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  Thursday, November 27, 2014  
   
 

 
Delta Marine Construction
Waterfront Contractors  

The perfect storm is a popular expression coming from a novel written in 1997. It is when certain weather occurrences, when separate are no problem, come together by chance and create a catastrophe. While Hurricane Isabel may not have been the perfect storm, it was the perfect opening into the marine construction field for Brian Fletcher with Delta Marine Construction.

For those of us living on the Northern Neck or Middle Peninsula, the mere mention of Hurricane Isabel sends shudders down our spine and flashbacks to ruined shorelines, piers, and even homes. This was a time when many of the quaint river cottages, built decades before, were flattened; now in their place we find grandiose river villas. Walking on a pier that had been damaged felt much like walking the tracks of a roller coaster.

When all of this hit, Brian Fletcher was running a farm in Deltaville. One of his buddies that he had known from fishing owned Deltaville Marina and Deltaville Boatyard. To say that Hurricane Isabel had hit the marina and boatyard was putting it mildly. His friend recruited Brian to help repair the destroyed property and from there Delta Marine Construction was born.

Before Brian moved to Deltaville in 2001 from Georgia, his background was in agriculture. Although his past profession was not marine construction, he has been installing piers and seawalls on fresh water lakes in Georgia for many years. His very first experience with marine construction was nearly 18 years ago.

When Brian began working with the owner of Deltaville Marina and Deltaville Boatyard they were in the process of constructing a barge to drive pilings. Brian joined up with him and together they completed the barge construction and became partners at Delta Marine Construction. This became the perfect partnership; Deltaville Marina had the equipment and Brian had the manpower.

Deltaville Marina and Deltaville Boatyard were among the first clients of Delta Marine Construction. Once that work was completed, Brian and his partner began repairing the damage Hurricane Isabel had done to the area’s residential piers, docks, seawalls, and other marine architecture. Many times this involved replacing the original structures entirely with new structures that would withstand future storms or hurricanes. After two years, Brian bought out his partner’s share of the business and became the sole owner of Delta Marine Construction.

In the years since Brian took over as the sole owner of Delta Marine Construction the business has really grown. They have gone from having one barge for driving pilings to five, three of which have the capacity to be taken apart and driven across the state or country on a trailer. This is particularly helpful when doing jobs on lakes or ponds. A little over a year ago, they also opened another office in Fairfax County.

Delta Marine Construction specializes in projects suitable for residential prop-erties and small- to mid-range com-mercial projects. Their quality construction and dedication to innovation has made them one of the leaders in marine construction in Virginia’s Bay region.

It is Delta Marine Construction’s dedication to quality and design innovation that makes their work stand out. Part of what plays in to their quality construction is that they refuse to use pilings or poles with less than an eight-inch tip. The tip of the piling is the skinniest point at the very top, so eight inches at the tip will lead to a wider foundation at the bottom. Pilings of this size are beneficial because they are better able to weather storms. Large pilings are also less affected by ship boring worms, which dig holes into under-water wood and can reduce the integrity of the wood.

At Delta Marine Construction they work very hard to make sure each project is best suited for the climate in which it is constructed. They don’t try to use the same plan for all of the piers they build. With each new project they undertake, Delta Marine Construction analyzes the body of water, storm conditions, and type of property. This allows their finished project to suit the property on which it is constructed as well as the homeowners’ needs.

One of their recent projects required them to construct a dock that was 325 feet out into the Potomac. While building a dock of this caliber is no easy feat, this one was particularly complicated. One of the problems this area of the Potomac faced was that it was prone to having large pieces of debris float down the river, such as trees or large chunks of ice. If these get hung up on the pier’s pilings it can shift the pilings and ruin the pier. To combat the likelihood of this happening, Brian decided to space the pilings out twenty feet. This allowed the debris and ice to flow freely through the openings. Delta Marine Construction worked on this project from inception to completion, designing the pier, decks, entrance, and a four tiered retaining wall system. This type of project had never been done successfully in Fairfax County before.

Another job that Delta Marine Construction undertook that has yet to be done by anyone else is the construction of a 760 foot vinyl seawall with no angles, only convex and concave curves. This project was done on a small peninsula on the Wicomico River. Most seawalls are constructed so they are a straight line within right angles to help match the shape of the property. This is necessary when using wooden beams for construction. To get this curved shape Delta Marine Construction used a concrete cap with extra long sheets of vinyl to minimize the exposure. While only seven feet of the vinyl siding is exposed, the sheets are actually twenty-two feet long, with fifteen feet buried beneath the ground. This provides extra stability to the seawall, which is needed for this type of project.

Delta Marine Construction takes great pride in the fact that they work with their customers throughout the planning, permitting, and construction phases of the project. In the planning and permitting process they work with several engineers throughout Virginia. They also work closely with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, The County Wetlands Boards, and the Corps of Engineers to ensure that the construction is minimally invasive to the environment.

When working in marine construction it is vital that each project take in all environmental aspects. This begins with the planning phase and is carried out through the completion of the project. One way they do this is by installing rip rap whenever possible instead of seawalls. The rip rap actually creates habitat while stopping shoreline erosion. Another way Delta Marine works to protect the environment is by working closely with county inspectors and engineers to ensure they are following the right type of erosion control process. While these are simple ways to ensure the environment is being protected, Delta Marine Construction is working proactively in installing new green products.

Delta Marine Construction is in the process of coming up with a written scope, or building plan, for a completely green dock. This green dock will be constructed solely of recycled or direct-ship materials. Using recycled materials will help keep consumer waste out of our landfills. Direct-ship materials are building products that are shipped directly from the manufacturer to the job site, thus reducing unnecessary pollutants and wasted gas from extra freight traffic. These are two easy ways for the construction process to be environmentally friendly.

Another new product is the geomat system. This is used for bank stabilization and drastically improves water runoff and soil erosion. This system is a mat that is rolled out with an earth anchor. It is particularly beneficial on a steep sloped embankment that may be susceptible to landslides or high levels of runoff. Another benefit to the geomat system is that sod can be applied directly to the mat and vegetation can be planted directly through the mat. The roots from the sod and landscaping vegetation go directly through the mat making it twice as strong and providing extra coverage from runoff and erosion.

While Delta Marine Construction is growing, it is still small enough to fully service all of its customers. They have two full-time Directors of Construction to supervise all of the projects they take on. In addition, they also have a project foreman on each site at each job. As the owner, Brian works closely with the Directors of Construction and foremen to make sure that each job is being carried out properly.

Over the years, they have found their customers needing help with areas outside of the marine construction realm, specifically home improvement needs. In an effort to address these needs, Brian has hired a full-time crew for his waterfront clients who need home improvement or new construction jobs completed. These projects fall under a newly formed company—Delta Construction.

While Brian focuses most of his efforts on Delta Marine Construction, he decided it was necessary to get a Class A Contractors license for Home Improvement and Building on top of the Contractors license he currently holds for Commercial and Residential Marine Construction.

When asked what it was that has led his business to grow, Brian knows it has been his business skills, strong work ethic, and the good grace of God. These coupled with his quality construction and innovative designs have grown his business from the one barge business repairing the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel to the highly successful business it is today, creating artistic structures up and down our waterways.

For more information on Delta Marine Construction or Delta Construction please call Brian at 804-776-7110. You may also see some of his projects on the web at www.deltamarineconstruction.com.