Construction workers face a number of challenges, especially in the delivery of tall buildings. Restrictive regulations, inner-city logistics and unexpected weather can all cause delays. Working at height can also be challenging, and providing ease of access and safe working conditions to teams is paramount to project success. Now, with more towers than ever before in London’s construction pipeline, contractors are looking for solutions. The answer? An emerging, high-tech jump form system known as M-TECH, which represents a significant advance in the tower construction process. M-TECH has been developed by Multiplex, an international contractor with a focus on sustainable growth, and it facilitates the faster, safer construction of tower frames. Multiplex initially piloted M-TECH in Dubai, but the company is now successfully using the system in London. At Twentytwo, a 62-storey tower in London’s financial district, M-TECH is helping Multiplex to build upward faster and safer than ever before. “The M-TECH system on Twentytwo is the most advanced jump form I have ever worked with. It has delivered unrivaled quality and outstanding efficiency through its innovative access platforms and independent jacking equipment,” Twentytwo Project Director John McCallion said. “It has delivered a 62-storey concrete core without a single lost-time injury.” When complete, Twentytwo will provide 1.3M SF of office space and 100K SF of amenities.
M-TECH’s jacking system uses electronically controlled screw jacks that sit on top of the under-construction core of a building, instead of hydraulic rams on the inside of the core. This means the rig can climb when the concrete has achieved as little as 24 hours’ concrete strength — alternate jump form systems can require much greater strength — which, at Twentytwo, has saved a full day per cycle. The system can be climbed, levelled and ready for the next cycle in less than two hours. M-TECH also incorporates a bespoke design process that allows the rig to be loaded with a greater volume of materials than other jump form systems. At Twentytwo, this means that only one two-hour crane loading window is required per week. This makes progress far less crane-dependent, increasing programme certainty. This strategy is particularly beneficial in London, where cranes are regularly taken out of service due to high winds. The M-TECH system creates a safer, more controlled and spacious workspace with no open edges. The M-TECH workspace is less congested than other jump forms because the jacks only take up vertical space, which means all operations are contained within the working area. By using M-TECH to construct the RC core at Twentytwo, Multiplex has shortened construction cycles, reduced crane dependency, increased worker efficiency and created a safer work environment. In addition to making the construction site a safer and more enjoyable place to work, M-TECH has allowed the team at Twentytwo to take maximum advantage of jump lift technology — using a self-climbing elevator for transporting construction staff and materials through the partially completed lift shafts and up to the finished floor levels. Using this jump lift technology alongside the M-TECH system facilitates progressive use of completed sections of the lift shaft more efficiently than conventional jump form systems. M-TECH allows for easier access to the lift core shafts, and the M-TECH work platform provides integrated weather protection to the jump lift technology beneath. Unexpected weather challenges could otherwise lead to unsafe working conditions and delays in delivery, but the jump lift system at Twentytwo can hoist materials and personnel up and down beneath the M-TECH work platform without outside exposure. This keeps the team safe and dry and protects materials from any weather-related damage. This integrated approach to lift installation has allowed Multiplex to make time savings of between 30 and 60 minutes per day, per employee. As Multiplex continues working on major projects in London and around the world, the team is looking at innovative ways to use new technology to increase efficiency and solve construction challenges.