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Aarsleff Ground Engineering commences piling for 220,000sq ft extension, in Hull

June 18th, 2018 No comments

Clugston Construction awarded Aarsleff Ground Engineering the piling contract for a £25m extension to the National Distribution Centre in Hull for workwear and safety equipment supplier, Arco. The 220,000sq ft extension will double Arco’s current warehousing and logistics capacity. The build is part of Arco’s £55m investment initiative to support its ambitious growth plans.

Aarsleff are installing over 3000 No. precast concrete pile, 250 and 350mm, up to 21m in length with their Junttan Pmx22 and Banut 700 rigs. Currently, Aarsleff are on site with 4 rigs and a 70t hydraulic crawler crane.

Aarsleff Ground Engineering commenced work on the 14th May, with a completion date expected mid-July.  The new facility is set for completion in summer 2019.

Syed Ali, Aarsleff’s project manager, said “We have benefitted from a thorough preliminary trial piling exercise carried out on site in early April ahead of the main works to provide the information required by Clugston Constructions consulting engineers (HBPW LLP) to design the overall pile layout.

We are on target to deliver another successful project for Clugston Construction with whom we share a good longstanding working relationship”

Aarsleff Ground Engineering have worked closely with Clugston Construction and HBPW LLP on identifying the most safe and efficient way to execute piling works on a site. So far, Aarsleff’s site team are doing a great job of bettering their anticipated rig output on site with the cooperation of Clugston Construction site management who have prepared our working area to a high standard, enabling us to optimise our productivity and plan works ahead.

About Clugston Group:

Clugston Group was established in 1937 by the current Chairman’s father. The Group, which has offices and operations in Scunthorpe, Leeds, Stockton-on-Tees, Bromsgrove, Billingham, Driffield, Aberthaw, Ashbourne and Haydock, has built a reputation for safely delivering a wide variety of service and projects for customers in the public and private sectors. The company has featured in The Sunday Times Profit Track 100, The Sunday Times Top Track 250 and been celebrated in the London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain report.

For further information about Clugston visit:

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Trussed rafter industry ready for the next generation

June 13th, 2018 No comments

New talent, new leadership, new structure and embracing new technology were just some of the highlights from the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) Annual AGM, which took place last month.

One of the key speakers, Alison Watson, founder of Class of Your Own, inspired delegates when talking about the Design Engineer Construct! programme. She explained how easily the construction industry can collaborate with local schools to give a taste of what a career in the built environment is really like.

Celebrations were in order for two trussed rafter designers who achieved the highest scores in the TRA’s online training. Top scorers Frank Kyne of Wyckham Blackwell and Gabor Vince of Taylor Lane Timber Frame Ltd, will travel to Sweden courtesy of Vida Wood, to visit the forest and mill to experience the felling and logging process.

The AGM was the first official TRA event with Nick Boulton as chief executive and he took the opportunity to announce a new structure to help the TRA move with the fast pace of construction.

Regional chairs will become project champions for this year, heading up an array of projects that were also announced at the AGM. Projects include the spandrel panel guide that will also cover care homes and apartments; the development of a gable panel guide; updates to the installation guide; and a quality assurance scheme for clad panels designed to make checking the specification easier for building control.

Fire safety was another key issue and leading building inspector, Geoff Wilkinson, warned of how the repercussions of Grenfell Tower rippled across the whole construction industry, not just those whose products had been used on the tower.

Geoff gave a comprehensive history of building regulations starting with the Great Fire of London in 1666 and fast tracking to the 1980s. Since then many changes have been made to building regulations and Geoff spoke of how ambiguous they are. At the time of the AGM, the Hackitt Report had not been published but Geoff warned the members to be ready and vigilant to ensure that their products are not substituted and to check that certification can prove their products are genuine.

With Brexit looming, technical standards and the need to embrace technology for the future were discussed. The TRA is now a ‘Relevant Authority’ for BIM, as granted by the CPA for LEXiCON to ensure that all trussed rafters and metal web joists are consistently represented in BIM models. All members comply with BIM Level 2 protocols and earlier in the year committed to using Eurocode 5 for all new drawings and for all legacy drawings from 1 July 2018.

