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Quality eye on The Shard

Survey expertise from Fugro has played a part ‘ground up’ in the construction of The Shard, London’s latest iconic landmark and, at 310m, Western Europe’s tallest building.
Reflecting the breadth of engineering and geotechnical capability within the company, Fugro provided initial ground investigations to enable foundation design and construction at the complex and congested site. This was followed by further surveys to support the exacting construction quality of The Shard’s 95 storey superstructure.
Principal contractor, Mace, has been rigorous in assuring the precision of The Shard’s sleek architecture. It called on Fugro structures experts to survey and to confirm technical aspects of critical elements as this ‘vertical city’ in London Bridge Quarter has taken shape.
Below ground level, Fugro carried out ground penetrating radar (GPR) to identify potential voids behind the secant piled walls. The radar data helped to target exploratory coring, also undertaken by Fugro, to corroborate findings and pinpoint areas for effective treatment. Following water prevention treatment, more GPR surveys were carried out to check grouting integrity and to confirm that residual moisture had been eliminated, as a final reassurance of basement performance.

The focus on build quality and precision continued above ground, with the project team relying on GPR data to verify dimensional detail as the post-tensioned concrete floors of the tower went up. Fugro carried out scans of selected floors where a combination of complex construction detail and proximity of essential service openings to known post-tensioned tendons made it worthwhile scanning to check the exact tendon position before coring.

Simon Brightwell, head of Fugro’s structural investigations division, said: “Although the client recorded all tendon positions as the floors were cast, they also commissioned high resolution scanning to double-check tendon locations. This provided full confidence that no tendons would be threatened, benefiting construction quality and safety.”

Fugro survey teams provided results on the spot to facilitate construction progress, following up with reports and drawings. This subsurface check avoided snags and helped to keep the building programme on track. The Shard’s structure was completed in 38 months, on budget and on schedule.

Designed by master architect, Renzo Piano, and developed by Sellar, The Shard will provide a mix of building use that is unique in a European high rise context. It comprises offices, 5 star hotel, viewing galleries, bars and restaurants and exclusive residences, totalling approximately 900,000 sq ft.

The View from The Shard officially opens on 1 February this year and the range of new restaurants, bars and hotel will be opening in The Shard in 2013.