Client: Mace

Type: Offices & Leisure

Location: London

Completed: 2012

Service: Lifting

  • The Select cranes were the highest operational tower cranes in Europe at 317m
  • The building could not be built any higher, as aircraft approaching London Heathrow Airport would be affected
  • The Shard, at the point of construction, was the highest building in Europe at 310 metres
  • Lifting operations included nearly 11,000 panes of glass, and 800 steel elements for the final spire section alone

Case Study

To provide a full crane strategy enabling the construction of the Shard of Glass building in Central London - an iconic structure and currently the highest building in Europe.

Select provided continuous lifting operations for the project, matching its fast construction programme, while operating at heights far in excess of any others in the UK for a generation.

Through detailed planning with the contractor and architect, we created a plan that would see the main tower crane rising on the same slipform assembly as the main building core grew, ensuring that it kept pace with the delivery programme. Once reaching level 55, the central core crane was used to build a second crane, cantilevered off the side of the building, which remained in place until completion, being ‘jumped’ as necessary to ensure height gain matched building progress.

Through careful and detailed planning, the lifting plan was a pivotal part of the delivery of this iconic building.  Our highly experienced operatives worked alongside the construction team every step of the way, to ensure that each lift was appropriately planned and executed. The cranes grew with the building, initially by attaching the central core crane to the slipform platform. Later, the cantilevered crane firstly dismantled the central core unit and then facilitated the final push and delivery of the 66m steel spire. With the help of a small derrick crane and finally a small ‘spider’ crane, it was dismantled with the final elements being returned to ground level via the building’s goods lifts.


Tower crane, highest operational in Europe


Panes of glass


Steel elements for final spire section