Delegates also received feedback on the success of the new TRA website and how it is helping housebuilders and roofing professionals to find information more easily and get answers to technical queries.

TRA chairman, Jonathan Fellingham, closed the AGM by highlighting the importance of inspiring the next generation to consider a career in the construction industry, and the need for members to find robust solutions to fire safety.

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Almost six million claimed back in tax by construction workers

June 8th, 2018 No comments

UK construction workers have claimed back almost £6 million in overpaid tax this year, according to figures from tax recovery specialist Brian Alfred.

The leading tax recovery firm for workers using the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) schemes, has reclaimed rebates of more than £5.7 million in the last 12 months.

Derek Kelly, CEO of Brian Alfred said: “It’s been another big year for rebates, with almost six million reclaimed for our clients, and to be honest that’s the tip of the iceberg. Around a third of workers on PAYE and CIS schemes are overpaying tax, but often don’t reclaim money which is rightfully theirs.” 

Since Brian Alfred started they’ve recovered more than £36 million in overpaid tax and Derek added: “Workers often forget to claim back expenses such as travel, uniforms and equipment they’ve had to purchase or even food bought during their working day. There’s a huge range of work expenses where you can claim back the VAT and end up with a nice windfall.

“On average, workers who come to us recover around £1,500 in tax rebates. This year though we saw some rebates as big as £10,000!”

Brian Alfred has broken down the average rebate claim by region over the last 12 months. Workers in Northern Ireland came out on top, receiving an average of £1,979 from the HMRC as a result of overpaid tax. However it was a worker in Gloucester who received the biggest windfall of £10,200 from the HMRC.

The breakdown on tax rebates by region is as follows:

Northern Ireland               £1,979.16

South West                       £1,727.93

Greater London                 £1,712.99

Wales                               £1,706.50

North West                       £1,683.09

South East                        £1,681.96

Scotland                           £1,678.07

East Midlands                   £1,635.61

North East                       £1,635.27

West Midlands                 £1,631.61

Workers who are either part of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) are all eligible to apply and rebates can be claimed for the last four tax years.

Derek added: “You can claim refunds for a range of things, but regulations are complicated, and it can take an expert to get the correct amount of rebate from the HMRC.” 

Brian Alfred is one of the UK’s leading CIS and PAYE tax rebate specialists and has helped thousands of people get their tax rebates, some in as little as 24 hours. 

To find out if you could qualify for a tax rebate visit their free online tax rebate calculator

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Accurate estimation is the key to successful fit out projects

June 6th, 2018 No comments

Accurate estimation can be tough but it is one of the most important parts of construction to get right. It’s made tricky by the fact that each job is unique in its own right but generalisations also need to be factored in to make sure that estimates don’t take too long to complete. Price too high and you may scare the customer away, but price too low and you might end up regretting getting the job. There are a few key elements that need to be fully understood, and will lay the foundation for creating more accurate estimates in the future.

There are two ways that most estimations are undertaken: by job costing or process costing.


Job costing is the total sum of the labour and materials plus any overheads. Process costing is an average of the cost of each step in the construction process. Both have their pros and cons though process costing can be more accurate though longer to perform then job costing.

Job Costing

The key elements in job costing are materials, labour, and overheads; and obviously the more accurate you are with these, the more accurate your overall estimate will be. With labour costs, make sure to factor in the cost and availability of subcontractors as well as the duration and rate of the employees. Materials speak for themself but there can be a myriad of unforeseen requirements that need to be considered. Overheads are often added on as a percentage rather than itemising each specific overhead. The company accountant can be good to speak to in order help work this percentage out.


There is an array of challenges to be aware of when carrying out an estimate and we’ll take a look at some of the main ones here.

Time can be a huge restraint, with pressure from employers and customers to get estimates out as quickly as possible. This rush can easily lead to mistakes and overlooked costs. Fortunately there are a host of tools available to help improve the ease and speed of estimates. There is a lot of great software available now that can help streamline the job costing aspects for you and save time. Templates, improved workflow and working off of similar projects can all help.

