Ainscough Crane Hire has successfully supported its client Rig Lift (UK) Limited with the complex installation of the world’s first ‘Sky Pool’ at Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms, London ‐ one of Europe’s most significant regeneration projects. Adjacent to the US Embassy, the fully transparent swimming pool will hold an estimated 148,000 litres of water and is anticipated to open Spring 2021.
Embassy Gardens is a leading riverside mixed‐use neighbourhood that will provide over 1,500 new homes, world‐class amenities including the ‘Sky Pool’, 432,278 square foot of office space across two buildings, and 130,000 square foot of retail space and cafes, bars and restaurants.
Ainscough Crane Hire was appointed to the lift by Rig Lift (UK) Limited, the specialist machinery, plant removal and Installation Company. The ambitious project required Ainscough’s project team to lift the pool in collaboration with the Rig Lift team from its crate and into place between the site’s two ‘Legacy’ skyscrapers so that the Sky Pool would be seen to ‘float’ between the two buildings.
The pool design was developed by HAL Architects, together with the award-winning Structural Engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan, and fabricated by world‐leading acrylic fabricator Reynolds Polymer Technology. The pool was driven 1,000 miles to Galveston in Texas. There, it made a three‐week journey across the Atlantic before being carried along the River Thames on a barge.
Over a long weekend in September, a specialist five‐person crew worked as part of a contract lift alongside Rig lift’s team of riggers to install the pool to its new home. This included contract lift manager for Ainscough’s Heavy Cranes division, Patrick Denby; 500te crane operators, Paul Elms and Kevin Vale; and lift supervisor, Lee Williams.
In light of changes introduced as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, the team worked to strict social distancing measures to ensure a safe working environment for those on‐site and the nearby residents.
Weighing in at 71 tonnes, the crate required careful handling to be off‐loaded from the barge and onto transport. The Ainscough team prepped for its arrival by utilising an LTM1100‐5.1 crane to rig the larger‐scale LTM1500‐8.1 mobile crane with a 50-metre long boom. The LTM1500 then completed the lift with the use of a 21-metre luffing jib and a 165t counterweight, ensuring the required safe working load was reached.
Given the complexities of the lift, the arrival of the Sky Pool had to be timed perfectly for high tide to arrive at Albert Embankment. Nine Elms Lane was closed for the day to ensure the pool could then be driven to the site without disruption from traffic.
Once it had been carried to the site, the LTM1500 then lifted the 55-tonne pool to the tenth floor of the building. Despite close proximity to the buildings, the careful handling of the Ainscough crane operators meant that installation was smooth and took place according to plan.
Patrick Denby, contract lift manager at Ainscough’s Heavy Cranes division, said: “This really is one of the most exciting and innovative construction projects to be carried out this year. The new Sky Pool has already caused a well‐deserved stir, and once opened, will be an important attraction not only Embassy Gardens but for the city of London itself.
“Given the many technical challenges of the job, the installation of the Sky Pool is a real testament to the excellent planning overseen by Rig Lift, and what can be achieved by effective collaboration. The entire team worked well to ensure the highest standard of safety and delivery for this lift, and we are really happy to have been part of such an unusual job.”