East Village is a vibrant new neighbourhood in Stratford, East London. Developed alongside the Olympic Park, East Village was the former Athlete’s Village during the 2012 Olympics and now is home to over 6,000 residents, retailers, bars, and restaurants. As part of the 2005 Stratford City Masterplan, work continues with the second phase of development, with two new residential towers in plot N08 having just been completed. Leading construction company, Mace Limited, won the project to build the two towers which stand at 30 and 26 storeys high and comprise 482 homes.
The construction of the towers adopted the innovative ‘Rising Factory’, which climbed weekly on pinned climbing jack systems. This Rising Factory concept was used to create a waterproof factory environment for construction and facilitated a modular and precast construction tower form. The scheme involved the creation of a temporary steel factory building erected over the top of each residential tower during construction, with two overhead gantry cranes (15 and 30 tonnes) for material distribution. Construction of each tower progressed with the factory at a rate of one floor per week.
With the implementation of this rising factory concept, the structural monitoring of the site was crucial to measure, record, and understand the load impact to the supporting steel columns, as well as to uphold the highest standards of safety and safeguard against any potential risks before they arise. So, Mace turned to the monitoring team at Murphy Geospatial to provide the skills and expertise to monitor the loads in the Permanent Works structure that would hold up the 600-tonne rising factory.
The main challenge for Murphy Geospatial was to install adequate instrumentation to measure the transferred loads to the columns as the factory rises and constructs the tower. The use of strain gauges welded to the columns had to be calibrated, and data exported and calculated into load measurements that the client could use to determine their design was in line with their construction programme.
Another challenge was to install wind sensors to the roof of the rising factory – these sensors had to be cabled, and Murphy Geospatial had to attend the factory jumps at several stages to ensure connectivity was not interrupted. Wind data was used to correlate with the load readings.
The team installed a strain gauge monitoring system on each of the four corner columns of the taller tower to accurately monitor the load in real-time and measure the strain in the columns resulting from the factory’s operations. The system intelligently collects, converts, and delivers real-time data on the load pressure of the columns to a remote server via its embedded GPRS module. The system reported microstrain, which was converted to kilonewton by application of simple calculations. The easy-to-use interface and reporting capability allowed us to provide the client with real-time data to accurately assess the column’s loads against the design loads. This validated the design assumptions and led to the client being able to exploit this data to introduce efficiencies in the temporary works.
As part of the project, a wind monitoring system was installed to monitor the wind speed, direction, and load. Working at such heights, wind conditions can impact the movement and load on the structure.
Murphy Geospatial’s Director, Matthias Gropp, comments:
“The rising factory concept is a revolutionary new method and involves the complete construction of a floor being built before being jacked up into place. This method is highly effective and efficient but places a large amount of pressure on the steel columns. So, it’s imperative to the success and safety of the project that the load on steel columns is continually monitored to record the strain and pressure resulting from this process. This intelligent data will give our client peace of mind that the columns will do their job and the project can continue on time and without delay.”
“We’re delighted that Mace Limited has been recognised for this innovative rising factory concept, having recently won numerous industry awards including the ‘Productivity in Construction Initiative of the Year’ at the British Construction Industry Awards. We’re proud to have worked on the project to ensure the highest standards of safety were met.”
For more information on this project, please contact Andrew Masters at email@example.com or +44 203 598 3775