Given Anthony Blackledge’s love for innovation and progress, he was the ideal man to lead this first UK implementation of Mace’s ‘rising factory’, with the construction of two residential tower blocks in the former Olympic Village in east London.
Each 630-tonne steel-framed factory is fitted with two remote-controlled gantry cranes and uses hydraulic jacks at its four corners to lift itself up the building as the entire structure and facade is built within. Once a floor is complete, the factory jumps up a floor, locking onto the next jack-supporting bracket. Among other benefits, the self-climbing independently supported formwork slashes crane time, materials and transport requirements. At peak output, Tony built 18 storeys in just 18 weeks, and ultimately delivered a defect-free building of excellent quality 13 weeks faster than with a traditional build. Zero snags at client occupation is an exceptional achievement.
Tony led monthly collaborative programme workshops to plan the works and create a feedback loop for continual enhancements to the installation cycle. To drive understanding of the approach and align all trades agendas, he led detailed lean workshops to set out the optimum activity sequence, the logistics interfaces, and the carefully orchestrated delivery requirements and sequences. It was undoubtedly helped by his creation of a spirit of openness, honesty and teamwork, and ensuring all project stakeholders could interact and get involved in the work throughout the project lifecycle.
Standards of quality and finish were underpinned during manufacture and assembly with engineering levels of tolerance. Obvious high points include exposed concrete finishes on staircases, a specialised facade of thermally efficient glass, GRP external columns and beams, aluminium and bronze fins, and handmade brickwork.
His organisation, quick thinking and ability to rally the team solved critical issues fast. His personal commitment, skilful management, strong leadership and powerful problem solving added value at every stage.