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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Tradespeople shake off stereotypes by choosing work over World Cup

June 19th, 2018 No comments

For years, tradespeople have been tarnished with the reputation for prioritising football over work. Many members of the public see them as being a bit too eager to down tools and head to the nearest big screen.

However, recent research among tradespeople busts this myth.

The UK’s leading online trade supplier, IronmongeryDirect, has run a series of polls to find out more about tradespeople’s attitude to work during the World Cup. Many participants, including builders, carpenters and joiners, are currently planning when and where they will be watching their team – but outside of work.

According to a poll of more than 1,000 IronmongeryDirect customers, over 75% of tradespeople claimed they would never consider skipping work to watch their team.

However, if they were to ‘pull a sickie’ to watch an important match, tradespeople gave some of their best excuses, with the more elaborate ones including:

  • “I’ve been called up as a late replacement by Gareth Southgate”
  • “My boyfriend’s in labour.”
  • “I’ve got soap in my eyes and can’t find a towel.”
  • “I’ve been delayed at the airport on holiday…in Scarborough.”
  • “My Auntie’s Gerbil is about to give birth and I’m the nominated birthing partner.”

Some of the more convincing examples included:

  • “I have a dentist appointment.”
  • “The children are poorly.”
  • “I’ve got the flu.”

Employers are recognising that the World Cup is important to many of their staff. Many responded to the polls saying they would be more than happy to be flexible by offering them time off. One respondent stated: “As the boss, I always give my team the time off. It also saves them giving me the daft excuses!”.

The research also revealed ongoing optimism among tradespeople, with more than half believing England will make it to the Quarter Finals. Also, half of those polled (49%) said they would give up alcohol for good to see England win the tournament.

Andy Wood, football enthusiast and Marketing Director of IronmongeryDirect, said: “The World Cup is an exciting time for many of us – tradespeople are no exception. We wanted to find out how our customers were preparing for the year’s biggest sporting event. The research was carried out in the name of fun, but it was great to see results challenging the outdated stereotype of contractors and other trades professionals neglecting their jobs for football! Tradespeople in Britain work hard, and we hope they enjoy watching World Cup 2018.”

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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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#5 Stand Out Buildings in the World of Eco-Construction

June 14th, 2018 No comments

Global ecological awareness is an increasing priority in construction – both for the construction companies, and the homeowners and businesses buying such properties.

Of course, eco-approaches, sustainability and the use of exciting and innovative recycled (and recyclable) materials can only be a good thing when it comes to building necessary homes, business and public service premises. Yet there’s another piece of good news: eco-construction is getting competitive.

There are now prestigious awards, such as the Global Good Awards UK’s Building Sustainably Award, which rewards and highlights those building projects which showcase innovation in eco-construction. Not only does winning such awards offer significant kudos for construction companies, earning them recognition and respect for their achievements and methods, but also the healthy competition generated inspires continued growth and innovation in this important area of construction.

This was certainly demonstrated in 2017, with distinguished RIBA award for sustainable design being awarded to:


#1 The Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia

Since its completion in 2015, this highly eco straw-clad building has won many awards including several from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The building’s eco-credentials include a real focus on sustainable materials, which incorporate straw cladding to the exterior of the building.

The Enterprise Centre, UEA


#2 Blackburn Meadows Biomass Power Plant, Sheffield

Sought to replace recently demolished local landmarks, the Tinsley Towers, the construction of this new power plant needed not only to be robust in terms of its function and its eco-construction credentials, but also sustainable in terms of its heritage symbol’s contribution to the local landscape.


The new plant needed to: “Provide a striking new landmark in the place of the recently demolished Tinsley Cooling Towers, entering public consciousness as a marker for the city and a beacon of sustainable energy production.” (E.On)

Blackburn Meadows power station


And as well as these award-winners, there are plenty more buildings which have been going up as part of dedicated eco-construction …


#3 Bloomberg’s European HQ, London

This magnificent 10-storey high building in London is not only winning awards, but also setting new standards when it comes to sustainable construction and efficiency for office buildings.

File:Bloomberg European Headquarters, London.jpg


The building has earned a massive 98.5% BREEAM score (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), the highest score ever awarded and which relates directly to global sustainability standards. Eco-friendly methods for construction and efficiency include:

  • A roof designed to incorporate a full grey-water collection system;
  • Toilet facilities using vacuum drainage methods, to reduce water usage;
  • 4,000 integrated ceiling panels which incorporate thermal, lighting and acoustic functions;
  • LED lighting has been installed throughout, using 40% less energy than the fluorescent lighting commonly found in office buildings.


