Constructed by specialist reinforced concrete frame contractor PC Harrington, using 7,000 sq metre of Airodek and Alshor Plus, from formwork and falsework equipment provider, RMD Kwikform the £40m, 17 Storey, 135,000 sq metre reinforced concrete frame construction, is sited on the grounds of the existing hospital; the three block structure replacing the hospitals previously demolished facilities, some of which date back to when the hospital moved to its existing site in 1757, with two 17 storey and one 11 storey interlinking high-rise blocks.
Fortunately for PC Harrington, when its team was faced with working in unusually high winds that would have prevented the use of cranes to move traditional table style formwork around the site, due to the specification of the new system from RMD Kwikform, work could carry on through this elongated period of bad weather.
This was made possible thanks to the lightweight aluminium construction of Alshor Plus and Airodek, that enabled PC Harrington operatives to transport it from floor to floor using scissor lifts and specially constructed apertures. These apertures were purposely designed into the construction of the slabs to allow the easy transportation of the Alshor Plus and Airodek equipment to the next floor, enabling the teams of erection staff to continue working safely on the project. Tony: “If we had not used this system from RMD Kwikform, the consequences of having to stop work would have been considerable. As we were the first contractor on-site, any delay in our programme would affect the other contractors and ultimately delay the whole delivery of the project.”
Working with RMD Kwikform’s engineering team, who designed all of the equipment layouts for the construction of every floor in each of the three blocks, PC Harrington formed three teams to deal with the formwork side of the job. Additional teams were then used to perform the delivery of the concrete, with up to 350 staff onsite at any one time. With a total of 1,300 cubic metres or 186 concrete truck loads of standard concrete mix poured each week, a strategic approach was needed for the delivery of concrete to site. This was compounded by the limited available access, which was only possible through a small side road that could be used within controlled times, due to the site’s residential location.
Tony: “The limited access and required concrete volumes meant that we had to guarantee that the soffit support equipment was in-situ, for us to place the concrete. It was therefore essential that our teams were able to erect enough of the Alshor Plus and Airodek equipment to cope with concrete delivery. It was for this reason that we worked closely with RMD Kwikform to make sure that all of our staff undertook product familiarisation training to ensure safe working practices were adhered to and high levels of productivity achieved.
“Because we were working with a modular system we were then able to calculate the daily productivity of each individual. With the first two floors of each block being 5.5 metres in height compared to 3 metres for the additional floors, a different size of Alshor Plus leg and the addition of a jack had to be used, in order to achieve the particular slab height for the construction.
As the first major contractor on-site, PC Harrington were able to bring in all of the equipment needed to form each floor on each of the three blocks, before any other equipment was needed onsite. In addition to the delivery of the RMD Kwikform equipment a number of mobile elevated working platforms were obtained to be used to erect the system. Tony: “Our number one priority on any job, but particularly with high rise contracts is safety and the safe working at height of our operatives. This is why as part of our move to use RMD Kwikform equipment, we have also now adopted the use of mobile elevated working platforms or ‘mewps’ as they are commonly known.
“We have therefore replaced jobs that used to use ladders with mewp units. This has proved to be particularly successful with the placement and removal of the Airodek panels. Using the quick release mechanism built into the Alshor Plus system, a lone operator working with a mewp can single-handedly erect or dismantle an 1800mm x 900mm panel in a matter of seconds, moving quickly to the next section using the mewp controls. Commenting on the deal and the use of Alshor Plus and Airodek, RMD Kwikform project manager, Neil Thomas said: “ From the positive experience PC Harrington had with Alshor Plus and Airodek on a previous project, it made sense for them to use the equipment for the Royal London Hospital project.
By specifying the product combination as its ‘system of choice’ for high-rise and large slab construction work, they know that because it is a relatively new system, they will be able to replenish and increase stocks whenever needed. As part of our ongoing relationship with PC Harrington, RMD Kwikform will also be providing continued support for future projects that use the equipment, forming a partnership style approach to soffit support.
“From a management point of view this is a major plus for a site foreman and one which has received praise from the teams on-site at the Royal London. Essentially the system designed by our engineers at RMD Kwikform is like a giant jigsaw, using various off the shelf components to allow for the construction of slabs up to 450mm thick. In this case the floor slabs were specified at a thickness of 325 mm and 400 mm.
Tony added: “When you are dealing with the delivery of such a large reinforced concrete frame in a short programme time, the success of the project depends heavily on getting the right support and interaction with your suppliers. When you have confidence in the abilities of the people you are dealing with it makes a huge difference that can not be underestimated.
“For our clients, they need to know they are buying into our expertise and experience. Therefore in order to position ourselves as the concrete frame contractor of choice, we invest heavily in our people and benefit a great deal from having long term relationships with our suppliers, right through our operations, as it is this approach that makes modern site management successful.”
Tony continued: “As a flagship project, it is the relationship with our RMD Kwikform project manager, that has provided the all important link between our team on site and RMD Kwikform’s design and supply chain. “Working through Neil we have been able to pick up on equipment requirements and tweak designs to become more efficient. We have also been able to have full traceability of equipment movement, damage and replacement allowing us to confirm compliance to our environmental and Health and Safety obligations.”