Heron Tower, London

Heron Tower, London

Client: Skanska
Type of works: galvanised pipework

A network of pipes spanning 46 floors at one of London’s tallest buildings, presented a major challenge for steel finishing specialist, Medway Galvanising.

Contractor Skanska turned to the Kent-based steel finishing specialist to galvanise the pipework, which forms part of the iconic Heron Tower’s state-of-the-art air-conditioning system, ensuring this crucial part of the infrastructure was protected long into the future.

Operating to stringent quality control processes and fully accredited to all the latest BS and ISO standards, Medway Galvanising worked to strict time scales to ensure the steel pipes promised years of corrosion and trouble-free performance.

Without a galvanised coating, oxygen in the air would react with the metal and begin to corrode the untreated steel. Timings and attention to detail were crucial, as Skanska’s mechanical engineer Paul O’Sullivan explains. “The galvanising process was critical. Owing to its flexibility, steel was the ideal material for the run from the primary condenser pumps to the cooling towers, but it’s got to be galvanised right and, for such a high profile, deadline-driven project, it’s got to be on time.”

Skanska Fabrications Manager John Wickens praised Medway Galvanising’s 'quick turnaround and keen pricing', adding that they are “clearly very good at what they do and were very responsive to our needs.”

A revolutionary office building, Heron Tower is designed as 12, three-storey high office ‘villages’ that will each have a full base floor and two gallery floors arranged around a north-facing atrium.

The cooling system that Medway Galvanising has played a key part in creating, is part of an environmental approach that has won Heron Tower a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of Excellent.

The building features extensive use of clear glass to maximise daylight and reduce the need for artificial lighting as well as a web of photovoltaic cells on the south elevation that will generate renewable energy while shading the interior from the sun’s rays.

Medway Galvanising has a similarly ‘green’ approach. The zinc used in the galvanising process is completely non-toxic, 100 per cent recyclable and one of the most common components of the earth’s crust, making it totally sustainable. Galvanising also helps to cut waste, reduce maintenance needs, minimise the long-term costs of construction projects such as Heron Tower and vastly extends the life of one of the strongest and most flexible building materials there is.

“By protecting steel against corrosion, something that costs the country millions of pounds each year, galvanising can make a significant contribution to the health of the economy,” explained Medway Galvanising’s Managing Director Colin Grant.

“As the country seeks to cut costs and at the same time become more efficient in the way it uses raw materials, galvanising is the ideal way of bringing those two aims together.”

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