#4 Heelis, National Trust HQ, Swindon

You’d expect the National Trust to have something to say about buildings leaving a legacy of the positive kind, and their HQ in Swindon carries this idea right through its eco-friendly design and construction. The National Trust offices are recognised as being among the greenest in the UK, offering:

  • Carbon emissions at 65% less than similar sized buildings.
  • Significant levels of self-sufficiency by providing 30% of its own electricity via photovoltaic panels across the roof.
  • Recycled beer can ventilation snouts.
  • Wool carpeting and textiles made from Herdwick sheep fleece, from the Trust’s own flocks.


Heelis, HQ of the National Trust


#5 Earth-Sheltered social housing scheme, Honingham, Norfolk

It’s back to Norfolk again for this eco-scheme which has been up and running for approximately a decade now and was also, at the time of construction, considered for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Sustainability Award. But even today, the development continues to draw attention from its focus on going ‘back to the roots’ of sustainability, particularly in the context of the current housing crisis.


The complex of four bungalows is constructed so that the majority of the accommodation lies under ground, effectively using the earth and layers of plants on top as insulation. In this way, the building is naturally protected from all extremes of weather and temperature, being both energy efficient and freeze proof, so much so that no conventional heating systems are required.


Since being built, the properties have also proved low maintenance and to ‘heal’ the signs of their own construction, now blending beautifully with the natural environment and providing welcome habitat for both human occupants and wildlife on the roof. Such developments are now moving back into the limelight as the latest generation of eco-builders (and possibly housing ministers) consider the debate between green space and much-needed housing: by providing shelter for living or working, with minimal impact, then these buildings can really stand out just by blending in.


Finally, as with any construction site, eco-construction also requires barrier products for safety and security. Talk to SafeSite Facilities if you’re specifically looking for construction site products which are also designed with recycling and sustainability in mind.


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Vienna summer study programme shows what makes the city tick

June 11th, 2018 No comments

For nine years running, Vienna has been named the best city to live in – and two study programmes taking place this summer help capture the stand-out factors which help make the Austrian capital so desirable.


The Alternative Economic and Monetary Systems (AEMS) summer school and Green.Building.Solutions. (GBS) offer insight, fact-finding visits and the latest thinking from a city which has consistently taken the top slot in the Mercer Quality of Living City Rankings.


AEMS takes place this year between 25 July and 10 August, and GBS between 21 July to 12 August.


The OeAD-Housing Office – part of Austria’s national agency for international mobility and cooperation in education, science and research – operates both AEMS and GBS under a not-for-profit arrangement.


Included in the fee are all social and cultural activities, as well as accommodation in one of OeAD’s passive house student residences in Vienna.


The accommodation is also included as part of the fee for almost a week following each programme, enabling those participants to explore the city at leisure.


Günther Jedliczka, CEO of the OeAD-Housing Office, said: “Both AEMS and GBS attract exceptional lecturers and forward-thinking, astute students who are committed to a more sustainable future.


“AEMS draws in a global following among students of all ages and from all walks of life who are looking for a common solution to tackle financial uncertainty.


“It looks at alternatives to the current boom and bust economic cycle and explores the economy of the future and how it can adapt to balance some of the turmoil, strains and challenges of modern life.


“GBS is another international programme, which brings together passive house and sustainable, smart city expertise from across the globe to identify ways to make buildings more sustainable.


“It receives applications from students and professionals alike in the field of architecture and professions relating to the built environment, who want to learn how to develop new skills to design and build sustainable cities in an environment that includes workshops, lectures, fact-finding visits and insight from world-leading academics.”


The course cost for AEMS is €1390, while GBS is priced at €2,490 for professionals and €2,000 for students.


More details about both AEMS and GBS – including testimonials from 2017’s participants – can be found at


Places are limited and the deadline for applications for both programmes is 30 June, 2018.


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Does gender play a big part in the construction industry?

May 31st, 2018 No comments

According to research, one in five construction companies across Britain have no women in senior positions. With some industry professionals believing that ‘there is a definite prejudice against women’ in the construction industry, there appears to still be an inequality of opportunity for women.

