70 St Mary Axe

Project brief

70 St Mary Axe is also known as the ‘Can of Ham’ building due its semi-elliptical design: the lower levels of 70 St Mary Axe have a smaller surface area than the middle floors, which are the largest. As the building goes further up, the floor sizes decrease again, with the cladding wrapping the whole building and meeting at the top. On the roof, two butterfly doors allow a cleaning cradle to emerge spectacularly from the building, avoiding the need to compromise its distinctive shape.

Creating this arched steel frame - which is the stand out feature of this iconic building right next to The Gherkin - was technically challenging for the steelworkers on the build. This is why existing client VBH (a joint venture between Hollandia and Victor Buyck) brought on board Mane to source the skilled talent needed to build the 24 storey structure.

Mane called on its impressive talent network to source and supply contractors for the entire project. The consultancy was responsible for providing general labour, which was all sourced locally, as well as site management and the steel package. Mane supplied individuals from the time the first bolts went in the floor until the building topped out to erect the complete steel frame and cladding.

The greatest challenge on this project was the fact that it ran concurrently with the Newfoundland build – another steel framed skyscraper which was being erected in the East of the city. Mane had to source the required volume of professionals with the same skill sets: up to 50 staff on site at any one time during the nine months start to finish. Despite also providing labour for Newfoundland, Mane stepped up to the plate.

Steel erectors are an ageing workforce, with relatively few individuals coming in to the profession. There simply aren’t enough people. To overcome these poor talent pipelines, Mane worked with its partners to support young professionals with the training required for them to achieve the relevant cards and tickets. This not only assisted with the availability of skills for this particular project, but also helped to strengthen the local and national talent pool for the future.

Overall, the client was very impressed with Mane’s level of service delivery on this contract, and the brands continue to partner with each other today.

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