CIT’s South Bank Tower has now been officially completed by main contractor Mace and stands proud amongst the OXO Tower, Tate Modern and London Eye.

The 42-storey high tower was originally built in the 1970s and named King’s Reach Tower. The project has extended the building by 11 storeys and reduced the original concrete core by 50%.

The development now offers amazing views across the London skyline, including 193 luxury apartments, 370,000ft² of offices and 72,000ft² of retail space, 24/7 concierge, a 25m swimming pool, 10,000 ft2 communal roof terrace, residential lounge, gym, screening room and business lounge.

Mace carried out the main construction work starting in 2012 and the project has achieved BREEAM Excellent as well as reaching in excess of 2 million RIDDOR free hours.

The technical challenge

The project has overcome intense technical challenges and required perfect alignment between Mace, US architect Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), the project’s engineers AKT II, Grontmij and the whole supply chain. The conversion of the development from office to residential use has required extensive cut and carve work. The building used the highest temporary external staircase in London during construction as well as the tallest tower crane in London.

Shaun Tate, Mace Project Director, said: “The north core was critical as both the basement and level 10 plant rooms were needed early. To achieve this the core was constructed on temporary plunge piles at B1. The core was then built up as the B2 plant room was simultaneously constructed beneath it. The B2 core walls were infilled afterwards. The top of the tower also had to be considered relative to the new load path impacting from the top down through the original structure. The core was formed using a ‘slipform’, which introduces significant temporary loads which needed to be dissipated through the existing structure, prior to the permanent load path becoming effective.”

Mace adopted a partial ‘top-down’ approach for the construction of the basements and the team also took full advantage of prefabrication due to a tight programme and CIT’s desire to maximise floor space. Most of the building services have been prefabricated and are distributed via ceiling modules. Additionally Mace introduced prefabricated utility cupboards on all residential floors. However, the space between the concrete perimeter fins was not wide enough for the pods, something the team got round by demolishing a staircase. They had to drop the bathrooms onto floor 28 using a tower crane, then lowered them down the staircase chimney using a bespoke lifting system.

The project has required some unique thinking in terms of access, with the team avoiding the use of scaffolding for the cladding removal and using bespoke access cradles instead, which fit between the fins on the exterior of the building.

“It’s been fantastic working on this project which has involved a lot of innovation and collaboration,” adds Tate. “I have learnt a lot personally and will take these learnings with me to other jobs and projects. The wider team can also take away some great lessons and it’s a job well done to all of them. Everyone who worked with us including consultants, suppliers, engineers and KPF did a great job. Of course there have been challenges but with the team’s commitment we have now completed the project, which stands proud in the heart of the South Bank. I also want to thank the local residents and businesses for their ongoing support throughout the build.”

Glass is the core material of this exceptional building, with windows that stretch from floor to ceiling in every apartment, including the double height spaces of the duplex penthouses. This is a building that celebrates light and that makes the London skyline a feature.

From its exceptional vantage point, many iconic London landmarks can be enjoyed including to the north, the City of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge to the east, Battersea Power Station to the south and the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament to the west.

The building’s confident, soaring design makes it a distinctive landmark between Royal Festival Hall and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and adjacent to the iconic Sea Containers House.

Steve Riddell, Director of Developments at CIT, said: “CIT are very pleased that South Bank Tower achieved Pratical Completion on 29th April 2016. Mace have successfully delivered a very complex construction project which entails extensive re use of existing structures, basement construction adjacent to 100 occupied flats, new built construction and a 11 storey extension of an existing 31 storey tower. It also includes mixed uses – office, retail and 193 luxury flats. This project was extremely challenging and Shaun and his team have delivered it to the highest quality, safely and on time. CIT wish to congratulate Mace on the successful delivery of one of our most important flagship developments.”