The MAC climbing system in use for the City Project Deansgate Square.

High above Manchester

Four apartment buildings at heights up to 202 m by 2020: the city centre redevelopment project Deansgate Square. In use for a total of 194 storeys: the automatic MAC climbing system from MEVA

Data & Facts

  • Project 

    Deansgate Square, Manchester, England

  • Principal / construction company 

    Renaker/Renaker Build Limited

  • Architects 

    SimpsonHaugh and Partners

  • MEVA systems 

    AluStar wall formwork, Mammut 350 wall formwork, Automatic MAC climbing system

  • Engineering and support 

    MEVA Formwork Systems Ltd, Great Britain, MEVA Formwork Systems Pte Ltd, Singapore


The MEVA climbing system from MAC in use for a high-rise building.

Four apartment buildings at heights up to 202 m by 2020

In use for a total of 194 storeys: the automatic MAC climbing system


Living space for the future

The Deansgate Square project at the southern edge of Manchester city centre is considered to be part of the master plan for the vision of urban living in the future. Hence, urban planners and architects have come up with a holistic concept at the heart of which are four residential towers at heights of up to 202 metres. Besides the 1,508 apartments in the immediate vicinity of the River Medlock, a separate district of the city is coming into being with recreational facilities including a swimming pool, a cinema, a hotel, restaurants and shops. A large part of the grounds will be open to the public and is thus intended to form a seamless transition between the private and public areas.

Planning is the key to success

“A project of this size is predestined for the automatic MAC climbing system in conjunction with Mammut 350 wall formwork,” explains Richard Harradine, managing director of MEVA Formwork Systems, and adds: “The MAC system can be adapted from cycle to cycle even to compensate for floor plans that differ in detail or special shapes such as varying door openings.” 1,000 m2 of Mammut 350 were used for the wall formwork – ideal for uniform storey heights of 2.85 m. Precise coordination with all participants is exceed-ingly important for the successful use of the automatic climbing system. “Once the system is at the construction site, everything has to be perfect,” stresses Adrian Serban, who is super-vising the project for MEVA on the spot. To guarantee this, a highly specialised team of MAC specialists were involved in the planning in Singapore and Staffordshire. The exchange of information with Renaker Build Ltd at an early stage was an additional advantage for the project.

Hot phase before the start of construction

As soon as the finished construction plans are available, the technicians and structural engineers begin the concrete design and calculation of the automatic climbing system. Basic components such as control hydraulics, platforms, steel girders or working platforms are part of the standard equipment of every MAC system. Nevertheless, it is necessary to plan, inspect and adapt the systems afresh for every single construction project to suit the architecture of the building. The “design package” with – as in Manchester – more than 100 plans is closely coordinated between MEVA and the construction company before production and materials procurement can begin. Furthermore, safety requirements apply, which are particularly strict in the UK. However, the MAC system meets these as a matter of course due to MEVA’s high standards.

Double deployment

Four MAC systems for four high-rise buildings would be a logical assumption in order to rapidly complete the residential towers of between 37 and 66 storeys. However, costs also play a major role in a prestige building project. Hence, the decision-makers at Renaker Build Ltd opted to erect the four buildings into the sky above Manchester using two systems. “That means that after completion of the first building the complete units must be relocated,” explained Adrian Serban, and added: “Admittedly, it sounds more complicated than it is. Only the formwork panels are cleaned and checked for damage. The MAC system is then immediately moved into position on the new building core.”

One storey in up to five days

After the move to the new foundation, the crucial phase begins with the first cycle – always a kind of maiden voyage for the MAC system on its upward journey. “That is always the most exciting part of such a project,” emphasises Serban. “If all goes well, climbing proceeds at a remarkable pace.“ “On average we manage to complete each 2.85 m high storey within four to five days,” confirms Rory Murphy, project manager at Renaker Build, with obvious satisfaction. The uppermost of the four working platforms is then moved upwards by nine hydraulic cylinders, each with a capacity of 200 kN. The process takes about 60 minutes per storey (up to 4 m). The rest is more or less routine – not least thanks to the know-how and the competent support provided by the MEVA specialists, who visit the construction site regularly.


To erect the four high-rise buildings, two automatic MAC climbing systems have been in use in the building cores since the end of 2016. The start is being made with blocks A and D with 66 and 47 storeys respectively. After completion in the middle of 2019, Block A will be the highest residential building in the UK. Blocks B and C will follow this year and next year. Over 1,000 m² of MEVA’s Mammut 350 wall formwork are also being used.

High-rise at Deansgate Square in Manchster.
Climbing formwork is working on two high-rise buildings.
Skyscraper that towers above the clouds.