Combination of Topmax slab table and Topec modular formwork reduces construction time on the FAZ Tower
The shell of the new FAZ Tower in Frankfurt is almost complete. Hünnebeck’s clever slab formwork concept provided the construction company Lupp with crucial time advantages in the tightly scheduled shell construction.
It is set to become the new eye-catcher in the metropolis in Hesse: The FAZ Tower, which will be approximately 60 m high, in the Europaviertel impresses with its unusual architecture including two slender slabs, which are rotated off axis and shifted against each other in the shape of a double “H”. UBM Germany (approx. 75%) and Paulus Immobilien (approx. 25%) have developed the FAZ Tower, which is set to be handed over to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung before the end of 2022, and have entrusted Lupp with performing the shell construction work. Immediately adjacent to the tower, UBM and P² are building the first office building with a timber construction in Frankfurt am Main – “Timber Pioneer” (www.timber-pioneer.de).
The striking geometry of the FAZ Tower with its 18 storeys (gross office space: 27,300 m2) and the estimated short construction time required special formwork solutions: Firstly, the Lupp team prioritised particularly speedy slab production with an extremely high level of occupational health and safety; in addition, a practical solution had to be found to produce the projecting and rotated storeys on both sides of the building. These are the two major tasks facing the formwork supplier Hünnebeck.
A combination of the Topmax steel framed slab table for the edge areas and the Topec modular formwork for the slab centre was chosen for the slab construction of the standard storeys. The construction site team was quickly trained in the routines and managed to shutter, pour and strike the entire ceiling area of one storey in a short space of time – on both parts of the building. The prerequisite for this was a sophisticated implementation and positioning concept developed in collaboration with the construction site team, which specified precisely in which order the individual slab tables needed to be brought out of the building and where, and then set up on the next level. “Due to the narrow niches between the two parts of the building, where no large forklift could fit, the 5.40 m long tables always had to be moved with the traversing carriage first so that the forklift could then pick up the tables at the outer edge,” the construction site team explains the space problem.
However, thanks to the sequence of slab table movements – which had been precisely elaborated in advance – it was possible to save a lot of time and quickly shutter the slab edges. In order to make use of the repetition factor of the slab geometry from level to level, the slab tables were – wherever possible – connected as a double and implemented including fitting surfaces for shuttering the supports and fall protection. “The whole process had been considered and optimised in advance,” says the construction site team.
In combination with the Topmax tables, the manually operated Topec modular formwork was used on the inner slab areas. The robust aluminium system provides particularly ergonomic and fast handling: even the large Topec panels (1.80 m x 1.80 m) are mounted or dismounted from the safe ground in just a few steps by a maximum of two operators: hang up the panel, swing it up, support it or vice versa; a particularly simple and fast method of working that saved a lot of time on the Frankfurt Tower construction site.
Another formwork challenge in the construction of the FAZ Tower was constructing the two cantilevered, rotated building sections. Scaffolding would have required the permanent closure of the adjacent road – which was not an option. The Lupp team therefore decided at an early stage for a back-anchored console solution made of steel beams that would transfer the loads from the cantilevered ceiling sections into the building. Hünnebeck contributed the construction of the temporary platform: Beams from the modular Infra-Kit system and heavy-duty frames formed the basis of the working level and had to support the weight from four cantilevered storeys. This is because the cantilevered area of the building only attained its own load-bearing capacity once the fourth slab was constructed.
The major Frankfurt project has become an excellent reference for the Lupp team carrying out the construction work: “Despite difficult times and complex demands, we were even able to stay ahead of schedule,” says the construction manager. “The ceiling formwork concept developed by Hünnebeck has been a crucial factor in this success.”
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