Construction News reported that half of all construction companies have not had a woman lead the business, which is astonishing when gender equality is as at the forefront of our minds. What is even more striking is that, when asking the women who did work within the industry, 48% claimed they had experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, with the most common example of this (28%) being inappropriate comments or behaviour from male colleagues. These are figures that prove that the industry still needs to enforce more regulations to change attitudes towards women in the industry and encourage equality.

Not only that, but the gender pay gap is something that is presenting itself forward in the sector. Nearly half of construction companies (42%) do not monitor equal pay between gender in the business and 68% were not aware of any initiatives to support women transitioning into senior roles. Furthermore, according to Randstad, 79% of men believe they earn the same as their female colleagues in the same position. However, 41% of women disagree — highlighting the need for better pay transparency within the industry to dispel perceptions that men are earning more.

With a clear gender divide within the construction industry, Niftylift, work platform provider, explores how the industry can close the gender gap and improve diversity among construction roles. What does the future look like for women in construction?

The direction of the construction industry

Looking at the number of onsite workers, it was found that 99% of positions were accounted by men. Another figure that highlights the lack of gender diversity within the industry. Despite the figures, 93% of construction workers believe having a female boss would not affect their jobs, or would in fact have a positive effect by improving the working environment.

Randstad have said that by 2020, women will make up over 25% of the construction workforce here in the UK. If the industry intends on closing the skills gap, women could potentially hold the key. With the industry raising concerns that it is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, 82% of people working in construction agree that there is a serious skills shortage. If demand is expected to require an additional million extra workers by 2020, women could account for a significant portion of that — especially in senior roles, which have previously been bias towards their male colleagues.

Although, there has been some progress in the last few years which have witnessed more women take senior leadership roles. Back in 2005, there were just 6% of women in senior roles within the UK’s construction industry. However, fast forward to 2015, and this number had risen to 16% and is expected to continue to rise as we approach 2020.

It’s been found that similar progression is visible when it comes to women and promotions. Back in 2005, an unfortunate 79% of women in the industry were dissatisfied with the progression of their careers. However, fast forward again to 2015, and this number more than halved to just 29%, with some of this progression likely to be attributed to the fact that almost half of women in the industry (49%) believe their employer to be very supportive of women in construction.

Although the figures above are promising, there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to achieving gender equality. Ranstad also reports that there remains a tendency within the industry to exclude women from male conversations or social events, with 46% of females experiencing being sidelined. A further 28% said they had been offered a less important role and 25% reported being passed over for promotion.

There is no denying that progress is being made to help aid gender inequality, with 76% of women saying that would recommend a job in the industry to their female friend, daughter or niece. There was also a 60% increase in the average annual salary for women in the industry in the past decade from £24,500 in 2005 to £39,200 in 2015 But we still have a long way to go. Hopefully, by 2020, we can report further progress in the industry, making roles more attractive to females, and improving the gender diversity which could consequently prove to be a solution to the lack of skilled workers for the industry right now.

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May 29th, 2018 No comments

Chartered financial planners Willson Grange Limited will be relocating its headquarters from Hoylake on the Wirral to a new space on Liverpool’s waterfront.

The wealth management company has signed a 10-year lease of 10,500 sq. ft at No. 12 Princes Dock, Liverpool Waters.

The firm will be occupying space on both the third and fourth floor of the Grade A office building on Princes Dock, alongside neighbours including the international manufacturer Cargill, shipping group CMA CGM and global insurance broker Griffiths & Armour.

No. 12 Princes Dock is one of the most striking office buildings located at the waterfront based Liverpool Waters, and boasts stunning panoramic views of the River Mersey and a rooftop terrace. With some recent high profile moves, the five storey Grade A office space is now 93% let.

The news of Willson Grange’s move to Princes Dock is one many exciting announcements and developments at Liverpool Waters. This year is set to be the busiest yet for the £5 billion regeneration project, which recently broke ground on the £21 million residential building Plaza 1821 and announced plans for a brand-new heritage trial visitor centre at Collingwood Dock.

Stuart Willson, chief executive officer at Willson Grange, said:

“Relocating our headquarters to Princes Dock will signal a new and exciting phase in Willson Grange’s development. Occupying a space in the city centre of Liverpool will not only make us much more accessible to many of our clients but will also allow us to reach a much wider recruitment pool of the very best financial talent the city has to offer.

