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In the Skies above Manc-hattan

Contractor: Renaker Build Ltd, Manchester, UK

An increasing number of skyscrapers are dominating the skyline in the English city of Manchester. The region’s leading property developer, Renaker Build Ltd, which has already built more than 6,000 new apartments, is primarily responsible for the striking change to the urban landscape.

The Manchester skyline is being changed using MEVA climbing formwork

Since 2006 Renaker has been reshaping districts that have seen better days into up-and-coming neighbourhoods. The focus lies on the renovation of brownfield sites in the heart of Manchester, where a new landscape with high-rise towers is coming into being that is affectionately referred to as “Manc-hattan”. MEVA formwork and climbing systems play an important role in the realisation of prestigious projects such as New Jackson, Trinity Islands and Colliers Yard. Here, the MAC system (MEVA Automatic Climbing) is being used, which climbs hydraulically with the formwork during the erection of the concrete core walls. This system proved advantageous for Renaker, as it enables rapid construction processes with little effort and without using a crane and provides for safe and comfortable working conditions.

As a reaction to the increasing demand for high-rise buildings and the construction of their cores, Renaker purchased a large stock of MAC climbing systems and Mammut 350 wall formwork. To construct the columns, the lightweight, crane-independent AluStar system is used. Due to their flexibility, all these systems can be easily adapted to suit varying geometries and changing requirements. Hence, they pay dividends in the long term when used for different construction projects.

For buildings with 30 storeys or more, Renaker prefers the globally tried-and-tested, automatic MAC climbing system to every conventional jumpform or slipform system – for good reasons: It not only enables the construction of the core after initial assembly to be crane-independent (exception: depositing the rebar material on the main working platform), MAC also provides the workers with a comfortable working environment that is protected from the elements at all times.


The MAC system – an overview
The MAC climbing system lifts the core wall formwork and all platforms hydraulically in a single operation and enables quick and efficient working practices without the help of a crane even at great heights. The hydraulic unit is operated by only one single person. The complete unit can be raised by 4.5 m in only 60 minutes using a minimum of personnel. Non-return valves in each 20-ton cylinder safeguard the hydraulics. This efficient climbing method shortens the construction process significantly without compromising safety – unlike systems with individual climbing platforms.

Platforms, from above: 1) Main working platform: operation of the power unit, storage and attachment of the rebar material; 2) and 3) Attachment of the rebar material / access to formwork accessories; 4) Trailing platform / access to the concrete beams.


Cycle times of only four days
Where efficient cycle times are important, MAC plays to its strengths. During some projects, the Renaker construction site team achieved very short cycle times of only four days for stripping, climbing, rebar and box-out installation, and reinstallation of the formwork. Sometimes the cycle times were so efficient that the team responsible for the core construction had to interrupt its work to allow the construction of the previous storeys to catch up.

Instead of anchors, the MAC system employs reusable bearing pockets for support. These pockets are removed from the trailing platform and reused during the next climbing stage. This reduces the material costs, as no lost built-in parts are left over in the concrete. If there is little space available, parts belonging to the climbing system can be pre-assembled outside the construction site and combined into larger assemblies before the units are lifted into place.

Integrated platforms and ladders guarantee a high degree of work safety. The main working platform is completely free of obstructions and offers a large surface area for materials such as rebars. The all-round enclosure with cladding sheets, for example, not only makes it possible to work in all weathers, it also offers privacy as well as ample advertising space. Special requirements such as concrete placing booms and external-staircase accesses can be integrated into the MAC design.


Large-scale concrete placing
The clever design of the MAC climbing system enables the formwork to be quickly and simply adapted to suit varying building geometries. Large units made up of several formwork panels that are connected to each other can be relocated without problem in one operation. This saves a lot of time when installing and stripping the formwork. All MEVA wall formwork systems can be used together with MAC, as can the customer’s own formwork.

The hanging Mammut panels leave enough space for the rebars.

The robust, large-format Mammut 350 panels (350/250 = 8.75 m²) with a full-surface fresh-concrete pressure capacity of 100 kN/m² optimally supplement the climbing system. The suspended wall formwork can be repositioned precisely by hand with the help of support frames on the inward-facing side per three-way adjustment and adapted to suit the building geometry. The formwork is retracted and lowered in order to make room for the rebar work, for example. This pays off during Renaker projects: Large wall panel areas were relocated in one single operation.


Deansgate Square
An example of the efficiency of the duo MAC and Mammut 350 is the Deansgate Square project: Two MAC systems were used in tandem in order to erect one storey with two cores located next to each other every five days. The systems were then each modified and used for two further cores. The group of four high-rise buildings in the centre of Manchester was completed punctually within the desired time frame thanks to the speedy core construction method and rapid relocation of the MAC.

The formwork is suspended from the steel grid.
The formwork is precisely aligned by means of three-way adjustment.

To ensure correct installation on-site, a highly specialised team of MAC experts from the MEVA subsidiaries in Great Britain and Singapore was involved in the planning. The exchange of information at an early stage and close cooperation with the principal ensured that the planning and construction were performed smoothly. The precise coordination between all parties involved in the project had a high priority. MAC and Mammut 350 were adapted from cycle to cycle in order to compensate for floor plans that deviated from each other with regard to the details or special forms such as different door openings.


Tried and tested successfully worldwide
The MAC system has already proven it worth again and again and was a decisive factor for the successful construction of some of the tallest buildings in countries such as India, Australia or the Philippines. The 205 meter high Roche Tower II in Basel, to which the stringent Swiss safety requirements apply, was even completed ahead of schedule.



Proven track record

Renaker has been working with MEVA on large projects in Manchester since 2016 and trusts its know-how. Both the management and the construction site teams have come to appreciate MAC due to its efficiency, flexibility and safety. The following projects testify to the comprehensive cooperation between the two companies:

Completed projects

  • Deansgate Square: four residential towers with 40, 47, 53 and 67 storeys and more than 1,500 apartments. The 201 m tall South Tower is the tallest building in Manchester and the second-tallest residential building in Great Britain.
  • Crown Street C2 (Elizabeth Tower): This residential tower comprises 484 apartments on 51 storeys. A swimming pool, a gym and the communal garden are located on the 44th floor.
  • Trinity Riverview: 35-storey building with 332 apartments.
  • Greengate Plot H&J: 50-storey building with 559 apartments and commercial space.
  • VITA Union T1: 32-storey building with 380 apartments and flexible commercial space.
  • Crown Street C5 („Three60“): 51-storey residential building with a circular floor plan and spiral-shaped panelling.

Further projects, in progress

  • Greengate Plot C: one of three high-rise buildings at Colliers Yard, with 42 storeys and 420 to 444 apartments.
  • VITA Union T2: residential tower with 32 storeys. The Union buildings make up the new residential nucleus of St. John‘s, one of the most important renovation projects in Manchester.
  • Trinity Islands: four skyscrapers with 39, 48, 55 and 60 storeys. The project for the construction of 1,950 new apartments is planned to last nine years. One of the towers will be the second-tallest in Manchester.
  • One Port Street: project with 33 storeys and first-class comfort, including a 185 m² swimming pool.



MEVA systems:

New construction of high-rise residential buildings in Manchester, UK

Renaker Build Ltd, Manchester, UK

Engineering and support:
MEVA Formwork Systems Ltd, Tamworth, UK
MEVA Formwork Systems Pte Ltd, Singapore

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