Huge steel trusses arrive for One Centenary Way at Paradise

2 October 2020
Paradise is one of the UK’s most significant commercial development projects outside of London. The next phase of construction begins with the arrival of huge steel trusses.  


Ramboll. Gary Corden

Gary Corden

Associate Structural Engineer
T: +44 7870 807 736
Ramboll. Paola Casagrande. Image courtesy of Paulina Sobczak Photography

Paola Casagrande

Team Director, Building Structures
T: +44 7866 981 373

The 16 trusses, totalling 1,156 tonnes, are amongst the largest ever designed and constructed in the UK for a commercial building and have been fabricated at a specially-expanded factory in southern Scotland before being brought to the heart of Birmingham by road.  The trusses are the key components of the structural frame and allow the 16-storey building to span across the live A38 Queensway dual carriageway tunnel without any impact on the road below.  

Gary Corden, Associate Structural Engineer, says: 

“The installation of the steel trusses spanning the A38 tunnel marks a hugely significant milestone for the project, providing the platform from which One Centenary Way can be constructed.  The building’s bold architectural design features vierendeel exoskeleton frames that provide vertical and lateral stability to the structure. 

Our talented engineers designed the trusses to provide support to the building’s highly complex structural frame and worked closely with our construction partners to develop the final design solution.  The erection of the trusses is the culmination of years of design and planning and is a credit to the whole design and construction team.” 

How the trusses got there 

The giant lorries used to transport the trusses have begun arriving on site after making the 280-mile journey from BHC Steel in Carnwath, Lanarkshire, under full police escort with road and motorway lane closures in place. This has allowed the trusses to make their way to the West Midlands with minimum disruption.  

A 1,200 tonne mobile crane – also one of the largest operating in the UK – has been erected over the past week to allow the trusses to be installed. The crane has a full reach of 89 metres and will be able to lift the trusses into place to create a table for the building to be constructed on. The largest truss measures 34.6 metres in length and 5.2 metres wide and the heaviest weighs in at 119 tonnes 

More about the One Centenary Way project   

Ramboll has a broad role on this project, appointed to provide multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental consultancy services to Sir Robert McAlpine and is responsible for completing the detailed design of this iconic building, allowing the development potential of a highly constrained site to be unlocked. 

Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine started work on One Centenary Way last winter and the latest work follows the extensive enabling and foundation works that have taken place already to allow construction of the new 280,000 sq ft commercial building to progress.  

One Centenary Way will overlook the transformed Centenary Square and its unique, exposed steel exoskeleton frame will provide a striking visual gateway to Paradise and become a major new landmark for the city.  

Designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects, One Centenary Way incorporates three-metre wide horizontal windows, encased within an exposed structural steel façade. The innovative, structural-led design is a response to the complex site location. The building will offer large office floorplates of up to 22,500 sq ft as well as retail space at ground floor level.  More about One Centenary Way

Rob Groves, regional director with Argent, said:

“One Centenary Way is a truly exemplary building that I am convinced will become one of the city’s major landmarks. There’s nothing else quite like it in terms of design and it will not only mark out Paradise, but also this whole area of the city centre. With the delivery of the trusses we see the practical application of one part of our vision not just for this building, but the whole scheme.”  



Related projects

One Centenary Way

Landmark commercial building at the gateway to Paradise development, Birmingham.

Paradise Phase One Enabling and Public Realm Works

Paradise, Birmingham

Paradise is described as the most important development Birmingham has seen in a generation. The project will deliver ten new buildings and three public squares, creating a vibrant mix of commercial, residential, leisure and hotel spaces.  

One Chamberlain Square

One Chamberlain Square is the first building to be completed as part of Phase One of the Paradise development in Birmingham city centre. 


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