“We are delighted to be joining the many prestigious neighbours who already occupy many office buildings on the Princes Dock, and of course we are excited to witness the upcoming developments of the Liverpool Waters scheme, which will be happening right on our doorstep.”

Liza Marco, asset manager at Liverpool Waters, said:

“It is fantastic to see yet another successful and thriving local business choosing to relocate to Princes Dock. Businesses are seeing the advantages of being located in the city centre and the benefits that it brings in terms of welcoming new clients and team members. We’re encouraged to see so much interest in our number of office spaces across Liverpool Waters, and as we enter our next phase of development, we’re looking forward to seeing many more organisations join us on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront.”

To learn more about the Liverpool Waters Development project led by Peel Land and Property (Ports) Limited, please visit

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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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The sky’s the limit — Edinburgh Airport’s construction history

May 21st, 2018 Comments off

Edinburgh Airport started life as a small Royal Flying Corps aerodrome named Turnhouse in 1915 —the first commercial services weren’t launched until 1947.

But by the end of 2014 it exceeded the 10 million passenger mark — the busiest year ever for a Scottish airport.

And the hub’s transformation over the course of a century involved some fascinating civil engineering projects.

So it’s worth reviewing a few highlights from its construction history.

Control tower

Edinburgh’s stylish air traffic control tower opened in 2005 after taking a year to complete.

The 57-metre-high structure cost £10 million to complete and was designed by Reid Architecture, with Laing O’Rourke as principle construction partner.

Advocates of aesthetic design appreciate the award-winning tower’s sleek, stretched pepper-grinder silhouette.

But it’s also innovative — featuring a seven-metre diameter concrete circular core with service riser and stairs clad in diamond-shaped aluminium shingles.

A slide-out drawer in the first floor for removing and replacing technical equipment adds a final ingenious flourish.

Parking facilities

Edinburgh has also displayed innovation in terms of its parking facilities.

In 2004, owners BAA opened a new five-storey car park opposite the terminal building with a terminal walkway and 2000 additional spaces — rapidly reducing the time taken to enter and exit the main building.

The design has a one-way search to all floors, independent vertical circulation and payment areas kept separate from vehicle thoroughfares to protect pedestrians — features that helped it win Best New Car Park at the British Car Parking Awards in 2005.

Private firms also provide excellent secure parking options near Edinburgh Airport that further enhance its provision and offer drivers a range of long- and short-term options.

Terminal expansion

Over the past 10 years, Edinburgh has undertaken a comprehensive terminal expansion project aimed at increasing its capacity and making facilities more efficient and comfortable for customers.

The first stage of the project was completed in 2010 and involved the construction of a new departure lounge with a wider choice of bars, restaurants and retail outlets than previously available.

An initial £25 million terminal expansion plan was announced in 2013, which added 6000 square metres of additional space for passengers, shops and a security area — this was opened in 2015.

Finally, work on the new three-storey terminal building at Edinburgh began in early 2017, with BAM Construction awarded the contract for its first phase.

This latest addition is part of a wider £80 million investment that will futureproof the airport to cope with a significant projected rise in passenger numbers.

It’s also attempting to address environmental concerns by committing to a carbon trading system that lowers emissions in a sustainable way in the long-term.

Edinburgh Airport’s evolution closely shadows that of aviation itself — it’s moved from housing some of the first reconnaissance and fighter planes to gargantuan commercial models that carry passengers to far-flung destinations daily.

If it continues as an agile business, the sky’s the limit in terms of where it’s flights might carry passengers in another 100 years.

What’s your favourite airport construction project? Share your opinions in the comments section.

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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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Jones Bros wins retendered £14.5m Wigan Link road

May 17th, 2018 Comments off

North Wales contractor Jones Bros Ruthin (Civil Engineering) Co has secured the Wigan link road four years after plans were given the green light.

Wigan Council was forced to rebid the road scheme after initially awarding the design contract to Galliford Try in June 2015 but then failed to agree a final build price.

Jones Bros secured the 2.5km A49 Link Road project with a £14.5m bid.

The new dual carriageway will provide a new high-capacity route into Wigan town centre from the south of the borough

The proposed A49 Goose Green to Westwood Park Link Road project includes three major structures to bridge existing watercourses, canals and a primary road.

The upgrade scheme will improve two junctions along the A49 and pave the way for housing projects at Pemberton Park and Wigan Arc.

Work on the long-delayed project is now due to start in June.


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