Make sure that communication between all parties is clear and informed. A lot of time and resources can be wasted by poor communication between teams which can lead to overlaps, double ups and duplication’s which could have been better used. Likewise, systems need to be put in place to document and process bill of quantities (BOQ) documents. These are crucial to creating an estimate so the easier they are to access and review by all concerned parties the more accurate they will be.

Bidding for work is one of the most important elements for the success of a company. By standardising the process and having a structured approach to estimating, following the guidelines set above will lead to more accurate bids that will win more profitable jobs.

Lake Contracts are shop fit out experts in Birmingham, West Midlands who provide a tailor-made service for their clients so contract management, design planning and bespoke joinery is all under one roof. Find out more about the shop fitting services Lake Contracts offer.

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CITB spends £16m on freelancers and consultants

June 5th, 2018 No comments

The Construction Industry Training Board has spent more than £16m over the last three years on external contractors and consultants.

The revelation is contained in a Freedom of Information request seen by the Enquirer.

And it comes as the CITB is in the middle of plans to outsource even more operations under  a services contract worth £300m to the winners.

The FoI request shows the skills body spent £10.3m with Capita and £6.2m with Fujitsu during the period.

The Capita cash consisted of £2m spent on consultancy with the rest paid to other contractors via the outsourcing giant who the Government make CITB use as a payment conduit.

The Fujitsu millions went on specialist technical, software and development support.

CITB currently employs 1,370 staff which will be reduced to fewer than 600 under its Vision 2020 outsourcing plan.

One CITB insider said: “The industry needs to know where its levy money is being spent.

“The current outsourcing plans are so big that only firms the size of Capita can really bid for them.

“Everyone saw the result of outsourcing with Carillion but the CITB is hell bent on taking that path.”

Adrian Beckingham, Change Director at CITB, said: “CITB is delivering a reform programme to provide greater value to construction employers across Great Britain.

“In order to do that, like many other government and public sector bodies, where we do not have in-house technical capacity we have called on the expertise of contractors.

“This includes anything from IT support to health and safety translation services.

“Cabinet Office rules require us to pay contractors through a government procurement programme run by Capita.

“This means that, while we have do use Capita to provide support, the majority of funds ultimately are paid to other companies.

“Using contractors is at times essential for us to meet the needs of industry and we will continue to do so where appropriate.”

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Civils contractor Crummock collapses

June 4th, 2018 No comments

Civil engineering contractor Crummock has collapsed with the loss of nearly 300 jobs.

Matt Henderson and Donald McNaught at Johnston Carmichael have been appointed as joint receivers for a trio of companies that form the group.

They are now dealing with the receiverships of Crummock (Scotland) Ltd, Crummock Holdings Ltd and Crummock Ltd.

The privately-owned contractor ceased trading today and 287 employees of the business have been made redundant as a result.

Crummock, which operated out of Bonnyrigg just south east of Edinburgh city centre, offered a wide range of civil engineering and surfacing construction expertise including groundworks, infrastructure works, roadworks and road surfacing.

The firm has worked on a range of landmark developments including the Donaldson school residential development in Edinburgh, Fort Kinnaird Retail Park and Shawfair – a major drainage infrastructure project south east of the city.

Matt Henderson said: “Crummock is a long-established construction business which, like many in the industry, has suffered from reduced margins in recent times.

“In recent months it has also encountered cashflow difficulties due to high retention levels, the tight margins within the sector and business specific issues.”

“Unfortunately, the business was unable to raise the capital to enable it to overcome the current financial challenges it faces and we are now dealing with creditors’ claims.”

Latest results for Crummock (Scotland) Ltd show that for the year to March 31 2017 it made a pre-tax profit of £596,000 from a turnover of £23.8m.

Crummock managing director Derek Hogg is also chairman of trade body CECA Scotland but will now be stepping down from the roles.

