Doka formwork expertise at 182 metres above London

26.07.2019 | United Kingdom
High-rise buildings are an icon of modern society. Not many high-rise projects are identical and the same can often be said for the concrete structure and the formwork solution as a result. Measuring in at 182 metres high, The Madison Tower located in London’s Docklands financial district, is currently setting its mark as one of the tallest buildings in the UK. Situated adjacent to Canary Wharf, the residential tower rapidly gained height with help from Doka solutions including SCP core climbing formwork, Framax Xlife wall formwork, Dokadek systemised handset slab panel formwork and Concremote concrete maturity measurement systems.


  • Concremote determines the optimum time for post-tensioning operations or stripping the formwork.
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Photo: Concremote.jpg
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Copyright: Doka
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  • Doka’s systemised slab panel system, Dokadek 30 with bespoke sections for The Madison.
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Dokadek 30.jpg
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Copyright: Doka
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  • Doka’s systemised slab panel system, Dokadek 30 with bespoke sections for The Madison.
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Dokadek 30_2.jpg
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Copyright: Doka
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Set in its landmark location, the striking 55-storey tower promises to set new standards for London high-rise living. The build will deliver 423 new homes, including over 100 affordable homes, in addition to an extensive new public garden, a residents’ lounge, business facilities and residents can also enjoy superb views over the River Thames. The one-of-its-kind sophisticated tower, which will include a rippling effect façade when complete, will also offer a private club facility for residents, a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pool and spa.

The development also benefits from exceptional transport connections, which are to improve further with the soon-to-be Crossrail Station at Canary Wharf. This will provide a direct link to the City, West End and Heathrow Airport, helping Canary Wharf live up to its reputation as one of Europe’s fastest growing business districts.

At the core of it
For the concrete core of the building, which measures in at over 34 m wide, AJ Morrisroe specified the construction process use Doka’s self-climbing Platform SCP. Occupying a tight footprint, AJ Morrisroe required a solution, which allowed access for the steel fixing operation, and the proposed system enabled multiple processes, such as steel fixing, pre-fabrication, and formwork placement to run concurrently to help speed construction on-site. Doka’s technical team incorporated the hydraulic self-climbing SCP system into the original proposals due to the requirement for a climbing system, which could climb independently of the crane as this resource was already planned to be highly utilised on site for other lifting activities.

One common challenge on high-rise construction projects are the high wind speeds and that was no exception for The Madison. Doka’s self-climbing platform SCP facilitated high levels of safety, not only because of the capability to raise the system in higher winds than traditional crane operations permit, but also due to the system providing a fully enclosed workspace which shielded the core construction process from external weather conditions. Another added benefit is that the system prevents fall-hazard locations opening up during repositioning as the entire platform is raised hydraulically in one lift process. The versatile system also has integrated access in terms of platforms and stair towers, which provide additional safety during working operations and for up-and-down access.

In combination with the SCP climbing system, Framax Xlife was the systemised wall formwork panel system used to form the building core concrete. In total, over 500 m² was used on each pour of the core due to its proven track record in fast forming times, clean concrete finish and comprehensive workplace safety processes. With access to the building a key consideration throughout the construction of the tower, Framax coupled with the SCP allowed full access to perimeters of the building, whilst being securely connected to the structure at all times.

Next Generation of Beamless Slab Formwork – Dokadek 30
For the construction of the buildings concrete floor slabs, AJ Morrisroe opted for Doka’s systemised panel system, Dokadek 30 for all typical floor layouts, which were from level 2 up to level 53. Having previously used the system on the Nile Street project, in the London borough of Hackney, it gave AJ Morrisroe the confidence that they needed to confirm this was also the right systemised slab solution to use at The Madison project.

Dokadek 30 not only provides up to 3 m² of handset slab formwork in one panel, but also allows for easy-to-follow installation processes from the floor level below and simplifies site logistics due to the few number of components required. High wind loads on site also meant a slab formwork system that would withstand conditions was compulsory – a challenge easily met by Dokadek, with prop heads having a built-in anti-lift guard to prevent panels lifting.

