Caisson construction launching

During our projects for advanced caisson production we use our transfer system for moving the caisson between three construction stations.

Caisson Launching and Construction

If you are undertaking a construction project that is taking place on, or in, water, you will likely need a caisson. A caisson construction is a watertight structure that is used as an anchor for a foundation. It is also commonly known as a caisson foundation.

Caissons are prefabricated objects or hollow boxes generally made of concrete. The material used will rely heavily on the function of the caisson and how it’s being constructed. Caissons are often used in the construction of bridge piers, concrete dams, and other structures that require a foundation beneath the water surface. For example, a bridge tower can be mounted on a bridge caisson.

A caisson is a critical component of many construction projects because it provides stability to the structure. In cases where the ground can shift under the heavy weight of a new structure, a caisson can be used to distribute the weight of the load evenly. A caisson construction essentially provides an even foundation and it becomes an integral part of the permanent structure.

A caisson can be required in various conditions, including when:

  • a foundation is subjected to a massive lateral load
  • the soil contains large boulders
  • the depth of the water level is high
  • the groundwater has an aggressive inflow

Caisson foundation construction can be done using several types of foundations. Some common types of foundations include box, open, excavated, sheeted, pneumatic, and floating caissons. It’s worth noting that caissons are easily adaptable to various site conditions.

Caisson Construction Process

The entire caisson foundation construction process involves pre-construction, construction, and post-construction procedures.

Caissons can either be produced on land (gantry or traditional slipform) and launched out into the water (with skidding technology), or manufactured on a dry dock (with gantry slipform technology) and lowered directly into the water.

Installation of caisson foundation construction

While caissons are somewhat similar to pile foundations, their installation is different. There are several ways in which a caisson foundation construction can be installed. For example, some caissons are built and installed on-site, but others are built off-site and then moved to their installation site. When a caisson construction is built off-site, it’s generally floated to the installation site.

The placement and type of the caisson foundation construction will determine the installation process. In some cases, the placement location will need preparation. For example, a cofferdam is sometimes used to clear an area before a caisson can be implemented.

Once the caisson foundation construction has been lowered to the seabed, filling material is poured into the caisson and the tops are sealed.


Where is caisson foundation used?

Caisson foundations are mainly used in the construction of larger structures in marine environments, around rivers and other watercourses. For example, construction of ports, breakwaters and bridge piers. The caisson is usually manufactured on shore, with slipform technology and can be floated to the workplace and lowered on site.

Are caissons still used?

The short answer is yes, and in fact caissons are used more than ever. However, the technology has a long history, the Roman Empire used a type of caisson technique in construction of several ports. The reason was that they needed both effective and large-scale solutions to be able to handle its large fleet. Today, the need for efficient and large-scale solutions is even greater. Therefore, the method is more popular than ever. Of course, the technology has developed a lot in terms of materials and working methods, but the reason why the technology is used is the same.