240 Blackfriars

Reaching new heights on the South Bank

An architecturally striking 19-storey tower offering modern offices with fantastic river views, 240 Blackfriars bucked the trend with the client investing in the development at the height of the recession.

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240 Blackfriars Project summary

Client

The Great Ropemaker Partnership (a JV between Great Portland Estates and BP Pension Fund)

Key Partners

Allford Hall Monaghan and Morris, AKT II, Hilson Moran

Value

£70m

Services provided

Construction, Contracting, Mace Logistics, Construction management

Sectors

Commercial, Offices

Locations

UK and Europe, UK - London and south-east England

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Project story

An architecturally striking 19-storey tower offering modern offices with fantastic river views, 240 Blackfriars bucked the trend with the client investing in the development at the height of the recession.

Completed in 2014 and home to a number of prestigious tenants, including media and publishing company UBM (publisher of Building magazine), Lonely Planet Publications and law firm Boodle Hatfield, the building was designed to achieve the highest environmental standards even before a single tenant was secured.

Decisions to increase the originally designed height of the building from 14 to 19 storeys and to acheive BREEAM 2011 standards, rather than the initial target of BREEAM 2008, challenged the team to aim higher and look for innovations to accommodate what the changes meant for the project - from clever use of mechanical systems design and modifying the glazing, no concept was left unchallenged.

Project stats

1,000sq m commercial office space
60m long floor plates

Points of note

Benefiting from BIM

At the time of the project, it pushed the boundaries when it comes to the use of BIM in terms of increased collaboration, programme certainty, assured delivery and risk reduction. A progressive strategy was developed to engage the whole team in the use of BIM for many elements of the build including the structure, cladding, M&E and fit out.

BIM allowed the team to rehearse the building of the project in a virtual environment, validate the programme and ensure safe delivery. Subcontractors were able to see the building built in sequence, which gave site operatives an improved level of ownership and full understanding of their part in the construction process.

Designing in sustainability

Sustainability was high on the agenda in order to attract to corporate occupiers; indeed the original scheme was designed to achieve a 2008 BREEAM Excellent rating. But by the time the scheme was delivered, the design was updated to achieve a 2011 BREEAM Excellent rating.

Supporting local employment opportunities

Our socio-economics team worked in partnership with GPE to provide targeted support for local residents and get them into training, employment with our supply chain or apprenticeships. This work enabled 66 people into work, with 88% remaining in work for at least 26 weeks, as well as getting seven local residents into apprenticeships.

An unusual frame

When the concrete core was constructed due to the fact it was not positioned centrally but on the perimeter, the core had to be built out of plumb. As the various floor were added the additional weight re-aligned the core, this was all in line with the predictions set out by AKT engineers.

At the top of the building the M and E plant was housed in a complex geometric steel structure, the use of BIM greatly assisted the co-ordination of the steelwork and cladding and demonstrating the build sequence with the supply chain.

“This is a great project for us with one of our long-standing clients, Great Portland Estates. Having worked with GPE over a number of projects, we've been able to better understand their ambitions and help them realise their goals, setting high standards for sustainability in commercial office developments.”

“This was a challenging job for us but really allowed us to bring innovations, such as using a concrete frame and heavy use of BIM, to the table. This was a complex construction project for us but one we are rightly proud of.”

“This is a great building for us and we have fantastic views across the capital - and we can keep an eye on many of Mace's other projects!”