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Best Innovation: Winner

Winner: Mace – Rising Factory

The judges were blown away with Mace’s entry this year in what was a very competitive category.

The company’s Rising Factory is a steel-framed enclosure with gantry cranes operating inside it, built around the parameters of a conventional tower block footprint.

Weighing 630 tonnes, the enclosure sits on four corner columns with a special bracket fitted onto each column. These brackets are attached to the enclosure using 75 mm bolts, with a hydraulic jack located above a small metal plate atop each bracket.

The ‘factory’ climbs up the building as the structure and facade are built within it. As it rises, a completed shell and core emerge from the bottom. Once a floor is complete, the bracket moves up and the factory jumps up a floor, locking onto the next bracket.

Encasing the construction site completely, this approach allows for work to take place in a more controlled and safer environment.

The ‘cocooning method’ used by the factory eradicates many of the dangers seen on traditional sites, such as working from height.

It enables the installation of cladding, often seen as one of the most hazardous parts of construction, to be delivered in a contained environment. Having a watertight construction area means contractors do not have to wait for cladding to be installed before starting work.

The sheltered environment also ensures gantry cranes can load, unload and return a container back to the ground in strong winds, improving programme certainty and the safety of transferring materials and waste.

“This is clearly an ingenious development that will be used on more and more sites in the coming years”

Judges’ comment

Mace has estimated that the Rising Factory can make construction 25 per cent faster, reduce vehicle movements by 30 per cent and cut waste by 75 per cent.

The approach is already being employed successfully by Mace on its delivery of the East Village Building in east London. Its use on this scheme has saved more than 1,000 tonnes of steel and 11,000 cu m of concrete, the contractor reports.

Bringing together advancements in offsite and prefabrication technology, the judging panel said it expects to see other contractors follow Mace’s example.

Judges described the Rising Factory approach as an “ingenious development” that is likely to be increasingly adopted across the industry in the next few years.

Mace should be rightly proud of this innovation, they added, praising the firm as an industry leader in this field.

The Rising Factory was deemed an outstanding winner of the Best Innovation award, representing a new way of constructing buildings faster, safer and more efficiently.

Finalists

  • Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering – Single Guidewall and Cantilevered Equipment for Diaphragm Wall Construction
  • Doka UK Formwork Technologies – Dokadek Systemised Hand-Set Slab Panel
  • Gas Safe Europe – Detectagas
  • Glazesafe – Stronghold Bridge
  • J Murphy and Sons – Innovating the Cable Laying Process
  • Lucas – Lucas Innovations
  • Van Elle Rail – The Track Bed Stabilisation Smartpile and the SPIRIT RRV Mast

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