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24 July 2014

Leadenhall Building Takes Next Step to Completion

The new iconic building on the London skyline has taken an exciting step forward, with leading global engineering and construction company Laing O’Rourke reaching practical completion on the impressive Leadenhall Building.

At a huge 224 metres tall, made up of 18,000 tonnes of steel, 300 miles of cable, 75,000m² of cladding, The Leadenhall Building has already made an impact on the London skyline. To overcome the challenges of a tight, central London location and lead architects’, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners intricate design,  Laing O’Rourke utilised its pioneering Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) methodology.  Eighty-five percent of the building structure (by construction value) has been manufactured offsite - unprecedented for a City skyscraper. The building’s distinctive yellow Northern Core, which houses 20 passenger lifts including some of the world’s fastest scenic lifts, was built using 138 table shaped components manufactured offsite in Northern Ireland, Nottinghamshire and Oldbury, each weighing 35 tonnes. Each table could be craned into place within two hours of arrival on site and came complete with services and structural flooring already built in. Additionally all of the building’s concrete floors were pre-cast at Laing O’Rourke’s state of the art manufacturing facility in Nottinghamshire, contributing to a faster programme and safer site.

To haul each of the gigantic components into place, with some steel columns being the heaviest that can be brought in to central London, reaching 28m in length and with an average weight of 32 tonnes, Laing O’Rourke used four cranes, two of which were custom built weighing 250 tonnes each, with a capacity of 45 tonnes.  As the site developed, the cranes climbed up the building to allow for continued use and reduced the number of lifts required on site.

Laing O’Rourke’s leading use of digital engineering was critical to hiding 410 tonnes of mechanical and electrical services in the attic of the building – a strategy that has provided the ultimate in flexible accommodation, delivering spectacular views to its occupiers. Eighteen months of digitally modeling the sequence, guaranteed each component being lifted 224m high and lowered into its exact defined location right first time.

“We are hugely proud of our work on the Leadenhall Building,” says Laing O’Rourke Chief Executive Anna Stewart; “to take on the construction of such a complex and unique building has been both challenging and rewarding, and the Laing O’Rourke team and our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure the project has been delivered on time and to the highest standard. Over the course of the project 9,800 jobs have been created or supported, bringing in services and skills from people throughout the country and 26 apprenticeships have been successfully completed onsite. Critical to its success has been both the use of our unique Design for Manufacture and Assembly approach, along with the support of the Leadenhall Development Company resulting in this iconic structure becoming a welcome addition to the London skyline. This has been a wonderful team effort and it has been a pleasure to be involved with such a positive and supportive client, design and delivery team.”

The building will now be handed over to the Leadenhall Development Company, a joint venture between British Land and Oxford Properties for fit out ahead of its expected opening in 2015.

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