Milton Court development
The Milton Court Development, situated in central London, is currently being constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine. Working in the tight confinements of London can pose many unique challenges, so Industry Image took the opportunity to ask how they have overcome these, and how incorporating the Scheme into the project has helped.
Please can you describe the project you are working on?
The Milton Court development comprises two major projects. Containing 285 luxury apartments and standing 110m tall, The Heron tower is the largest residential development in the City of London for more than 30 years. The tower rises over a new annexe to the renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama which will provide state-of-the-art teaching, training and performance spaces including a 609-seat concert hall and a 225-seat drama theatre.
How have you incorporated the Scheme into your site?
We share with the Scheme the same aspirations and values. Details of the Scheme and its Code of Considerate Practice are explained to all our site staff and workforce initially through their site induction, with each individual being given a personal pocket-sized leaflet detailing the Code. Posters, banners and flags are sited at key locations to ensure our workforce and the public are reminded of our commitment to and compliance with the Scheme.
A dedicated Considerate Constructors Scheme Champion coordinates the Scheme on site, raising awareness through toolbox talks, distributing feedback on our progress and awards won, and ensuring every member of the team is able to take pride in what we have achieved together.
We believe transparency is essential and ensure that the CCS phone number is visible for the public should they prefer to contact the Scheme directly rather than speak to a site representative. Whenever or however any issue arises, our aim is always to ensure it is resolved quickly and to the satisfaction of all parties. Our ability to successfully handle and close out any issues has been remarked on by the CCS and is something we are very proud of.
We provide our CCS Monitors with a pre-prepared report summarising our initiatives, and work with them to review our performance and discuss our future progress.
Since the beginning of the project, what challenges have you faced?
The challenge has been not only to construct a 110m high-rise development on a 'postage stamp' size site of just 40m x 50m, but to do so in one of the most highly sensitive commercial and residential areas within the City of London.
The complexities involved are compounded by the fact that the building footprint runs right up to the surrounding carriageways, there is limited access for deliveries and little or no lay-down space.
The sensitivity of the project's location meant that site working hours were strictly restricted to 08:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday and 09:00 – 14:00 on Saturdays. Within these times the site also had to implement quiet periods from 10:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 16:00 during which certain noisy activities were prohibited. Further to this both environmental noise and vibration limits were set which commercial and residential neighbours were able to view.
The construction of any high-rise development poses its challenges, but for a project of this nature to be undertaken on such a sensitive and constrained site has pushed the logistics of lateral and vertical resources movements to new boundaries.
How have you been able to overcome these?
Key to our ability to overcome these challenges has been the selection of a highly skilled, efficient and effective Project Team, exemplary coordination, and continuous communication with all project partners.
We employ a full-time External Relations Manager who is in constant communication with our neighbours. Following initial project presentations to individual commercial and residential neighbours informing them of our programme of works, regular minuted meetings were held where upcoming activities were discussed and consulted on in order to achieve the best results for everyone. We also used a variety of other channels to keep our neighbours informed including emails, notices and newsletters. These meetings and consultations were integral to our approach and helped inform the implementation of numerous best practice initiatives, including the installation of: a new pedestrian crossing, convex viewing mirrors and chain and pole pedestrian segregation barriers.
In response to environmental noise and vibration limits, we introduced innovative state-of-the-art real-time live monitoring systems. Live screen displays were installed on site to keep all staff up to date with current noise and vibration emissions to ensure the daily limit wasn't exceeded.
However, with even standard construction activities exceeding what was a very low noise limit for an average day, we had to work closely with our subcontractors to explore new and innovative work methodologies. This included the use of the latest noise suppression plant/equipment on the market such as electric hydraulic rebar cutters and plasma cutters instead of steel saws, commercial leaf blowers instead of compressed air, and new noise suppressed circular saws for cutting timber. Additional measures included the erection of a 3m high acoustic hoarding around the site and the use of flashing lights on tower cranes to inform the workforce of quiet periods. All of which led to successful management of noise and vibration on this project.
From the outset we forged an excellent relationship with the City of London, working closely with its Traffic Management Department on road closures during tower crane erection/dismantling and on challenging tasks such as tower protective screen and hoist installations. This helped ensure public disruption was kept to a minimum. We also worked with its Environmental Health Department on working hour extensions and are coordinating with the authority on its street enhancement works around the site.
Could you detail a few examples of good practice you have put in place on site?
Our 'take-back' scheme for timber pallets is one of numerous successful waste reduction initiatives. Thanks to our early engagement and close liaison with our subcontractors and their supply chain, the scheme is being implemented by more than 15 subcontractors. To avoid any confusion over ownership, all subcontractor pallets are marked on arrival with a unique identification stamp by our site waste management contractor team. To date, this initiative has resulted in over 6,000 timber pallets being returned for re-use, reducing timber waste by 263 tonnes or 313 (12yd) skips and delivering an embodied carbon (fossil fuel footprint) saving of 81.5t CO2e. Financially this equates to a saving of approximately £68,860.
Early on in the project a Hard Hat Concert was performed on site by musicians from the Guildhall School of Music. The hour-long brass wind instrument concert was publicised in advance to the surrounding neighbours and proved a resounding success, with a huge crowd gathering opposite the site to enjoy the performance.
We brought in an Occupational Health Advisor to carry out free lifestyle medicals for our site staff and workforce, raising awareness and arranging talks and sessions on topics such as occupational cancer, back care, giving up smoking, skin cancer awareness and crossfit outdoor workout sessions.
The team has also worked with numerous primary and secondary schools and colleges during the project, whilst our staff and workforce have been able to up-skill through the many training courses and schemes held on site.
For Site Registration Examples of Good Practice, click here.
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