Delivering Drainage Europe’s Tallest Building

The team in charge of installing the drainage pipework in London’s Shard skyscraper faced a number of supply and logistical challenges.

When the main structure of the Shard was completed in July, it became Europe’s tallest building.

The skyscraper, designed by Italian architect Reno Piano to look like a shard of glass, stands 1,016 feet tall and has already become a London landmark.

It will have 1.4 million square feet of office space, a hotel, apartments, restaurants, and viewing galleries.

All of that space requires drainage systems and other services to function on a daily basis.

Mace MEP hired DGR Mechanical Services to supply and install chilled water, condenser water, low temperature hot water heating, hot and cold water, gas, rainwater systems, public health services, and, most importantly, drainage throughout the Shard’s core and shell.

DGR chose Wolseley UK as its supply partner for public health services, with its Drain Center branch in Brimsdown providing all cast iron and domestic copper pipework and components. The remaining copper and stainless steel pipes were supplied by the London City Pipe Center branch, which recently relocated to Surrey Quays.

“We already had a good working relationship with Drain Center,” said Andy Dolan, project director at DGR Mechanical Services. “We wanted to choose a supply partner based on service, not just price.”

“Stock availability was one of our key criteria and the main reason we chose Wolseley and Drain Center for a building of this size.” When we need parts that are a little bit different, we know we can rely on their specialised expertise and stock.”

Working in the heart of London presented the project team with some practical challenges. The Shard is located in a particularly congested area of London, close to London Bridge station, a hospital, and a bustling bus station. “Because of its extremely confined footprint, the site has presented a logistical challenge,” Dolan explains.

“Due to space constraints, no materials could be stored on site, and deliveries had to be planned and scheduled at specific times because there is only one road in and out.” As a result, we required a supply partner who could be flexible in terms of delivery and storage.

“Wolseley was able to offer us a branch just around the corner where we could store materials if necessary, as well as tailoring deliveries to suit the required times.”

“The significant logistical challenges of building the Shard have required innovation at every stage of the build process,” said Dave Hodgson, southern sales manager for Drain Center. We are honoured to have been a part of such a well-known and successful construction project.

“When DGR approached us about the project, we were eager to help, tailoring our deliveries to meet the unique requirements of one of the country’s largest pipework packages.”

“Materials deliveries had to be carefully coordinated on a tight time frame without disrupting commuters or hospital visitors.” This included deliveries in the middle of the night and on bank holidays.”

“We’re delighted that, working together with Wolseley UK, we were able to deliver such a challenging, exciting, and successful project,” Dolan said.

Last Updated on December 30, 2021


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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