Designing cost-effective resilience into high-rise buildings

27 March 2023

Our Structural and Civil Engineering teams are specialists in high-rise building design, with extensive experience of working with both developers and contractors to provide cost-effective, resilient engineering solutions for the buildings and their surroundings, including expertise in concrete frame construction. Combined with the ability to draw upon the knowledge of our other multidisciplinary teams, our structural and civil engineering capabilities allow us to provide a comprehensive and high-quality service to developer and contractor clients across the UK.

Below are some examples of high-rise projects on which our Structural and Civil Engineering teams have added significant value for clients.

Packington Estate, Islington, London

A total of 538 structurally defective flats were replaced by 791 mixed-tenure dwellings and community facilities in this £130 million regeneration project. The massing varies from three-storey townhouses through to several seven-storey complex frames.

Working in collaboration with architects PTEa, Ridge provided structural and civil engineering services for Phases 2 through to 6. Work on Phase 4 involved a mixture of three and four-storey houses and eight-storey apartment buildings of reinforced concrete frame construction. Ridge engineers had significant input into this scheme, advising on major sewer diversions and temporary retaining walls that needed to be constructed prior to the project proceeding. As the eight-year programme of works took place with residents in occupation, there were significant logistical problems to overcome, which were managed successfully.

The first two phases achieved ‘Excellent’ Sustainable Homes accreditation using CHP technology, green roofs and other energy efficiency features. All social housing meets ‘Lifetime Homes’ standard and 10% of housing is wheelchair accessible. The project won ‘Best Regeneration Project’ at the 2019 National Housing Awards.

Green Man Lane, Ealing, London

Ridge provided both Civil and Structural Engineering services for the regeneration of the Green Man Lane Estate. The multi-phased development followed the outline masterplan developed by Conran & Partners to transform the existing defective estate into an attractive, safe and sustainable community.

Ridge provided expert advice and documentation in support of the various planning permissions and construction phasing at the site and subsequently carried out full design services and construction supervision, working fully in a 3D environment to facilitate collaborative working.

Implementation of a considered phasing strategy was key to ensuring successful delivery of the masterplan while minimising disruption to existing residents. Ridge played a pivotal role in this through considered phasing of the decommissioning and adoption of existing and new highways and below-ground drainage infrastructure as well as future-proofing the building structures to allow construction of the following phases to progress and keep the relocated tenants in situ.

In addition, the site itself presented various complexities, including the requirement to retain all services for existing buildings during the construction stages, requiring the development of highly innovative structural and infrastructure solutions as well as requiring the project team to be proactive, responsive and agile in their response to ever-changing site constraints.

Osiers Road Residential Development, Wandsworth, London

Ridge worked with Taylor Wimpey South Thames to develop 85 new apartments in Wandsworth. The development comprised three blocks of up to 12 storeys, 31 parking spaces and commercial floor space built into the existing railway embankment.

The construction of the ground floor of the development provided a significant design and construction challenge. Ridge specified a secant piled wall, propped by the concrete-framed structure, to support the railway line some 6m above. Ridge worked closely with the contractor and Taylor Wimpey throughout the Network Rail BAPA process to reach agreement on the design.

In conjunction with the piled wall designer, Ridge identified that the support required at ground slab level for the piled wall could be removed, with permanent support provided at first floor level. This rationalisation of the design provided a substantial saving in both construction complexity and numbers of bearings that could be omitted from the design.

Given the complex nature of the project, the substructure and superstructure designs were subject to a full 3D non-linear finite element model. This helped determine the most accurate and efficient design for the reinforced concrete structure. Collaboration with the design team provided opportunities for bearings and some of the costlier and difficult-to-construct details to be omitted from the design, providing a more simplified and cost-effective means of support for the structure and piled wall.

Alperton Waterside, Wembley, London

Ridge was appointed by Redrow Homes and Peabody to provide structural and civil engineering services on this £90 million mixed-use development, which comprises 474 residential units, retail floorspace, a public house, commercial floorspace and associated car parking, cycle storage, refuse and recycling storage, landscaping, public realm and access arrangements.

Working alongside the architect and other members of the design team, Ridge engineers developed the design to sequence the civil and structural works in a way which suited the phased demolition and construction required to meet the project programme.

Structurally, Ridge developed a series of traditional RC-framed buildings which incorporated transfer structures to facilitate the step in the building façade at high level. Additionally, a heavily landscaped podium structure was designed between the two smaller blocks to provide outdoor space for the residents.

The civil engineering design involved negotiations between Thames Water and the Canal and River Trust. This provided a connection for the foul water into the existing sewer system as well as confirmation of rates and volumes to discharge the surface water into the Grand Union Canal. In addition, a S278 Agreement was negotiated with Brent Council for alterations to the existing road layout to provide safe access and egress.

Mixed-Use Development, Ealing Broadway, London

(aerial image courtesy of Rydon Construction)

Intended to help rejuvenate the local area, this project involved construction of a 12-storey development in Ealing to provide 124 mixed-tenure dwellings with ground floor commercial provision on a complex and challenging site.

Ridge was commissioned to undertake full structural and civil engineering design for the project. The site is heavily constrained on all elevations and required a considered, phased approach to the structural frame to maximise buildability.

The building is generally comprised of a reinforced concrete frame, with flat slab construction and exposed concrete soffits, columns and walls within the commercial spaces at ground floor. To achieve maximum functional floor area within the commercial units, Ridge employed state-of-the-art analysis techniques for the design of an extensive transfer slab at first floor to increase the column grid significantly from the residential units above.

Learn more about our high rise expertise in this flyer ➔

For more information on our experience providing civil and structural engineering services on high-rise schemes, please contact:

James McCulloch