Tesoro’s Avon Wharf Facility Steel Pile Cap Frames

Overview of the Avon Wharf Project

T BAILEY, INC. was brought onto the project to replace sections of Tesoro’s Avon Wharf facility, located at a refinery in Martinez, California.

While the pile caps were already engineered, our in-house design team still needed to detail the project for shop fabrication purposes.


Our fabricators cut, rolled, and bevel-prepared the pipe, manufacturing large subassemblies that were then transported to the Anacortes waterfront for final assembly. The pipe was 1.25” to 3.5” thick and full penetration welds were required, along with 100% UT inspection. Several of the heavier walled subassemblies also required heat treatment.

Once fabrication, assembly, and coatings were completed, we transported the pile cap frames to the customer’s barge. From there, Tesoro shipped the frames down to California and set them in place.

Challenges We Solved While Fabricating Tesoro’s Project

While this may sound like an open-and-shut fabrication project, there were a number of challenges that our industry-leading fabrication crew had to solve. Here are three of the more complex challenges we overcame:

Challenge #1: Assembling the Pile Cap Frames

Once assembled, the pile cap frames towered 15’ in the air and weighed up to an astounding 164 tons (328,000 pounds)! As you can imagine, the sheer size of these assemblies posed serious logistical challenges.

We couldn’t finish assembling the frames at our March Point fabrication shop, because the size would have prevented us from delivering them to the port at Anacortes.

Our team solved this challenge by assembling the pile cap frames in stages. First, we assembled the lengths of pipe into large subassemblies (which were still transportable by truck). Then we delivered these down to the waterfront assembly site next to the Anacortes harbor.

T BAILEY, INC. set up a field assembly site at the waterfront and it was there that we fit and welded the subassemblies into their completed form. We set up scaffolding with covers to help protect against the elements and assist with the welding and coating processes.

Challenge #2: Coating the Frames

Because we were forced to assemble the pile cap frames in multiple locations, this posed a challenge for our in-house coating division. The way we solved this challenge was by coating the frames in two stages as well.

First, we coated the pipe lengths and subassemblies in our shop — making sure to leave a holdback at each of the splice joints. Then, after the subassemblies had been trucked down to the waterfront, scaffolding and covers helped assist our coating department

Once our welders had finished assembling the pile cap frames, T BAILEY, INC.’s expert coating crew went in and filled in the holdbacks, finishing the coating job there on the waterfront.

Challenge #3: Transporting the Completed Pile Cap Frames

The final challenge T BAILEY, INC. faced was moving the fully-assembled, completed pile cap frames from the assembly site to the shipping barges. The loading dock was just a small distance away, but the sheer size and weight of the frames turned this simple transfer into a logistical challenge.

We brought in two 500 ton rolling platforms to help us move the frames. Getting the frames perfectly balanced on the transportation platforms was an exciting process and required special effort since the terrain between the assembly site and the dock was a bit uneven.

To ensure that this challenge was successfully completed, we called in a trusted contractor who had all the equipment and experience necessary to help us get the frames moved to the loading dock. This is one of the many advantages of partnering with T BAILEY, INC. on your fabrication project — our decades of experience have enabled us to build up a network of trusted contractors that we can rely on to deliver quality work and help us complete projects on schedule.

Why T BAILEY, INC. Was Uniquely Qualified to Manufacture Pile Cap Frames

As demonstrated in this case study, T BAILEY, INC.’s long history with steel fabrication and marine construction has enabled us to work on even the most ambitious of projects.

Our facility’s close proximity to the water meant that we were able to keep manufacturing costs low — no steep trucking fees or cross-country transportation challenges. This enabled our fabrication professionals to easily set up a field assembly site and finish welding and coating right at the water’s edge.

Another benefit was T BAILEY, INC.’s advanced fabrication capabilities. This project required us to cut and assemble some complex geometries and intersections. Our long history with marine fabrication ensured that we got every cut and intersection completed on the first attempt.

The skill of our fabricators was put on display again when the pile cap frames reached their destination in California. There they were lifted off the barge and set perfectly on their pilings — another testament to T BAILEY, INC.’s ability to cut geometry right the first time, every time.

An Expert Marine Fabricator Near You

T BAILEY, INC. is the fabrication company you’ve been looking for. To learn more about how we can help breathe life into your marine fabrication project, contact our team today.

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We’re designed to perform custom fabrication of heavy structural and plate products, and can directly ship oversized loads via barge, rail, or truck to your location.

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