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Claridge’s, a world-famous five-star hotel in central London, commissioned contractor McGee to construct a five-storey basement beneath the existing hotel without disrupting hotel operations.
With all materials in and out of the site passing through a single window opening, the engineering solution involved mining underneath the existing foundation, hand-digging adits and vertical shafts for each of the 62 five-storey columns and foundations, then constructing the basement top-down.
Jim Mackey (McGee), Andy Pye and Alice Blair (Arup) will tell the structural story behind this incredible feat of construction.
Image shown courtesy of Daniel Imade, Arup
After 45 years at McGee, working up from site worker to Managing Director, Jim Mackey finally retired in 2015. Eight weeks later, Claridge’s rang, asking Jim to start work on a basement extension project that had been mothballed since 2007. Abandoning retirement plans for this ‘crazy job’, Jim returned as Project Director for the design-and-build construction of the Claridge’s Basement project for specialist engineering contractor, McGee.
Andy is an award-winning director with engineering firm Arup in London. A structural engineer, Andy is an expert in constructability and the design of complex foundations and was the lead structural engineer for the award winning Claridge’s Basement extension. He is also champion for Over Station Development, advising Network Rail and HS2, and is project director for two major OSD developments on the Queen Elizabeth Line.
Alice is an Associate Structural Engineer at Arup in London. Taking a particular interest in projects where sequence or construction methodology is a big design driver, Alice has delivered the structural design for the multi-award-winning projects Claridge’s Basement and the underground gallery and courtyard at the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter.
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