A screen that can ‘promote’ buildings during construction has been used for the first time in the UK on an apartments tower.
RMD Kwikform’s Ascent safety screen dramatically reduced the programme time at the 25-storey residential block in Canada Water, London.
The mixed-use Ontario Point building, constructed by Atlantic Contracts, is part of the Maple Quays development by Barratt Homes. At the heart of the scheme, the tower block is the first high-rise structure in the UK to use Ascent during construction and allows Barratt to promote the complex to potential buyers with a huge printed screen.
At the same time, operatives working for contractor Atlantic Contracts, which is building the concrete frame, have been protecting the public from falling construction debris by constructing a complete seal around the building. With multiple layers of redundancy, stopping items falling from one floor to the next, the Ascent system has also provided workers with protection from high winds, allowing Atlantic to complete construction of each floor in nearly half the programme time.
The contractor’s project engineer, Kevin Dennehy, explained: “Due to close proximity of the site to Canada Water underground and bus station, the RMD Kwikform Ascent screen system was brought on to site to secure the building for safety purposes. The system has worked extremely well, providing a safe, sheltered working environment for our operatives. By the nature of its design, we can achieve a completely sealed wrap around the whole building, protecting the public below.
“Having had previous experience of the Ascent system on another project in Kings Cross, we recognised the benefits of pre-assembly and adopted that same method for this project. RMD Kwikform were able to delivery pre-assembled units to the site, which we could simply unload and lift into place.
“From a site safety and storage perspective, this was a major benefit and commercially it reduced the need for labour onsite.”
At the tender stage, Atlantic and RMD worked with Barratt to develop the system and graphics for the panels, designing a ‘moving billboard in the sky’.
Danny Masters, project manager for Barratt Homes East London, added: “Obviously with any development of this type in the city of London, we look to maximise the publicity for the project at the time of building, whilst ensuring it is constructed to the highest quality and safety standards. When we were looking to appoint a contractor for the concrete frame, Atlantic were very proactive in showing us how we could use the new Ascent product to both promote and protect the site.
“Having a huge billboard in the sky that climbs with the building and promotes it to a live audience was a golden opportunity that we could not miss. Coupled with the added safety features for the site, which creates a ‘working platform in the sky’ the proposition from Atlantic and RMD Kwikform was very powerful.”
Masters continued: “As an added benefit, we have seen a dramatic increase in the cycle times for the construction of each floor, something that we did not expect. Because the Ascent screen covers three floors, one for the working lifts and also the two prop lifts below, this has allowed the Atlantic team to construct the lift above, but also have the safety element of the two lifts below when the formwork is being struck.”
The original cycle time for the tower was programmed for two weeks per floor but Atlantic and RMD worked together during the specification and design phases to make slight changes to the Ascent system and developed modifications that allowed the cycle time to be reduced from two weeks to just over a week per floor.
Images – RMD Kwikform UK’s engineering director, Ian Fryer, said: “The Ascent system has been designed with city centre locations in mind. For example, in London you are dealing with some of the largest high-rise projects in the UK, in a very congested environment. By being able to design a system that can be pre-assembled and tested in factory conditions before being shipped to site, the performance and safety features are enhanced dramatically, as there is no room for human error.
“This approach allows for just-in-time delivery and an enhanced construction management process, with crane and staff utilisation optimised at designated times. Being a new product to the market, we have also been able to see what kind of impact the system is having on reducing programme time. By working with Atlantic we have been able to support them in achieving some dramatic reductions in cycle times for this project.
“The feedback from the construction team has also been very positive, particularly when the concrete frame reached the upper levels.”