Padraig Delaney, London Regional Manager for Digital Construction at Sir Robert McAlpine, sees The Forge as a model for how we can deliver future projects:
The innovation-led approach taken by Landsec has allowed us to push the boundaries with our use of technology. The more data we have, the better our decision making. But it’s also important we have the right tools to help us get the most from the data. By driving these digital solutions, as we have done at The Forge, we’re transforming the way we deliver future projects, identifying the value to each stakeholder and ultimately providing the best value for our clients.
Designed for ground-breaking sustainability
Our and Landsec’s ambition is to make the Forge the UK's first net zero carbon commercial building: specifically, the first UK office building that is net zero carbon in both construction and operation according to the UK Green Building Council's net zero carbon buildings framework. They're also aiming for BREEAM Excellent; and the building's designed in such a way that they'll be able to seek WELL accreditation later on, once it's fully fitted out.
The P-DfMA approach we're following on the project comes with a host of sustainability benefits: most significantly, it makes material use a lot more efficient, so less is wasted. Already embodied carbon in the building has been reduced by 19.4%, thanks partly to a concrete mix containing 40% GGBS, a highly sustainable cement replacement. And, unusually for an office development, both steel and concrete take a structural role in the building's superstructure, with a prefabricated steel frame and concrete filled Comflor beams, poured in situ replacing the secondary steelwork. This hybrid superstructure combines the benefits of the reduced weight and speed of erection of steel frame and the cost effectiveness and visual aesthetic of concrete. It uses less material than traditional methods and is built to higher tolerances. The slabs are poured using reusable temporary formwork, eliminating the need for permanent secondary steelwork so that, again, fewer materials are needed to construct the building.
The propping system that's been developed to support the temporary works before, during and after the concrete pour is also reusable: the props are removed about ten days after a pour and used on the floors above. The innovative diagonal design of the props takes the load from the concrete above through the building frame, so there's no need for traditional back-propping – which means that the slabs below are freed up for more construction work.
With four other major construction projects going on in the area, and concerned neighbours overlooking the site, we're working hard to build good relationships in the community. We've joined the Bankside Consortium, a forum for all the contractors operating in the area to discuss how we can reduce the impact of what we're doing on local people and the environment.
Neil Pennell, Head of Design Innovation and Property Solutions at Landsec, comments on the impact The Forge is set to have on the industry:
“The Forge is setting new industry standards for sustainable and cost-effective construction. The pioneering approach we have taken to design and construction will transform how offices are built in the future. Our experiences over the next year at the capital’s most innovative construction site will shape the way we approach future projects and change the industry for the better.
Sir Robert McAlpine’s team of experts have already demonstrated how passionate they are about The Forge and bringing our vision to life. I look forward to continuing our partnership with them, on this very exciting project.”
Challenging the industry norm
The innovation on the project is wide ranging with a real drive to be a catalyst for change in the industry. We are delivering the project as the Manufacturing and Assembly Managers (MAM) in a joint venture with Mace, so that the client gets the combined benefit of two forward looking industry leading construction companies to deliver what is a disruptive project.
The Forge has been selected by UKRI Innovate UK as a Demonstrator project for the Government's Transforming Construction Challenge, pioneering a Platforms approach for more productive and sustainable automated builds.
All aspects of the project have challenged the industry norm to explore alternative approaches. This includes design and procurement, with the multi-disciplinary input of BWT taking design to RIBA Stage 5 for structural and cladding elements, which have then been procured as separate supply and installation packages.
Richard Sansom, Landsec, Project Manager for The Forge, appreciates the work being done by the team:
“We want to lead the sector in the adoption of new methods and technologies. However, the real value in innovation lies in its practical execution. As with anything being done for the first time there are always going to be challenges along the way but we are in a great position to handle these thanks to the experienced and expert team working with us.”
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