Completed in March 2012, the Shard, the most recent addition to the London Bridge Quarter has finally been unveiled. Acknowledged as the tallest building in Europe, the spectacular skyscraper stands at 309.6 metres tall.
For SPP Pumps, who supplied the Fire Safety pump sets for the ground-breaking construction, the design of water supplies for the highest building in Europe presented a unique challenge.
Although many pump manufacturers can offer equipment designed to the various locally applicable fire rules and regulations, SPP is one of the select few who have had their sprinkler and wet riser pumps subjected to the stringent performance and reliability tests of specialist fire approval laboratories worldwide. Because of their experience, SPP was aware that European Sprinkler regulations do not allow the use of pressure reducing valves due to their unreliability - therefore zones had to be created to limit the pressure on the sprinkler heads in lieu of the valves.
This concept has never been applied to a building over 300m before and SPP worked with the consultant Arup to create a solution that produced a quality, reliable water source that satisfied the challenging regulations. For the sprinkler pumps, SPP supplied 2 off CD12K 10 stage pumps with 7 take off outlets to supply 7 sprinkler zones in the building. The pumps were driven by 200 kW motors. Each zone has its own jockey pump to maintain the pressure.
The pumps for the hydrants were a different challenge. Three pump stations were installed at various levels in the building. At base level SPP supplied 2 BU06 split case pumps with 315kW motors to produce 4500 L/M at 24 Bar. The mid and high level pump houses were equipped with CD10K 4 stage pumps with 132kW motors producing 3000 L/M at 24bar.
The Shard was designed by Renzo Piano, the Italian Pritzker Prize-winning architect who was best known previously for his collaboration on the design of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The main structure of the Shard has 72 habitable floors comprising office space, a 200-bed 5-star hotel, three floors of restaurants, and ten luxury apartments. To top it off, the viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor is the UK's highest, at a height of 245 metres (804 ft).
The Shard was designed with an irregular pyramidal shape from the base to the top, and is clad entirely in glass. The structure was completed in April 2012. The tower was inaugurated on 5 July 2012, and is scheduled to open to the public in February 2013.
According to Renzo, he was inspired by the railway lines next to the site, the London spires depicted by the 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto, and the masts of the sailing ships that once populated the busy waters around London’s Docklands.
Full construction of the tower began on 16 March 2009, and the first steel work went into the Shard's piles on 27 April that year. A total of five cranes were used to build the Shard, with four of them 'jumping' upwards with the tower as it rose.
This inspiring recent addition to the London skyline is yet further endorsement of the skills and expertise embedded into UK engineering companies such as SPP and others who, between them, breathed life into the architect’s vision and made this construction possible.