• 30 April 2012

Delivering Macquarie’s New EMEA Headquarters

Waterman’s structural and building services teams facilitated the delivery of a £28 million fit out project to house Macquarie Group’s regional headquarters.

In late February 2010, with one year remaining on the lease of its current accommodation and appropriate City office accommodation hard to come by, Macquarie Group needed to find and fit out a future regional headquarters. Ropemaker Place, a new office building in the heart of the City, seemed to tick all the boxes but would need extensive modification if Macquarie’s vision for a 21st century office was to be realised.

Macquarie was not simply intending to relocate employees into a City Commercial building, it was determined that the new accommodation would encompass the company’s strategic principles of connectivity, flexibility, sustainability and service.

The vision that emerged over the course of the first two weeks of the project would not only provide Macquarie’s employees with state of the art IT, working space and leisure / support facilities, but would bring it all together in an iconic meeting tree within a newly created six storey atrium at one end of their tenancy block. With its interconnecting flying stairs criss-crossing the void and projecting meeting pods of various forms, this space provides a breath-taking central focus for the Macquarie teams working in the building.

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The technical challenges posed by this vision were compounded by the programme constraints when it became apparent to Macquarie that the project needed to be on site just ten weeks after the design team started work. During this period the design would need to obtain Landlord and Building Control approval and the principal contractor would need to be appointed. Consequently, Waterman proposed that the structural works be undertaken ahead of the main fit out, to make the work packages manageable and buy design time. Additionally, Waterman provided a full, detailed design to minimise the potential for disruption during the construction stages. This was of particular importance for the steel stairs, which are highly architectural.

The structural work was split into two main phases. The first phase, termed the enabling works, comprised the removal of the existing metal-deck slab and auto-fab steel beams to form the atria openings at each level. The deconstruction was undertaken up through the building and was followed as closely as possible by remedial works to strengthen any existing retained structural elements that would experience increased loading regimes. In areas where the atrium design was still evolving, the void was initially oversized, allowing the architects more time to determine their optimum edge profiling and details. The second phase comprised the construction of cantilevered decks for the support of the projecting meeting pods and the onsite fabrication and erection of the steel stairs, together with supporting steelwork for moveable walls to auditoria spaces, retrofitting of new builders work openings and reconfiguring plant platforms at roof level.

Overbury, the contractor had to deliver these structural works within the allotted 16 week period due to the very onerous site constraints that included a maximum delivery length of 3m for all new steels and neighbours above and below Macquarie’s tenancy floors. The adoption of transparent reporting and close working between all parties in the Macquarie and Overbury teams was key to the success of the project.

From the outset, the client’s aim was for the fit out to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and the architect’s vision included exposed services at high level with no false ceilings to the dealing areas and meeting tree. Cooling is provided using a combination of chilled beams and cool desks within the dealing areas which are areas with increased fresh air provision. The reason for this is that chilled beams alone could not provide sufficient cooling on the trading floors due to the heat gains from the trading desk computers. In order to get the additional fresh air, alterations had to be made to the landlord’s air distribution system, together with new plant with air being supplied via new louvres installed within the building façade. New lighting was provided together with a state of the art, automatic lighting control system, which incorporated daylight sensing, movement detectors and an astronomical time clock. The fit out also incorporates a commercial kitchen which provides staff welfare facilities and catering for level 11. The top floor (Level 11), known as the Guest Relations floor, consists of the main board room, executive meeting rooms and a 150 person auditorium all feeding into the meeting tree space. Waterman was also required to provide the fire strategy. This involved the re-engineering of the base build fire strategy concept to achieve the design aspiration whilst maintaining the appropriate fire safety requirements.

In addition, Waterman Energy, Environment & Design were appointed by Macquarie Group to undertake the BREEAM assessment of the fit out of their headquarters. Waterman was tasked with ensuring that the fit out works would achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, which was achieved in Spring 2011.

The complex project, delivered on time and within budget, has created a space that fosters communication and collaboration within and between business units and is supporting the development of a stronger Macquarie community.

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