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Zurich keeps London’s iconic buildings running safely and smoothly

At a glance

  • London’s most prominent and modern buildings require regular equipment engineering examinations
  • Zurich Engineering has expertise in everything from lift examinations to pressure system examinations
  • Brokers and insurers work with Zurich Engineering to ensure these buildings continue to function safely by complying with relevant legislation

The striking external simplicity of London’s newest skyscraper belies the complexity of its internal workings and the detailed programme of engineering examinations needed to keep things running smoothly and safely

Situated on Leadenhall Street, the Cheesegrater juts 224 metres into the sky, but it takes just 30 seconds to get to the top using, what are claimed to be, the fastest panoramic lifts in Europe.

Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), these lifts require examination every six months, although Zurich was involved in their installation long before they were ever operational.

300 miles of cable

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The project was jointly developed by British Land and Oxford Properties, with plans for the tenants to move in during the autumn of 2014.

“British Land recommended Zurich to undertake consultancy work during the build of the Cheesegrater,” says Lee Carter, Technical Account Manager at Zurich Engineering. “This was to make sure that as the lifts were being installed we could look at their specification and give advice on whether they could cause any examination issues once the building was up and running.”

Without such consultation, it is not uncommon for the safety critical components of a lift to be inaccessible (i.e covered by cladding for aesthetic purposes or tucked away in awkward places). This can lead to timely and costly strip-downs each time the lift requires an examination. By involving Zurich Engineering at an early stage and offering these consultancy services during the build, Zurich can help prevent such issues occurring at future examinations.

Every piece of lifting equipment, from the external window cleaning cradles, to the disability platform lifts, requires regular periodic examination under LOLER – but this is only part of the inspection story.

There are also the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) to consider, these can cover the hot water boilers, air conditioning units and heating systems in the building. This equipment requires regular examinations under PSSR. Keeping these in good working order can reduce the Cheesegrater’s on-going maintenance bill, maintain safe operation and lower its overall risk profile.

Passing on iconic expertise to clients

Zurich has a well-earned pedigree in the skyscraper Real Estate market, carrying out engineering examinations on other iconic buildings, such as The Shard and The Heron Tower.

Brokers can ensure clients benefit from this broad base of experience and expertise because Zurich Engineering can benchmark a building’s examination results and statistics against others, as Lee explains: “We can compare them against similar types of customer and /or building so they can see how they are performing against their peers. We can work with customers to help reduce defects and reduce their risks.”

Zurich was employed to make sure that as the lifts were being installed we could look at their specification and give advice on whether they could cause any examination issues once the building was up and running

Lee Carter, Technical Account Manager at Zurich Engineering

To make sure Zurich’s knowledge is deployed effectively, Zurich coordinates with clients to make sure their surveyors have the right contacts for each building and conduct the examinations at a suitable time. This may mean completing examinations during unsociable hours (out-of-office hours / weekends etc.), at the request of the customer.

In addition to simply issuing examination reports, Zurich can meet with clients to analyse the examination results and help the customer improve the results where possible. Lee says regular review meetings often take place involving the customer, and maintenance companies.

“From the examination results, we get to see what is the norm and what sort of defects are occurring. From this data we can investigate any particular issues (i.e re-occurring defects) and suggest / discuss with the customer how these defects could be overcome and / or improved upon,” he says.

It is this detailed approach to examinations and account management that helps Zurich Engineering keep London’s iconic pieces of real estate running smoothly.

Image © Getty

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