Redefining the London skyline
The challenge: build the tallest tower in Western Europe on top of one of the busiest stations in London.
The Shard Project summary
Sellar Property Group
Renzo Piano, Turner & Townsend, Davis Langdon, Arup, WSP
- Start date
- End date
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.
Points of note
A race to the topDue 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 effortAt the busiest point during its construction, 1,450 workers from 60 countries were helping to build The Shard.
Higher, faster, saferA ‘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.”