CECA Scotland Chief Executive Grahame Barn said: “This is a sad day for the civil engineering sector in Scotland and comes at a time when there is little sign of optimism for future workload growth in the sector and SMEs in particular are facing significant challenges.

“Our thoughts are with all the directors, employees and creditors of that company at this very difficult time.

“CECA Scotland will be actively involved in supporting everyone impacted through this very challenging period.

“Regrettably, this announcement means that Derek Hogg will be stepping down as CECA Scotland Chairman and we have already taken steps to ensure a smooth transition to allow the activities of CECA Scotland to continue as normal.”

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Site workers secure 6% pay rise

May 30th, 2018 No comments

Employers and the construction unions have agreed a two year pay deal which will see minimum rates rise by more than 6%.

The agreement covers more than 400,000 construction workers and will see pay rates rise 3.2% in year one and 2.9% in year two.

The new Construction Industry Joint Council Working Rule Agreement comes into effect from June 25.

It will see the minimum hourly craft rate rise to £12.67 in 2019 resulting in a £494.13 pay packet for a 39-hour week.

The minimum hourly rate for labourers will hit £9.53 representing £371.67 a week.

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Building consultancy takes its own steps to counter Hackitt Review “failings”

May 24th, 2018 No comments

Building surveying, cost management, architecture and project management specialist Trident Building Consultancy has taken the decision to set its own rules regarding fire safety following what it sees as the “extraordinary failings” of the final recommendations from the Hackitt Review which were published yesterday.

Trident is banning the use on its projects of any desktop fire safety studies to prove the suitability of a product or system, and will only specify rigorously tested and proven non-combustible materials for use on refurbished and new buildings.

In addition, it now requires a far more robust method of large-scale product testing, and is considering reintroducing a clerk of works type service on projects wherever possible to try and ensure a much higher standard of installation.

Matthew Clare, one of the founding directors of Trident, said:

“I was disappointed when I read the Hackitt Review report. Expectations were very high and have not been met.

“Of course, we welcome the commitment to tighten the loose and ambiguous wording of the Building Regulations and Approved Document B. The current wording is so grey, so thin, so open to wildly different interpretation. This is one step in the right direction.

“But I was flabbergasted that the use of desktop studies in the process of material selection was not completely struck out in the Hackitt Review recommendations. Relying on someone else’s work and picking out bits of it to suit your case is not a sound basis for demonstrating compliance.

“Indeed, it’s worse than that. In multiple buildings that we have been looking at over the last year, we have found that not even a desktop study had been carried out before getting sign off from the local authority’s building control department or an approved inspector. Nothing. No checks whatsoever that cladding or an insulation system was fit for purpose.”

Trident is now refusing to accept desktop studies, and is advising property investors, developers and owners to carry out careful assessments of the risk and costs of remedial works on certain projects, including student accommodation and other multiple occupancy blocks.

Having completed more than 20 large-scale fire tests since last June, Matthew Clare is highly critical of how some manufacturers of cladding and insulation systems have been able to manipulate the testing regime to get a Euroclass A2 ‘limited combustibility’ rating for products which were patently not appropriate.

“We will always advocate empirical testing on large-scale samples,” he says.

“Before Trident will specify any product, we will want to see that testing has been carried out in a robust fashion, using a faithful replica of what will be used on a building and that building’s design features. The devil is in the detail.

“Furthermore, we must be entirely sure that what is tested is what will then be installed – and to exactly the same tolerances. I’ve seen systems that pass fire safety tests when used with a 10mm gap but fail when there’s a 12mm gap. There is absolutely no substitute for quality control of installation, as well as product manufacture and testing.”

Trident Building Consultancy provides building surveying, cost management and project management services across a wide range of sectors in commercial and residential property, and across all parts of the private sector, local and central government.

Most recently, it has been involved in assessing, specifying and project managing the remedial works required on a number of high rise residential buildings that had been clad with similar systems as used at Grenfell Tower, and which also displayed many of the same passive fire safety failures such as lack of compartmentation and missing or damaged fire doors.

