Norris Marine Construction has a reputation for innovative, reliable dock and seawall construction that stands the test of time.
Founded by Billy Norris, Norris Marine is a family-owned marine contractor that has operated for going on two decades. The company is industry-renowned for its superior customer service and unbreakable integrity.
The Norris Construction Story
At Everlast, we frequently rely on the expertise of Billy and his team when installing our products. When Billy is involved, the project is completed with the highest standards of safety and the job is done right the first time. Norris Marine goes above and beyond, helping customers manage everything from start to finish, from planning and permits to construction and CAMA permits and inspections.
In appreciation of their hard work and dedication to customer service, we’re featuring Norris Marine to tell a bit of their story. To get the goods, we chatted with Billy’s wonderful wife Evelyn, who told us about the innovation and quality that Billy has brought to the industry.
After the second time a hurricane destroyed the Norris family’s dock, Billy and Evelyn decided that enough was enough. The couple felt that what was available on the market just didn’t cut it.
Billy had been working with another contractor that built seawalls and docks, and had gained some experience with the fundamentals. So he decided he would rebuild his dock, only better and stronger than before. He used wood, and it stood strong over years of turbulent waves and weather. Eventually, Evelyn decided the dock needed to be manually removed to make way for an even better concrete version, which stands to this day. Soon after that, Norris Marine Construction was born.
The Science of Better Marine Construction
Billy wanted Norris Construction to make a name for itself by designing and building docks and seawalls that could stand up to Mother Nature over time. He researched ways to build docks to withstand hurricane conditions and studied the physics involved in building stronger seawalls. From his efforts, he developed innovative solutions that were not yet being used in the industry.
For starters, Billy helped pioneer the use of pile drivers to install pilings. Although it meant a big investment early in his career, he realized early on that just “washing in” pilings with water disturbs a lot of the surrounding soil, which prevents a compact installation that would help prevent the pilings from washing away in a storm. Pile drivers ensure a compact fit that’s far more resistant to water surges.
Billy also understood that docks are undone by the tremendous pressure created by rising waters, so he started building his docks lower to the water to reduce the amount of pressure applied to the dock during a storm. Just that one oft-imitated consideration has increased the durability of his docks.
Billy also took a new approach to attaching dock planks. It may seem intuitive to bolt down each plank, but in the event of flooding, water pressure puts incredible strain on the dock. To ease strain on the foundation, Billy stopped bolting in favor of using more “breakaway” materials. That way, instead of losing your entire dock, the worst case scenario has you losing just your top planks.
A Changing Industry
Perhaps the biggest change in the docking industry is the use of actual concrete-based hog slats in place of wood slats. The spaces in the material allow for rising tides to move through the deck, reducing pressure on the structure.
Previously, people might try to remove every third or fourth wood plank before a storm, then put it back down after the storm—if there were still a dock. That time-consuming and problematic process has been rendered unnecessary by employing the dual-use hog slats, which, according to Evelyn, “work tremendously because your docks don’t budge.”
Old-Fashioned Workmanship and Integrity
When it comes down to doing the work, Billy is no office jockey. He services as project foreman, and drives the heavy equipment like backhoes and excavators. Pile driving in particular is dangerous business, and Billy and the team rely on his experience to get the job done safely.
That’s an obvious point of pride for Evelyn, who notes that Billy installs pilings “straight as an arrow, with no mistakes.” She adds, “It’s a pleasure to drive by our walls. Whether retaining walls at a Jacksonville government building or somewhere else, we see ours still standing strong while others are falling apart.”
Downtime with Family
Billy and Evelyn met in school and have been together since. The two have overseen hundreds of projects over the years, but family is their highest priority, and Sunday is the most important day of the week.
“On Sundays, our whole world is about our grandbabies.”
The couple have two grandchildren, the older of whom calls Billy “Dewey.” Though no one is quite sure why, it’s a name that’s stuck. They all enjoy spending time together with their beloved poodle, Uncle Blue.
More than Just Experience
There’s more than experience on display at Norris Construction. Billy does business the old-fashioned way. His reputation is everything, and his quality of work, integrity, and trust over the years has kept his phone ringing and his business growing.
If you need a seawall constructed or a dock installed in North Carolina, we highly recommend getting in touch with Grandpa Dewey, er, Billy Norris of Norris Marine Construction.
Image via TownDock.net