Supply, fabrication and install of 470t structural steel frame on Bath Road next to Heathrow Airport runway 2.

Commenced in 1995, the WBC was designed to be implemented in phases; each of the buildings is virtually identical to give the impression of a continuous terrace.

The latest block (WBC4) has been designed to provide a contemporary take on the first three pavilions, including elements such as feature fins and solar glazing replacing the brise-soleil of the previous buildings.

Following on behind the groundworks team, Apex Steelwork Structures’ erection programme was also dictated by the height constraints imposed by the adjacent airport.

Installing a tower crane on this project was out of the question as no piece of equipment can be more than 30m-high on this site. Consequently, Apex had to carefully plan which type and size of crane would be best suited for this job.

Apex used a 30t-capacity crawler crane and erected the structure one bay at a time, to the full height of the building. In this way the depth of the steel erection area was kept to a minimum and consequently the height of the crane’s jib was kept to an allowed height.

Due to the sequencing of the erection, and in order to help the follow-on trades, Apex also lifted the packs of metal decking into place once each bay of steelwork was up.

Constructed around a regular 9m × 7.5m grid pattern, the structural steel solution has allowed the team to meet the client’s requirements for a spacious and open office, with minimal impact from the structural frame.

Stability for the steel frame is derived from braced bays which are positioned within the two central cores, as well as diaphragm action of the floors.

Because of the building’s proximity to one of the busiest airports in the world, the consideration of how to demolish the structure was also an important consideration during the design stage.

Using steel proved to be the right choice for WM4, Heathrow Airport as it can easily be dismantled when its lifespan is completed.

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World Business Centre Building 4, Heathrow