Separated from the Gherkin (its fellow contributor to the nickname picnic) only by the Baltic Exchange, the Can of Ham represents a tasty addition to the St Mary Axe cityscape smorgasbord by a construction manager at the peak of his powers. To build it as successfully as he did, Nick Moore coupled an extensive knowledge of buildability, sequencing, productivity and design with common sense, a no-nonsense approach to problem solving and out-of-the-box thinking.
The technical challenges were immense. The scheme involved excavating three deep basements on a tight island site in the middle of one of the capital’s busiest locations and constructing a 100m-high semi-elliptical superstructure on top to deliver over 300,000sqft of prime office space. All without disturbing the archaeology, and handing it over safely, on budget and to a tight programme. Nick delivered the lot.
Inheriting a nine-year-old design, with the project delayed by the financial crash and land purchase issues, Nick greatly improved on the quality, speed of delivery, use of site space and reduction in site-generated waste by essentially building the project in the factory. Prefabrication was his great ally, applied to flat-pack toilet panels, service risers and heat interface units, and most of the main plant items (including chiller units, fire pump sets, generators and air handling units).
His preference for prefabrication even extended to making the slipform components (lift shafts, staircases, risers and toilets) and rig off site and assembling them on site. Having chosen slipform for accuracy and speed, he continuously monitored its delivery of the core using optical plumbs – a quest for precision that was rewarded with a deviation of less than 20mm over the full 100m height of the building.
Nick planned and built the structure with modelling software, which he also used as the project’s ultimate communication tool. A series of workshops attended by the entire project team shared the sequence and methodology of the build, using 4D video and 3D modelling. It allowed the programme to be streamlined and theoretically built many times over until all parties agreed, were happy with the plans, and understood each other’s programme and interfaces.
And that collaborative ethos was underpinned by Nick. He integrated his own team superbly with the client, design, cost and management teams that had already been working together for a considerable time. As a result, he achieved the one team, one culture, one goal, one project ambition proclaimed on so many site office walls. It doesn’t get better than this.