The project used over 700m² of Dokadek as panels were cycled up the floors as construction progressed and lower floors could be struck. The design also requested the incorporation of specially constructed made-to-measure panels for particular bespoke architectural requirements of the slab construction. Utilising both standard panel sizes - 2.44 x 1.22 m and 2.44 x 0.81 m, AJ Morrisroe reported simpler logistics in addition to improved inventory control for site management. In addition, by using the same system on the whole project, AJ Morrisroe were able to reduce time spend on many different training and awareness requirements which is an added benefit in today’s market where skills shortages are a major concern for contractors.

One major benefit of Dokadek 30 solution is the reduction in working from height due to capability of the system to be constructed by working from the floor level below and clear set up and dismantle processes. Lee Henry, AJ Morrisroe’s Project Engineer detailed: “Doka went above and beyond our expectations by supplying technical expertise for some bespoke panels we required which were specially tailored towards the project to provide an efficient solution for all in-situ areas on the more complex geometry on the slab edges required by the architect”. Lee continued “The Dokadek system provides a great process for installing from below and mitigates the requirement for our teams to be off the floor until the final carpentry infill areas are undertaken. But even here, the integrated beam hangar solution means that it is really only necessary to be on the top deck level just to fit the final plywood panels themselves around columns or other final infill areas”.

Project Challenges
One major challenge on the project was the significant geometry changes to the core of the build, however using Doka’s self-climbing Platform SCP, the team were able to specifically design a solution to adapt to changes in the core walls. The first small change was on level 17 where some of the walls were removed – with the adaptability of the system, no changes were necessary. As previously mentioned, another challenge imposed was the limited site storage and working space, coupled with no possibility for prefabricated reinforcement and limited crane use. Doka’s Platform SCP was used to overcome these particular challenges. Measuring in at 195m² on platform +1, the SCP system gave the additional benefit of enabling the top working platforms to become an assembly and storage area capable of bearing the load of equipment weighing up to 40 tonnes in working situation and 20 tonnes during climbing operation. The system itself also requires fewer anchors to the building compared with some competing systems, which can produce a subsequent cost and labour saving for customers as well.

Improving Efficiency with Doka Services
From planning and implementation, through to completion, Doka provided ongoing technical expertise, in addition to regular account management support and site visits to help deliver AJ Morrisroe’s vision for The Madison Tower. This involved detailed drawings, including static calculations, which ensured confidence that the individual formwork units were suitable for the intended use on the project. Priding themselves on productivity and safety, AJ Morrisroe took advantage of Doka’s experienced Formwork Demonstrator to deliver on-site product support as well as toolbox talks to site personnel on how to use the formwork systems effectively and safely. This in turn, resulted in greater levels of productivity on-site.

Doka’s Senior Sales Manager, Stuart McClagish comments “We are really pleased to be able to offer our customers additional services such as the on-site demonstration as it really helps ensure the products are being used the most effectively and as safely as possible when in real-life-situations”.

Ahead of Schedule thanks to Doka Concremote
Doka’s digital concrete maturity monitoring sensor, Concremote was specified for its ability to optimise concrete pour cycle times, mitigate safety risks and help better plan labour and equipment requirements. The award winning Concremote is a non-destructive solution which uses temperature and time to calculate concrete compressive strength gain in real-time.

Already ahead of schedule, AJ Morrisroe were able to achieve a 6-day cycle (originally the schedule planned for a 7 day cycle time) with the help of the Concremote solution. All in all, 4,980 m³ was poured for the 179.23-meter-high service core. Concremote enabled the team to understand the compressive strength of the maturing concrete more effectively and as a result, were able to shorten the cycle time for construction of the building core by a considerable margin. In total, a saving of 30 construction days in all. The data was collected by the Concremote sensors, which were incorporated, into the core, wall and slab formwork solutions to help AJ Morrisroe decide on the optimum moment for stripping the formwork.
In short:
Project: The Madison Tower
Location: London, United Kingdom
Type of structure: High-rise, Residential / Office / Retail
Height: 182 m
Developer: LBS Properties
Main Contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction
Construction work by: AJ Morrisroe
Architect: Make Architects
Start of construction: 08/2017
End of construction: 07/2019
Systems used: Self-climbing Platform SCP, Framax Xlife, Dokadek 30, Concremote

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