Tiburon Peninsula Club in Marin County, CA (near San Francisco) is thrilled with their new bleacher shade canopy adjacent to the tennis courts.
But this shade construction project was an adventure. We knew we’d have special challenges. (That’s the fun of being a shade structure contractor). We knew that we wouldn’t drive our excavator over the courts, and there wasn’t other access. That’s why we first designed the structure to enable hand-digging the footing holes.
We also saw that mountains entirely surrounded the tennis courts and knew that water runs downhill, evn if it’s underground.
But, we didn’t think about the implications of all this during California’s rainy winter. The epiphany came once we removed the original surface to dig. Underground water immediately below the surface! Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, as we simply pump it out before excavating. But the surrounding mountains were saturated. Like being a 5-fingered Dutchmen with 6 holes in the dike. It could take months for the mountains to drain!
The solution? Temporary steel ground sleeves to retain groundwater while we pumped it out, drilled, and pumped in concrete. We then removed them as concrete filled the holes. But, hand-digging is impossible with sleeves because they must drop as spoils are removed. They’re heavy.
Since hand-digging was no longer possible, we re-engineered the piers to be smaller in diameter but deeper. We then brought in our remote drilling rig.
In hindsight, we couldn’t have done anything differently from the start. It wasn’t an option to delay pier construction for 3+ months (???) while the mountains drained.
See more California shade structure projects.