Case Studies

Precast Concrete Stair Cores – Fire Drill Towers

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"In total, 9 fire stations required 20 stair core towers, 9 training towers, 9 lift shafts and 400 precast concrete wall panels with the inclusion of over 70 stairs and landing units."

About The Project

Milbank Concrete Products, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of precast concrete products with a focus on exceptional customer service, were pleased to announce their involvement working alongside Kier Construction on the design, manufacture and installation of precast concrete stair core towers, training towers and lift shafts at 9 total fire stations across the UK, with an estimated contract sum of circa £1.5m.


Design & Construction

All elements of the project were designed and manufactured in-house at Milbank Concrete Products precast concrete factories and design offices, excluding the lift shafts which were provided from a specialist external source. Milbank’s designers had to take into account the max width available for the wall panels during the design phase when considering transportation to the various sites using articulated lorries. This allowed for the use of standard delivery vehicles as opposed to using specialist escort vehicles into London, saving a great deal on haulage for Kier.

Due to the external walls of the towers being exposed, it was paramount that the best possible finish was achieved at all times. A special mix of concrete was used during manufacturing to ensuring a smooth and flawless final finish was achieved. During the moulding process, specialist fittings were cast in to allow for the connection of a glulam frame and reinforcement continuity for insitu floors.

In total, 9 fire stations required 20 precast concrete stair core towers, 9 precast concrete training towers, 9 precast concrete lift shafts and 400 precast concrete wall panels with the inclusion of over 70 precast concrete stairs and landing units. Over 6,000m2 of precast concrete was expertly manufactured by Milbank weighing in at over 3,000 tonnes in total, equivalent to that of the retractable concertina-style roof over Wimbledon’s centre court.

precast concrete drill tower propping installing concrete drill tower precast concrete tower frame


Due to the extensive restrictions in place at most of the sites for heavy goods vehicles and mobile cranes, it was crucial that Milbank devised a plan that would allow works to continue as safely and efficiently as possible. A wide range of safety measures were also considered during the installation phase to combat the prevalent risks when working with structures ~30m high. Provisions for handrail systems had to be cast in to necessary wall panels and stairs at the manufacturing stage to provide a safe working area to exposed edges. Temporary propping from inside the towers was used throughout the installation phase and involved a special solution for propping of walls, stairs and landings.

precast concrete drill tower installed precast concrete stair tower precast concrete wall installation

The Developer

Kier employs cutting-edge technology and applies the diverse skills of its teams to deliver high quality construction projects across all market sectors. Kier provides a comprehensive building and civil engineering service offering construction excellence to private and public-sector clients across the UK and overseas. This is complemented by a range of specialist businesses offering engineering design, interiors and refurbishments, mining, mechanical & electrical design and installation, BIM and 3D modelling.

Whether delivering a standalone project or bringing strength as part of an all-Kier team, the Construction division consistently demonstrates its flexibility, creativity and ability to deliver a standard of service and quality of product that underpins the longevity of its customer relationships. Their regional network of offices allows them to combine local knowledge with national presence, collaborating closely with every client to deliver the right result at the right price.

fire drill tower installed precast concrete fire drill tower hose precast concrete drill tower finished precast concrete fire tower water

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