24.09.2019 New Continental headquarters: Top shuttering times thanks to Topmax and Topec

In order to complete the shell of Continental's new corporate headquarters in Hannover as quickly as possible, the ZÜBLIN team entrusted with the project, is working closely with Hünnebeck's own formwork experts during the planning and logistic stages. Most important factor: fast shuttering times. A perfectly coordinated interplay of Topmax steel-frame table forms and Topec beamless modular formwork facilitates the desired short shuttering cycles.

Hanover's largest construction site is proceeding rapidly: A total of 46,000 square meters gross floor area (GFA) comprises the new corporate headquarters of Continental AG, being built on both sides of the multi-lane Hans-Böckler-Allee, a main access road to the city center. The new Continental corporate headquarters consist of a total of eight three- and four-storey building sections that spread campus-like over the two building areas and are connected by a "loop" that winds its way through all the buildings on the second storey in the form of a figure eight. The design comes from the internationally renowned architecture firm Gunter Henn. Its highlight will be a 71 m long self-supporting bridge that straddles the main road and a tram line to interconnect the building complexes on both sides of the road.

The completion of this pre-assembled steel bridge is a one of the milestones in the construction schedule. The closure of road and tramline in autumn 2019 will initiate the ambitious timetable for the construction of the reinforced concrete skeleton structures. "We only started work on the base elements at the end of February and beginning of March; by the end of October most of the structural work will have been completed and the first cranes will be dismantled again," is how Project Manager Tim Rengers of Ed. Züblin AG describes the enormous time constraints on his construction team.

Teamwork

"For us, too, the tight schedule is the biggest challenge of this major project, both from a planning and logistics point of view," explains Hünnebeck's Project Manager in charge of construction from the nearby Laatzen location. He works closely with ZÜBLIN Project Manager Tim Rengers, visits the in-situ concrete construction site regularly and coordinates the interaction of the work in his own company. In fact, formwork experts at three Hünnebeck locations are working simultaneously on this construction project. "This is how we manage to keep the timeline for our technical and logistic schedules as tight as possible. The contract was awarded at the end of February, by the end of June we had already drawn up around 100 plans and brought the required material, including special formwork, to the construction site on schedule," he proudly reports. Tim Rengers confirms the partnership-based cooperation: "Any problems are dealt with and resolved in no time at all. We're ever ready to listen to each other."

At the moment, the maximum number of formwork systems is available on site: besides support frames, legs, props and special formwork for circular façades, there is approx. 4,300 square meters of Manto large-frame formwork for the wall surfaces, 4,500 m² of the manually operated Topec modular slab formwork and 6,000 m² of the Topmax steel-frame table forms. In previous major projects (e.g. Daimler Office in Vaihingen), ZÜBLIN has already worked very successfully with the innovative Topmax system, which is designed for safety and efficiency throughout and hence guarantees fast shuttering times, especially for large slab areas with a repetitive character. "With the 13 m²  large Topmax tables, a lot of surface can be produced very quickly", confirms project manager Rengers and goes on: "Additional time saving is provided by the simple installation of the fall protection directly at the table". It is therefore not surprising that Hünnebeck's formwork planners had right from the bidding stage adapted their formwork strategy to include repeated use of Topmax.

Optimized materials availability

From a formwork viewpoint, the construction of Continental's new corporate headquarters involves two major construction sites. The different geometries of the building complexes north and south of the main road require differing formwork strategies. Since the ground plans in the basement levels of the northern section did not allow the use of Topmax tables, crane-independent Topec modular formwork is used here as this known for its fast handling. The Topec large panel (1.80 m x 1.80 m) with 3.24 m² form surface is used above all. Thanks to the lightweight aluminium frame construction, only two laborers are needed to erect and dismantle the beamless formwork from ground-level safety in just three working steps: hook in the panel, swing up and prop into place; stripping is then carried out in reverse order. In order to optimize formwork availability, the Topec system is used throughout up to the final storey for the inner slab surfaces. The edge areas are formed with Topmax tables.

The situation is different in the southern building complex where shuttering is mainly carried out using the Topmax system, which has already been used in the basements, e.g. for the construction of the underground car park. Topec is mainly employed for infill and adjustment areas. The combination of the Topmax tables with the modular formwork is smooth and harmonious thanks to a special system component (Topec Topmax Head) by which the tables can be connected to the Topec modular formwork.

Short repositioning times

This is just one of the multifunctional connection options on the maintenance-free, only 12 cm high steel frame of the Topmax tables. They also make it possible, for example, to easily connect two tables using centring clamps or to combine them with Hünnebeck's own Protecto fall protection system. In summary: the Topmax system stands out on Continental's construction site due to its consistently time- and cost-saving practicality. This includes the short repositioning times thanks to the system's own Topmax repositioning fork, with which 26 m² of table surface can be moved in one crane lift.

In Hannover, the low overall height of the Topmax tables brought an additional technical advantage: from the first storey onwards, the lower edge of the ceiling is offset 20 cm and the upper edge by 10 cm in the border areas. If conventional wooden tables had been used, this offset could only have been achieved by doubling the formwork, which would have taken up an enormous amount of time. Thanks to Topmax, the construction team simply allows the formwork to overlap and so shutter the offset (approx. 4,500 running meters) without further effort.

A further sophisticated formwork component is currently still in the planning stage: a cantilevered slab about 12 m high and produced with Topmax tables and support from the Gass modular aluminium system. If everything goes according to plan, most of the structural work will be completed by the end of October. Project manager Rengers is sure: "We can do it."

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