Menu Search projects

A very lofty ambition

An attempt to build the tallest building in Western Europe on top of one of the busiest stations in London. This describes the scale of the challenge Mace faced when appointed by Sellar Property Group to deliver The Shard.

A race to the top

Described as a “vertical city”, The Shard stands at 310 metres tall and when the project began, no one in the UK had ever worked at that height before. Add to this a tight timescale of 38 months and this meant the team was forced to re-think the basic principles of construction and use innovative techniques. This included the first ever use of top down construction for a core, the UK’s largest ever concrete pour, the UK’s first use of jump-lift construction, the first inclined hoist in the world, and the first crane to ever be supported on top of a slipform. To make the delivery truly innovative, our vision was to maximise prefabrication and offsite assembly, this included 80% of the mechanical and electrical services and notably, the 800-piece glass and steel, 500-tonne, 66-metre high steel spire. 3D modelling was also used to help plan the installation efficiently.

“People didn’t think we could do it but it’s been delivered in style. No longer can people say: ‘Mace aren’t willing to take some risk’. Overnight we quashed that comment and lifted Mace into the very top of the premier league of contractors”

Stephen Pycroft
Executive Chairman, Mace

Higher, faster, safer

We put together a set of health and safety processes including a specific high-rise induction programme. Regular safety audits and inspections, safety forums, and an incentive scheme were also introduced. The project recorded a period of 2.45 million RIDDOR-free hours in the over eight million hours worked between 2009 and 2012, and has since become an exemplar case study for the delivery of high rise buildings.

The team who scaled The Shard

The success of The Shard can be celebrated by all those involved, and is still being celebrated as our role on the skyscraper continues. This year we were proud to complete the fit out of Al Jazeera’s new UK premises in this iconic building.

“I am immensely proud that throughout the challenges, we remained true to the original vision of creating a vertical city, with multiple and different occupiers. Today The Shard is a living, dynamic building, full of energy, and a beacon for modern London”

Irvine Sellar
Developer and Joint Owner of The Shard

Key facts


Share this page