Trident was formed in 1998 and currently employs more than 100 staff across 11 offices in the UK and Ireland, enabling it to have a nationwide capability to deliver sound, reliable advice from a solid base of qualified and experienced surveyors and architects.

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Tradespeople need to do more to keep up with smart home technology

May 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Tradespeople need to do more to keep up with smart home technology


84% of tradespeople said they had never undertaken any training in smart home technology, according to a recent poll carried out by the UK’s largest online supplier of ironmongery, IronmongeryDirect.

Conducted in the lead up to Smart Home Week (21- 27 May) the poll revealed that despite the rise in popularity of smart home products, many tradespeople are still unprepared for the increasing customer demand.

Nearly 30% of UK homeowners now own at least one smart home product[1]. This increase is reaffirmed by IronmongeryDirect expecting sales of smart technology to more than double this year.  This is in addition to previous national research carried out by the leading online ironmongery supplier, which showed that almost 90% of tradespeople are not confident when advising customers on smart products.

Only one in ten tradespeople said they felt “very confident” when it comes to offering guidance on smart products, including products such as smart cameras, smart alarms and locks which can be connected to smartphones.

Now in its second year, Smart Home Week aims to raise the profile of smart home technology and to inform, educate and reassure consumers about the benefits and opportunities of living in a smart, connected way.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, said: “Smart products are redefining the way that a property functions, and there is a clear need for tradespeople to keep abreast of the developments involving smart technology. With basic burglar alarms now enhanced to monitor, control and interact with a home or business premises from a smartphone or tablet, we are just at the beginning of this smart tech revolution.

“There is still a demand for traditional products, but these new smart alternatives should not be ignored. There are some fantastic products on the market, whether you want to specialise in security, lighting, heating or household appliances.”

Training organisations around the UK offer courses in smart technology, including the AWE Smart Home Academy in Surrey, which equips tradespeople with the skills and confidence they need to advise customers on the technology. For instance, its Foundation Workshop is aimed at the less experienced residential smart technology installer and focuses on the fundamentals of custom installation.

IronmongeryDirect stocks a variety of products including the The Yale® Easy Fit Telecommunicating Alarm, a top-of-the-range house alarm, the Yale® Smart HD1080 4 Camera CCTV Kit a durable and hard-wearing product that can monitor a property with its high definition video quality camera and the Yale® Conexis L1 Multipoint Smart Lock.

The customer service team are available from 7am-8pm 7 days a week and can help with any questions or queries you may have about smart home technology.

IronmongeryDirect has over 16,500 products available and in stock. Orders can be placed as late as 8pm for next day delivery from Sunday through to Friday and by 4pm on Saturdays. Free, no quibble returns are available on all products.

For more information, visit or call their team of specialist advisors on 0800 168 28 28.


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WSP Uses Advanced 3D Modeling to Optimize the Design of London’s Newest Iconic Skyscraper

May 21st, 2018 Comments off

Bentley’s RAM Software Provides Innovative Structural Solutions for Unique Geometry of One Blackfriars Tower


Prime Location, Multiple Challenges

Considered one of Europe’s most iconic building projects, One Blackfriars London is a mixed-use development that features a 50-story residential tower as its centerpiece, an adjoining three-story podium housing a gym and retail facilities, and a boutique hotel with 161 rooms, all built over a three-story basement with a swimming pool, spa, and parking facilities. Developed by St. George and designed by Simpson Haugh Architects, the project is situated on the south side of Blackfriars Bridge overlooking the River Thames, offering spectacular views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and Westminster’s Big Ben, and the houses of Parliament. WSP was appointed to provide structural modeling and engineering services.


The project site varied in depth and had remaining elements of a previously demolished building, which could not be removed without collapsing the surrounding infrastructure. Performing a 3D laser site survey enabled the team to understand the site challenges and design the new three-story basement down to 13 meters, fitting around the site’s constraints.


WSP also faced challenges designing temporary on-site client facilities, including developing structural solutions for the complex geometry of the 170-meter landmark building. MicroStation, RAM Concept, and RAM Structural System provided WSP an integrated BIM solution to streamline workflows and push the limits of structural design to create an elegant silhouette on London’s skyline.


