Tower 42

Tower 42

Following the successful modernisation of 29 lifts at Devonshire Square, SVM Associates were appointed by the same management team (Greycoat and BNP Paribas Real Estate) to modernise the lifts at Tower 42.

Tower 42 was the UK’s first skyscraper and until recently, it was London’s tallest building. In order to maintain it’s iconic landmark status we were briefed to develop a vertical transport scheme for the 22 lifts that would provide building users with a discernible, high-quality travelling experience yet be readily maintainable for 20 years. As well as this, the lifts were required to meet current safety standards and be energy efficient.

The technical challenges were significant and required a comprehensive understanding of safety principles in addition to technical capability; the original high speed, high rise, double-deck lift machines had been installed by crane during initial installation. Our solution had to replace the lift equipment in an occupied building whilst maintaining lift service throughout. Fortunately, SVM Associates’ specialist lift and building services engineers designed a turn-key scheme that met these objectives. This incorporated innovations such as high speed polymer diverting pulleys, high performance ropes and fibre data to the car providing video link to trapped passengers.

A key consideration for us was the re-use of structural elements of the pre-existing lift service whilst using state of the art drive technologies to improve lift energy efficiency and offer a sustainable solution in keeping with the trend of upgrades for prime office accommodation. This was key to, and assisted with the reduction of life-cycle costs.

SVM provided technical project management, maintenance monitoring and Principal Designer duties with all stages being on time and within budget. We were well placed within a competitive market to ensure the procurement process went smoothly and compliant bids were received, capturing particular supplier’s unique offerings but still ensuring value was achieved.

SVM were specifically chosen for their in depth knowledge of the lift market and considerable experience as life-cycle consultants with a proven track record in working on lift projects and energy management within existing buildings. A multidisciplinary team provided construction and design management, working to create a fast, high rise lift service for the next 20 years. Combined with the insight of the asset management team, this has created a better building service and improved the appeal of attractive letting space.

Our ability to work with the management team and intimate knowledge of Tower 42 led to our appointment, as interim technical services manager, overseeing the day to day technical operations and managing financial and safety risks.

Other projects we have been commissioned to progress at Tower 42 include some 27 life-cycle upgrade projects including;

  • Replacement of MPHW domestic hot water system to plate heat exchangers
  • Load shedding software upgrades
  • Repairs to central chiller plant
  • Compressed air modification feasibility
  • Replacement drift eliminators
  • Mechanical repairs to the three 1.5 MW HV generators (located on the 43rd floor)
  • Upgrade of the buildings analogue lighting control system
  • Replacement of four 90,000 litre water tanks
  • Replacement of pressurisation units throughout the building
  • Replacement of water pumps, installation of inverters and energy efficient motors


Feasibility, design (where efficiency and serviceability were key drivers) procurement and management was all managed by SVM Associates’ specialist engineers.


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