On Tuesday Mace held a topping out ceremony for the fourth tallest building in the City of London. Mace operations director Nick Moore talks Alasdair Reisner through the job.
You've got a pretty tight site at 51 Lime Street. How difficult has it been to get the job running smoothly?
It has been going pretty well. It was never going to be an easy job. As a high-rise we have been impacted by the weather, particularly wind, which means we haven't always been able to work when we wanted to, so getting all of the materials we needed to the top has been interesting. We are slightly behind programme, but we are at the top now.
Have there been any other challenges?
We were also hit by the demise of cladding firm Schmidlin, although not as much as you might have thought. We were due to get the cladding in April and we had it by August. It's a very sophisticated system, so to have it by August when Schmidlin's collapse had come completely out of the blue was impressive.
How did you manage that?
It was a team approach. We worked with developers Stanhope, British Land and architect Foster and Partners to make sure we got it right. We had to make decisions quickly.
Mero TSK took on what was left of Schmidlin's work. It was something of a leap of faith to work with them although we checked it out as closely as we could. We had to make sure they could get the speed and reliability we expected from the Schmidlin product.
For tunately they were able to achieve this.
Other than the cladding, everything appears to have run pretty smoothly. Why do you think that was?
We have made it work by keeping things simple. We have introduced things like concretefilled columns, where we put steel around the columns and filled them with concrete, which could be done off-site.
All the tenant has to do is come on site and paint them.
We also had pre-cut decking, which has gone very well. The steelwork has come together well and we have had minimal problems with lining and levelling. That really helped with the interface between the frame and the cladding.
So it's all plain sailing now?
There is a great deal still to do.
At the forefront of our thinking is the cladding. We want to have the building fully clad before the onset of winter.
There is a possibility that at a high level it may be exposed but we can put in temporary measures to deal with that. We are looking for the tenant to start fit-out works in the first quarter of next year. They will be working from the ground floor up and once we have the cladding on there's no reason they can't do that while we continue to work higher up.