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Shard crane claims UK’s tallest title

London’s Shard is set to take the title as Western Europe’s tallest building, but a crane brought onto site by main contractor Mace has already claimed the position of the UK’s tallest crane.

The crane will be used to construct the spire on the Shard, which forms the top 23 floors that will take the tower up to its finished height of 310m. Mace has said that the crane was “jumped” into position on a platform fixed on the 56th floor and will lift around 500t of steel needed to complete the spire steelwork in the first quarter of next year.

When fully extended the crane will sit 317m above ground level and will be 111m tall. The cab for the crane is located at 280m — 36m above the current height of the Shard — giving the operator one of the best panoramic views in London.

Due to the limited space on site, Mace has had the steel sections manufactured off site and the crane will be used to lift complete sections rather than separately lift the 800 pieces of steel. “Pre-assembly of sections of the spire will reduce the amount of work at height, making the installation as safe and efficient as possible and providing greater certainty prior to lifting that the correct fit will be achieved,” said Mace chief operating officer for construction Gareth Lewis.

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