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Tall Buildings Conference 2020: Our First Virtual Experience

Invisible Connections were pleased to support the Tall Building Conference on 18th November 2020.

To meet Covid 19 restrictions, this year the event was held online. As premium exhibitors we were curious to find out how the conference would unfold on a virtual platform.

Tall Buildings Conference and Awards 2020

For delegates, the virtual Tall Buildings Conference provided an opportunity to attend seminars or network, all from the comfort of the home or office. Being online, there was no need to spend time travelling, parking or queuing for coffee, one could hop between the Stage, Networking or Exhibition on the click of a mouse – which made for a time efficient if somewhat impersonal experience.

As an exhibitor, the online platform enabled us to direct message contacts with a view to setting up meetings. In keeping with other exhibitors, we found that delegates preferred to use the short breaks allocated for networking to catch up with their ‘day jobs’ instead of visiting exhibitor booths or participating in video calls. We were not alone in missing the opportunity to meet in person colleagues from across the industry or demonstrate our products in real life.

Invisible Connections Booth

We’d like to thank Radar who worked hard to make sure this event could take place, despite the current challenging circumstances. We’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners and finalists in the Tall Buildings Awards Ceremony.

The roster of speakers was impressive. Key issues currently facing the industry were considered such as environmental sustainability, fire safety and DfMA.

Steve McKechnie, Technical Director at Arup, emphasised the importance of minimising material usage to meet Zero Carbon targets, which is a subject we’ve explored. Our Ferbox Comparison Study finds using ‘specials’ instead of standard lengths results in a 20% reduction in material usage. Where telescopic connectors are used to connect precast concrete elements, no additional finishes are required which results in less material usage and less wastage.

Jenny Burridge, Head of Structural Engineering at The Concrete Centre, remarked on the acoustic and fire-resistant properties of concrete as important reasons why concrete remains the material of choice for the construction of many prestigious tall buildings. Our telescopic connectors are grouted in, which provides equivalent fire cover as concrete. Where noise is of particular concern, as in high spec residential developments, Invisible Connections’ TSS102 Stair Landing Connectors contribute to sound reduction by minimising step sound vibration transmission from the stairwell into adjacent rooms.

Jenny Burridge Presentation for Tall Buildings Conference 2020

Many of the projects referred to in the speaker presentations and a third in the awards ceremony were projects to which Invisible Connections had supplied products. The full list of finalists can be found here.

Ian Simpson, Founding Partner of Simpson Haugh presented a ‘A Case Study on One Blackfriars’ to which we supplied telescopic stair connectors. Gary Le Carpentier, Technical Director with Ramboll UK referred to 250 City Road, EC1, where a significant volume of special Ferbox reinforcement continuity was used to connect filigree slabs in the core walls. Jeremy Belcher from Balfour Beatty focused on The Madison, a project for which Invisible Connections were called upon to produce a bespoke Ferbox design to suit a capping beam to slab interface detail and thereafter at every level throughout the core.

The Tall Buildings Conference is intended to assist engineers in understanding the common challenges associated with transferring standard engineering principles and knowledge from low-rise structures to tall buildings. The conference highlights design and building technology innovation in the UK high-rise sector – providing a platform for discussion and debate to facilitate learning and knowledge transfer. Next year, the event is planned for 11th May 2021.

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