Monday 19 November 2012

The Shard London

I've just been reading the specifications for the Shard building and as a designer of trading areas, I groaned a quick "Oh no!"

This iconic skyscraper is built just a stone's throw from the edge of the City of London in the borough of Southwark at the [wrong] south end of London Bridge. It is five minutes walk from the financial services centre of the City of London. The tower also has almost instant access to the London Underground Jubilee line which gives fast (seven minutes) and easy access to the finance industry in Canary Wharf. The location is well served by resilient optical network backbone services. You'd think it to be ideal for the financial services industry.

However when you read the specifications on their public web site that picture changes. The raised floor gap is only 150 mm (6 inches). That can be really restrictive in delivering power and data cabling to a trading desk. With a 2.7 metre floor to ceiling height there is little scope for changing the raised floor height. Any full size equipment cabinets will be quite cramped.

The floor loading is only  3.5 kN/M2 (73 pounds/sq foot) with up to up to 7.5kN/M2 in parts. This essentially dictates only office furniture except in a few small strong points. I've yet to see the detailed floor plans but I'd guess the strong points are not conveniently located. From their web site I can see there's also two sets of internal structural building pillars within the office areas. The pillars will restrict office/trading floor layouts.

The Standby power generators are 2 x 2000 KVA; this represents only 70 KVA/M2 when both generators are running for the office space, provided there is no draw from the hotel sections of the building or the accommodation sections. As a rule of thumb I'd say about 15 - 20 Watts of available protected power per Sq Metre of office floor, ignoring any concentrated power draw of a technology/server room.

It strikes me the space is suitable for low intensity office occupation and not the technology intensive trading floors of the financial sector. The building specification must limit the attractiveness to banking clients currently on the north side of the River Thames. When will these property developers learn to provide accommodation with reasonable infrastructure services?

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