Case study

The Shard from the ground up

London, UK

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Project duration

38 months

Fugro’s expertise has played a part in the construction of The Shard, London’s latest iconic landmark and, at 310 metres, Western Europe’s tallest building.

Life cycle

Planning, feasibility, conceptual design



Operations and maintenance


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Geo-Risk Management Framework

Geo-Risk Management Framework

The Geo-Risk Management Framework is a unique conceptual framework that guides approaches to managing risk associated with the development and management of natural and built assets.

Professional surveys, geotechnical expertise and detailed weather forecasting support a high profile construction project

Our initial ground investigations enabled foundation design and construction at the complex and congested site. These were followed by further surveys to support the exacting construction quality of The Shard’s 95-storey superstructure. Principal contractor, Mace, was rigorous in assuring the precision of The Shard’s sleek architecture and called on our structures experts to survey and to confirm technical aspects of critical elements as this ‘vertical city’ took shape.

Below ground level, we used ground penetrating radar (GPR) to identify potential voids behind the secant piled walls. The radar data helped us to target exploratory coring that corroborated findings and pinpointed areas for effective treatment. Following water prevention treatment, we undertook more GPR surveys to check grouting integrity and to confirm that residual moisture had been eliminated as a final reassurance of basement performance.

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Courtesy of Mace & Courtesy of George Rex Photography

The focus on build quality and precision continued above ground, with the project team relying on GPR data to verify dimensional detail as the post-tensioned concrete floors of the tower went up. We carried out scans where complex construction detail, together with the proximity of essential service openings to known post-tensioned tendons, made it worthwhile checking the exact tendon position before coring.

Our meteorological services supported the planning of weather dependent work. We provided Mace with a three-day site-specific construction weather forecast, together with the outlook for four days ahead. Safe and efficient day-to-day operations, including crane lifting and exterior glass works, benefited from information such as wind speeds at a range of heights, temperatures, precipitation and lightning risk.

Our survey teams provided results on the spot to facilitate construction progress, following up with reports and drawings. This subsurface check avoided snags and helped to keep the building programme on track. The structure was completed in 38 months, on budget and on schedule.

Although the client recorded all tendon positions as the floors were cast, they also commissioned high resolution scanning to double-check tendon locations where holes were required. This provided full confidence that no tendons would be threatened, benefiting construction quality and safety.

Sam Brook

Project Manager, Fugro

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