The Shard

Redefining the London skyline

The challenge: build the tallest tower in Western Europe on top of one of the busiest stations in London.

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The Shard Project summary

Client

Sellar Property Group

Key partners

Renzo Piano, Turner & Townsend, Davis Langdon, Arup, WSP

Services provided

Construction, Contracting

Sectors

Commercial, Mixed-use development, Offices, Hotels and residential, Hotels, Residential and student accommodation

Locations

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

Project timeline

Start date
2010
End date
2012
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Project story

The Shard stands at 310m tall and when the project began, no one in the UK had ever worked at that height before. Add to this a tight timescale of 38 months, and Mace was forced to re-think the basic principles of construction and use innovative techniques to deliver the project.

This included the first ever use of top-down construction for a core, the UK’s largest ever concrete pour, the UK’s first use of jump-lift construction, the first inclined hoist in the world, and the first crane to ever be supported on top of a slipform.

Our vision was to maximise prefabrication and off-site assembly, including 80% of the mechanical, electrical and public health (MEP) services and notably, the 500-tonne, 66m-high steel spire made up of 800 pieces of glass and steel. The Shard is now a world renowned landmark, home to some of the best offices, restaurants and hotel rooms in London - along with breathtaking views.

Project stats

310m high, almost a third of a kilometre
95 storeys tall
11,000 glass panels cover the exterior
320km of wiring in the building, which would stretch from London to Paris

Points of note

A race to the top

Due to planning delays early on in the project, we found solutions to make up the time, delivering the building in just 38 months instead of 42.

A global effort

At the busiest point during its construction, 1,450 workers from 60 countries were helping to build The Shard.

Higher, faster, safer

A ‘safety by design’ initiative combined design, prefabrication and logistics planning to ensure a reduction in the number of components we had to lift on site, the number and type of connections that we had to make, and the amount of construction work we had to do.

“People didn’t think we could do it but it’s been delivered in style. No longer can people say: ‘Mace aren’t willing to take some risk’. Overnight we quashed that comment and lifted Mace into the very top of the premier league of contractors.”

“The fact that we’ve achieved so many firsts in a technically developed market shows that we’re not afraid to find better ways of doing things and we’re not frightened to challenge anything. We met some resistance at times, but we persisted and we kept an open mind.”