Specifications and the standardisation of Ireland's local harbours

Medium: conference paper
Language(s): en 
Conference: 6th International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH 2018), July 9-13, 2018, Brussels, Belgium
Published in:
Page(s): 1185-1192
Year: 2018
Abstract: Historically the construction of small harbours in Ireland was intimately tied to the materials, skills, and constructive practices of their locale. Even when engineers were employed, starting in earnest in the mid-eighteenth century with parliamentary grants and later systematised by the Irish Fisheries Commissioners, later subsumed into the Office of Public Works (OPW), local peculiarities persisted. Though the government-employed engineers occasionally drafted specifications, these were typically handwritten, bespoke, and tied to local constructive practices. However, the introduction of concrete as a building material in the late-nineteenth century revolutionised harbour construction in Ireland. Though the OPW experimented with this technology as early as the 1870s, it was not until the 1880s that a standardized specification was developed. This new specification not only made these structures more affordable but also regulated their form and construction to such a degree that local harbours became homogeneous across the country.

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