Skyview and The Can of Ham: Expanding our London Skyline Portfolio

With weather systems installed on many iconic buildings across the London skyline, we are lucky to have worked on some extraordinary, contemporary architecture. In our 32-year history, 70 St Mary Axe, also known as the Can of Ham due to its shape, is by far one of the most awe-inspiring buildings we’ve been approached to work on and we couldn’t wait to rise to the challenge!

About 70 St Mary Axe

Designed by Foggo Associates, the iconic 24 storey modern office development stands at a staggering 295 feet tall. With a number of low-energy measures incorporated into its modern design, the stunning building compliments the London skyline perfectly. Available to book by the hour, day or week, the tower offers 41,515 square metres of office space, providing a modern working environment in the heart of city.

The Challenge

As well as standing at a breath-taking height, the Can of Ham building is entirely clad in glass. Keeping the building in gleaming condition is no mean feat and requires regular and thorough cleaning and maintenance. The building has been designed with two retractable doors at the very top, to allow a window cleaning crane to emerge when needed.

To ensure the safety of all those working at height, a robust and reliable wind monitoring system was required to ensure that any building maintenance could be carried out safely and in accordance with strict health and safety regulations. 

With the unique, cutting-edge design, perhaps the most crucial element of this project was not just the legislative considerations, but also making sure that any installed equipment would be discreet and aesthetically acceptable to the buildings existing features.

Our Solution

Our expert engineers carried out a detailed site survey to assess how and where we could install a sturdy yet unobtrusive wind-monitoring system to allow for safety and legislative compliance.

The system installed comprised two main parts - an anemometer and ISS transmitter kit - plus a GPRS transmitter and weather station enclosure.

The anemometer is located and mounted in the South East open roof courtyard area of the building. The instrument is elevated to a height of two metres maximum above the apex roof height. We ensured that this elevation was adequate to overcome the shape of the building and the turbulence from wind shear to provide the best wind readings, whilst remaining discrete and in line with the attractive aesthetics of the building.

We also mounted a compact ultrasonic anemometer and transmitter kit onto a lightweight aluminium mast pole, which is fastened using securing brackets to the steel-sided wall in the roof courtyard area.

When considering the most efficient equipment to use in this installation, we were mindful of keeping carbon emission low. With sustainability at the forefront of our own business objectives, we were able to ensure that any mounted equipment was solar powered and therefore energy efficient.

Legislation

Adverse weather conditions, e.g. high winds, rain, snow and ice can be detrimental to working at height in the open air, particularly with cleaning or maintenance of any high rise building.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSW Act) requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees and to ensure that those affected by their activities are not exposed to risk.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require employers and those in control of any work at height activity to ensure that the work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.

Weather conditions can change at the same building throughout the year depending on the season. Regular, consistent and accurate monitoring of conditions is therefore required to assess the risks of high winds, torrential rain, or slippery wet or icy surfaces, for example.

Skyview’s real-time weather monitoring equipment and associated software allows our clients to fully assess the elements at any given moment, allowing them to carry out accurate and informed risk assessments relating to working at height, and make informed safety management decisions to avoid putting lives in danger.