3D Design Coordination Saves Time and Space

Given that St. George desired a strong, on-site marketing and sales presence, WSP designed a temporary three-story, steel-framed facility fitted with replica apartments to serve as the marketing suite. To support it at ground level, the team partially modeled the ground floor slab and supported the slab on plunge columns so that the three levels of the basement could be constructed around and underneath the marketing suite while in use. This piling configuration enabled temporary and permanent works to be combined and facilitated a top-down construction sequence. The interoperability of Bentley technology allowed WSP to share the 3D design models with the construction contractor for generating logistics plans and sequencing work packages. As the works reached the ground floor, the marketing suite was removed and the tower construction commenced.


To complicate matters, the rooftop structure of the tower housed the main building maintenance unit (BMU), which contained a shaft extending down into the multi-level penthouse floors. WSP worked with its in-house façade access consultants, sharing 3D MicroStation models to determine how to prevent the BMU from intruding on the penthouse space. Using the WSP model, contractors could fully understand the space and reduce the size of the BMU to a more compact unit.


In addition to coordinating with the contractors, WSP opted for a collaborative design process to analyze numerous options and determine innovative solutions to ensure structural integrity of the asymmetrically shaped tower. The design team used the architect’s 3D model in MicroStation and developed a framing skeleton for the model. Floor plate layouts were then extracted and seamlessly imported into RAM Concept, where multiple design iterations were analyzed and automated drawing productions generated for client and design team coordination. This process streamlined workflow and optimized optioneering, enabling various alternatives to be analyzed in half the time.


Post-tensioned Design Adds Value

The geometry of the tower consists of a narrow base extending upward to a bulge, where the private viewing lounge offers panoramic views of London, and then slopes back in and continues rising upward. A multi-level penthouse accommodates the top five floors of the 50-story building. The tower includes 274 luxury apartments, all varying in layout with floor plates of different shapes and sizes and no repetition throughout the building. Not only did WSP need a structural solution for the varied floor plans, but it also needed to design support columns that offered unobstructed views without intruding on the apartment spaces.


Based on the MicroStation architectural model and using RAM Concept, WSP determined that the optimal structural solution was a combination of fitting reinforced concrete blade columns between the party walls and circular feature columns. With all the various sized apartments, the team needed to determine the location for the columns that best suited the individual layouts while still ensuring structural integrity. Bentley’s interoperable technology optimized the column configuration and automatically generated arrangement drawings that were shared with the contractor for construction.


Finally, with RAM Concept, WSP designed the apartment floor slabs as thin as possible. The team modeled and designed 225-millimeter thick, post-tensioned concrete floor slabs, which proved to be the most cost-effective solution based on minimum structural zone. It reduced the self-weight of the floors, which proved the most cost-effective solution based on minimum structural zone. It reduced the self-weight of the floors, which allowed for maximum slab spans and floor-to-ceiling heights to increase apartment value. The post-tensioned slab design saved 10 percent in overall concrete volume for the floors alone, equivalent to five additional floor plates.


Interoperability Ensures Stability

Using RAM Concept, WSP conducted finite element modeling to analyze the entire building, testing stability against wind and numerous forces. The team applied the software’s meshing algorithm to accurately predict the floor slab concrete behavior and integrated it with other software, designing the stability system and producing an overall building model.


A glittering pinnacle of One Blackfriars Tower is the multi-level penthouse. Tasked with finding a structural framing solution for the most expensive part of the building, the design team used RAM software to develop structural support for the glass rooftop. With Bentley’s structural design and analysis software, WSP introduced a transfer slab to support the entire dead weight of the roof cap and restrained it with horizontal and vertical restraints.


The team conducted a detailed deflection cap analysis that included testing the structural robustness of the main BMU on various transfer slabs. The interoperability of Bentley software optimized analysis, ensuring structural stability of the unique building geometry and achieving an iconic design.


