A Channel Four TV documentary about building of Europe’s tallest building – The Shard in London – has demonstrated the contribution made to the project by spider cranes supplied by Hird.
The programme was broadcast on Wednesday May 2 – and told the story of the construction of the pyramid shaped tower, which rises from its base next to London Bridge Station in Southwark to a height of 310 metres, or 1,020 ft.
The tower has 72 habitable floors and is clad in 11,000 glass panels. Every one of them is being lifted into place using UNIC URW 295 spider cranes, supplied by Hull-based Hird, from its Southern Depot in Redhill, Surrey.
Managing Director Phil Hird said: “We’ve been involved in the project since the cladding operation began on May 25 2010. The documentary was excellent and showed just what an exciting and impressive the Shard project is.
“At one point, we had nine UNIC 295 spider cranes working on site. The project is now nearing completion but we still have two machines there. We have been sole supplier of spider cranes for glass handling.
“The Shard has been very important for us. It’s the probably the most prestigious project we’ve worked on and it has given us the opportunity to open our Southern Depot which has been a significant development for the company.
“Despite the scale of the project, our involvement has gone very smoothly. Feedback from the client has been excellent. We are very proud to be involved.”
Hird now supplies a range of plant, including access platforms, mini cranes and glass lifting equipment, from three sites – the Northern Depot (and head office) in Hull, the Central Depot in Doncaster and the Southern Depot, which primarily serves Greater London.
The C4 documentary, The Tallest Tower: Building the Shard, showed how the UNIC 295 is being used to lift and position the 300 kg triple glazed window panels, with their specially-hardened aluminium frames.
The spider crane lifts each panel, then an abseil team moves it into its final position and bolts it into the building’s steel frame. The Shard’s frame was topped out on March 30. The final glass panels will be fixed in place over the coming weeks.
Phil Hird said: “The UNIC 295 was perfect for the job because it has plenty of lifting capacity and can operate in the tight and unusual spaces you find 50 storeys up a sky scraper under construction.
“It is compact enough to then be quickly and easily moved up a level as each floor is completed. As the documentary made clear, the Shard’s financial model requires work to be done according to an exacting schedule and that applies to glass handling as much as it does to every other aspect of the project.”
When completed, The Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, will have offices on 26 floors, a hotel on 18 floors and apartments on 12 floors. There will also be an open air public observatory on floors 68 to 72.
For more information on the services Hird offers, please visit: www.hird.co.uk or call: 01482 227333 .