Even without the spire that will make London’s Shard the tallest building in Western Europe, its recently topped-out core, reaching 72 floors above ground, already dominates the city. With the structural steelwork frame ending at level 40, concrete columns and post-tension floors will complete the rest of the 310-meter-tall building’s frame next to the River Thames. Now looming 244 m over the London Bridge railroad hub, the Shard’s stump has become a temporarily unattractive city landmark. But from ground level, the rising curtain wall gives a foretaste of the final building, designed by architect Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa, Italy.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.