RAM Optimizes Structural Solutions

Consistent with the elegant design of the tower, the architects were keen to have feature columns at the base of the building. The columns were narrow at the base and extended upward 10 meters in height, which forced the team to adopt high-strength concrete to ensure optimal axial stiffness and strength. However, the client also wanted a two-level mezzanine above the lobby without any of the columns interfering with the open lobby space. Using RAM Structural System, WSP designed a steel framework and hung the entire framing system from the first residential floor slab. With RAM Concept, the design team could enhance the thickness of the first level slab to support the frame loads.


WSP faced additional challenges of ensuring structural support for the post-tensioned floor slabs for the different apartment layouts. After conducting numerous design iterations, the team adopted a combined solution of walking columns, raking columns, and split reverse-Y columns. As the raking columns also generated horizontal forces, WSP use the floor plates to tie the column horizontal forces to the building.


Further up the tower structure are two smaller BMUs that required a variation in column design to avoid clashes as the columns rose from the floors below. RAM Concept enabled the team to determine an optimal solution, using reverse-Y transfer columns to allow space for the BMUs but still support the floors.


Finally, as with any high-rise building, lateral stability is a crucial issue. And with residential buildings like One Blackfriars Tower, the building cores tend to be smaller compared to commercial buildings. To ensure lateral stability, WSP designed a staggered outrigger system that extended out and attached to the columns. This solution also provided the construction team complete access to each floor.



Pushing the Limits of Structural Design

Bentley’s RAM software saved considerable time throughout all stages of the project. The technology allowed multiple iterations and design changes to be explored and adopted from the initial design proposal stage through construction, while ensuring compliance with European design codes. Within a short period of time, WSP achieved an efficient, cost-effective structural solution incorporating longer, thinner slabs and fewer columns. RAM enabled the design team to push structural design to the limit, providing innovative solutions for each bespoke room and floor.


Using Bentley’s integrated 3D modeling applications enabled WSP to design and deliver an iconic landmark for London and reinforces the notion that with the right capabilities, anything is possible and there is no limit as to what can be achieved. One Blackfriars will inspire the next generation of designers to think outside the box and promote London as the capital for world-class architecture and engineering.


According to Aret Garip, technical director, structural project manager and design lead, WSP UK, “Bentley’s RAM Concept and MicroStation software packages enabled WSP to design and deliver one of the most iconic projects in Europe. The software was very effective to coordinate and design cost-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for the benefit of the client and the local community. The project stands proud as a centerpiece for architectural and engineering excellence.”



Project Summary


Organization:  WSP

Solution:  Buildings and Campuses

Location: London, England, United Kingdom


Project Objectives:

  • Provide structural engineering solutions for site constraints and complex geometry of One Blackfriars Tower.
  • Design cost-effective, efficient framing to fit 274 apartments within the 50-story skyscraper.
  • Optimize collaboration with architects, client, and contractors to deliver an elegant super-structure with spectacular views of London.
  • Push the limits of structural design to inspire the imagination of future designers.


Products Used:

MicroStation, RAM Concept, RAM Structural System


Fast Facts:

  • One Blackfriars is London’s mixed-use development accommodating 274 apartments and a multi-level penthouse.
  • WSP used RAM Concept to design the floor slabs for this geometrically complex building.
  • Using MicroStation, the design team shared 3D models and produced automated production drawings, facilitating collaboration.



  • RAM Concept optimized optioneering to achieve a cost-effective structural solution within a short time period, saving the equivalent of five additional floor plates.
  • Bentley’s 3D technology coordinated modeling and streamlined workflows to save 50 percent in design time.
  • Bentley applications’ interoperability combined temporary and permanent works, increasing efficiency and reducing construction time.



“Bentley’s RAM Concept and MicroStation software packages enabled WSP to design and deliver one of the most iconic projects in Europe. The software was very effective to coordinate and design cost-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for the benefit of the client and the local community. The project stands proud as a centerpiece for architectural and engineering excellence.”


Aret Garip, Technical Director, Structural Project Manager and Design Lead, WSP, UK


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