Project In Focus: Birmingham Fort Tower

Signs come in all shapes and sizes but this one - created for The Fort Shopping Park in Birmingham – was particularly large. In fact, standing at 30metres tall it’s the largest sign Merson has ever manufactured!

We were contracted by Savills Property Management and The Fort Trust with a brief to design, manufacture and install an instantly recognisable landmark to replace a previous tower structure that had suffered structural damage in 2015.

A project of this scale requires the input of many specialist contractors, both internal and external to Merson Group. It was for this reason that our Contract Management team managed the delivery of the project from start-to-finish – working with a range of specialists to ensure the desired end result.

Our design team first created various concepts that introduced a new look and moved away from the older pylon style tower. Throughout the early stages of the design we worked closely with PUNCH Consulting who completed the structural design assessment to avoid any similar structural damage in the future.

After the client approved the final design we started work on the manufacture of the steel tower and aluminium cladding. Due to the sheer scale of steelwork fabrication and cladding some parts of the structure were made offsite in a specialist facility.

With a sign of this size, challenges are always expected during the installation phase. The main challenge with this project was that the roof top car park could not support the weight of both the new tower and a 50 tonne crane that was required for the installation. To overcome this a temporary works system was designed to strengthen the roof. The system redistributed the weight of the structure and crane allowing the installation to take place as planned.

We were on-site at The Fort for one month in total - this included two weeks for the foundation works to take place, one week for the temporary working system to be built and one week to install the new Tower.

The original Fort Tower had been an iconic reference point since it first opened in 1996 and after being down for almost 17 months, Merson Group is delighted to have created a modern and structurally-sound alternative to make The Fort Shopping Park stand out for many years to come.