, durable and maintenance-free design life. A cost-effective, modular walkway system suitable for recreational walkways, cycleways and foot bridges.
It is ideal for all environments from rainforests, arid, alpine to sea salt coastal terrain, including deserts, riverbanks, wetlands, mangroves, beaches and caves. The ultimate in trouble free installation and life.
The system is quick to install, fully adjustable and can be extended or relocated at any time and includes;
- Balustrade posts and clamp plates.
- M10 bolts, nuts and washers
- Joist attachment brackets
- 316 stainless steel beams
How did we install the new boardwalk in Minnamurra Rainforest?
Watch the video to see some of the behind the scenes of the installation.
One of the toughest part of this boardwalk project was the limited access we had to the site. Our team designed an in-house solution that included a custom made trailer system to make it quicker and easier to transport materials into the site.
We put in place a systematic process to improve our efficiency which included the management of moving the steel, concrete and other elements needed to complete the boardwalk. This ensured there were high levels of safety maintained while reducing the time taken to complete the project.
We complemented this by also using airlifted materials where required so that there was a balance achieved to be efficient and timely with our construction and installation.
What design elements made our modular boardwalk system unique?
Matching existing conditions
Where required we can make sure that a new installation can ‘meet’ an existing one.
The design of our system can be used on relatively flat ground, but where required we can also incorporate stairs into the design. This can be done during initial construction or added later if the are new paths created.
We always design our civil use products to ensure they reduce the chances of tripping, have smooth edges or sensible implementations that focus on end user enjoyment.
Adaptable to suit seating
Our design makes it easy to accomodate various seating arrangements either for aesthetic or practical purposes.
Boardwalk to viewing platform
The modular nature of our design means that a boardwalk can be turned into a viewing platform quite easily and doesn’t require a different design or other contractors.
What did the finished boardwalk look like at Minnamurra Rainforest?
The completed boardwalk has completely transformed the access. to the rainforest for visitors. The National Parks and Wildlife even have a featured image of it on their website and now the location is being shared on social media platforms like Instagram by visitors who are seeking the location.
This will help improve visitor numbers by making it a more enjoyable place to visit that is safer, easier to access & visually appealing.
Boardwalk systems for outdoor public use
ENCAT regularly works with civil works contractors, local or state government departments to design, manufacture and install products for public use. A cost-effective, modular walkway system suitable for recreational walkways, cycleways and foot bridges. It is ideal for all environments from rainforests, arid, alpine to sea salt coastal terrain, including deserts, riverbanks, wetlands, mangroves, beaches and caves.
While we specialise in Pedestrian Fencing, our capabilities extend to supplying outdoor public seating, outdoor showers, viewing platforms, bridges and more.
Learn more about our modular boardwalk system