Paul McGibbon got this 106m-tall residential tower built through dogged perseverance in challenging circumstances. Logistics, access and buildability were all fundamentally threatened by the building footprint entirely filling the site in a busy city centre location. Cheek-by-jowl proximity to railways and stations, two other projects operating on adjacent sites (with all three contractors sharing the same site entrance), and a major three-lane one-way highway running alongside the site boundary demanded a project leader with exceptional cooperation and communication skills.
As if the site constraints were not difficult enough, Paul had to deal with serious unforeseen issues. A crane leak spattering mineral oil over two facades of installed cladding required the programme-slowing replacement of all mastic joints to the precast columns.
Even worse, the foundations failed. With 450mm CFA piles chosen for the foundations on problematic ground, the pile breakdown operation revealed necking and soft cores all the way down, and half the piles failed subsequent design load tests. It left him with little option but to discard the work already done, install 1050mm piles, and revert to a full raft foundation, incurring hefty extra cost and a nine-month delay.
Calm and focused, Paul ran different programme scenarios and tracked the dates by which key decisions needed to be made. He found ways to mitigate enough of the delay to remain within the project’s long-stop date – its absolute deadline.
Setbacks, indeed, but they do little to distract from his achievement in erecting this tower with zero incident. He adopted unfamiliar techniques with great success. They included slipforming to construct the core (because of limited storage onsite) – which also allowed the site’s single tower crane (with its hook time worth gold) to be installed on the roof at the earliest opportunity without being jacked up through the building – and climbing formwork to wrap the floors around the building.