South Bank Place
London’s South Bank has been transformed into a unique mixed-use development with the famous Shell Centre Tower at its heart. A consortium of companies that included Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar worked together to revitalise the area with high quality architecture and much improved public spaces.
The mix of offices, residential and retail space have integrated with open and attractive public areas, while new pedestrian routes connect nearby Waterloo Station with the South Bank of the River Thames. A widened Chicheley Street provides an approach to the London Eye, whilst a city square at the heart of the scheme provides an open space for the general public.
The infrastructure area of the development consists of basement mechanical and electrical plantrooms, car parking areas, back of house facilities, security and fire fighting centres. The facilities are housed over three basement levels delivering the mechanical, electrical and life safety systems to the entire development.
The infrastructure cooling system consists of four York chillers each rated at 1250 kW along with the associated four cooling towers. The system serves a number of plate heat exchangers (PHX) serving the individual buildings within the development creating a clear demarcation between the landlords and tenant areas. Due to the cooling towers being located atop of building three which was programmed for completion some six months after the hand-over of buildings one and two, an alternative solution was required to enable the chillers to be commissioned and put into service. This was achieved by installing temporary cooling towers. Once the permanent cooling towers became available the condenser water system was reconfigured and the temporary towers removed.
The infrastructure heating system consists of seven sets of Hoval boilers. The system serves a number of plate heat exchangers (PHX) serving the individual buildings within the development creating a clear demarcation between the landlords and tenant areas.
Sectional handovers necessitated a series of IST’s and C&E tests
Adjustment of design to accommodate sectional completions
Ensure early occupancy could be achieved
Hydrosphere technology utilised in flush and clean of hydraulic systems
Development of contractor responsibility matrix
Complicated fire zoning and the interface issues created
Mixed use, residential, commercial, retail and leisure
Canary Wharf Contractors Ltd
Project Challenges and Characteristics
Commissioning the life safety systems proved to be an extremely challenging exercise. The project delivery strategy split the project into several phases each with its own separate handover.
Phase One consisted of the commercial buildings B1 and B2 and residential blocks 6 and 7. Phase 2, the residential blocks B3, B4A and B4B, while phase 3 contained the main health and fitness facility.
The original design of the life safety systems and particularly the fire alarm system were configured as a single system, not recognising sectional completions.
To overcome the initial design intent, fire alarm panels had to be partially commissioned initially to facilitate the first handovers. The commissioning of these panels then had to be completed whilst some loops were operational which led to the risk of nuisance alarms and potential evacuations.
The entire process required careful management with the adoption of night shifts and increased manpower.
Lessons learnt on this project will certainly be carried forward onto future projects, in this way ensuring that at the commencement of a project all systems are designed in such a way that they can be commissioned to achieve sectional handovers so that later phases do not impact on previously completed and operational areas.