Reach for the sky

The race to build the tallest and most sophisticated structure is not a new phenomenon. Architectural masterpieces, like the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in Manhattan; Taipei 101 in Taipei; Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur and the current mega tall, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, have all achieved the prestigious title of the tallest skyscraper in the world.

Now the country’s second city, Birmingham, is experiencing a little friendly rivalry to deliver the tallest populated building, if not one of the tallest in the city. The hot contenders are as follows:

  • The Mercian (aka 212 Broad Street) at 132m will become the city’s tallest populated tower and the second-highest structure. The skyscraper is currently under construction and is due for completion in 2022.
  • The Bank Tower 2 on Broad Street is also under construction and due for completion in 2019. It is a residential tower spanning 33 floors and will have a height of 102m.
  • 103 Colmore Row, on completion next year, will reach a height of 108m and provide Birmingham with 26 floors of high-grade office space.
  • St Joesphs Eastside, approved by the council in 2019, will dominate Eastside at 123m and provide accommodation at the heart of the ever-expanding learning district.
  • 211 Broad Street, has been on the architect’s drawing board for some time now, but its striking design and 117m height will make it a welcome addition to the skyline.
  • One Eastside, a proposed residential development adjacent to the HS2 station, will stand at 163m and will wrestle the title of the city’s tallest populated structure off of The Mercian.
  • 100 Broad Street is the most recent entry to the race and probably the most ambitious. If approved and constructed, at 193m it will take the accolade of Birmingham’s tallest structure, held since the 1970s by the monumental BT Tower.

But what is behind this latest emergence?

There are many factors to consider – growing population, the housing crisis and access to significant outside investment – but the main driver is connectivity and the region’s transport strategy.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has adopted the ‘2026 Delivery Plan for Transport’, underpinning its ambitious growth strategy to raise Gross Value Added (GVA) per capita to 5% above the national average by 2030.

To kick start the transport plan, ensuring all areas of the West Midlands are connected to High-Speed 2 is fundamental.

Directing transport investment into priority corridors for new jobs and homes is equally important. A joined-up transport and land planning strategy will ensure large-scale communities are built sustainably around the existing transport network and with the least investment required for infrastructure.

It will also ease the pressure on the site’s financial viability and enable developers to make a profit. This, in turn, means developers will invest further, bringing even greater employment, retail and leisure opportunities to the region.

So, what approach should organisations take to realise financial viability and achieve overall delivery of their projects?

At M. Lambe Construction, we recommend engaging with us as early as possible. We can work with you to evaluate the design, identify and eliminate any undue risks: to establish the most ‘economical and time-efficient’ programme.

A combination of value engineering expertise, investment in state-of-the-art plant and technology, and a proficient network of supply chain partners, enables us to provide you with a bespoke solution that could deliver further cost savings, without impacting on the high standards of ‘quality’, ‘health and safety’ and ‘environmental management’ you have become accustomed to.

So, if you’d like to work with a civil engineering and groundworks specialist who has been supporting the region’s growth for over 35 years, call us on 0121 554 2108 to talk with one of our experts.