MF Global, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf

A high-quality, fast-track fit-out

When City broking firm MF Global decided to move from its offices in the City of London, the clock was ticking for the contractors involved in the fit-out of the new building in Canary Wharf. There were just 31 weeks to finalise the design, procure materials and complete the project. But this was no ordinary project – much of the materials were high-quality bespoke designs and the trading floors required miles of data cabling, along with the associated cooling technology.

With no time to lose, the project management team recommended Swift on a negotiated contract to work on the fit-out – a decision that was to pay dividends. Swift worked with the design team to select products and materials which met the exacting standards of the client’s brief while offering better value for money in many aspects.

MF Global

Trading places

MF Global had chosen 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf as its new headquarters. The company was set to occupy four floors of the building – 110,000 sq ft in total. A fully fitted-out catering kitchen/staff canteen on the ground floor was also included in the project and there were three dedicated trader lifts, on-site showers plus a smaller kitchen to serve the executive suite.

MF Global was expanding rapidly and the firm wanted its new building to be future-proof. The previous offices housed 750 members of staff, most of whom were traders. The new building was designed for up to 1,000 staff so the company would have the ability to take on more traders who could get to work straight away with all the best equipment at their fingertips.

Working in such a dynamic environment meant that the client instigated design changes throughout the project. Swift’s experience ensured that the project was able to incorporate those changes and the design was robust enough to cope with no change to the end date. Swift’s Managing Director David Vaughan said: “Early procurement of main plant and equipment was a key ingredient in the success of this project and instrumental in the ability to hand over the floors on programme. In fact in certain areas we were able to respond to the client’s request to accelerate the programme to one particular floor with no additional costs.”

MF Global

Ready, willing and cable

City traders can work with up to six computer screens at any one time so getting the cabling right was key to the success of the project, and this project needed huge amounts – 377 miles of cable along with 22,000 ports. One of the early specifications was that all desks should be technically and telecoms-enabled while the company should be able to reconfigure desks when needed so the electrical design had to allow for ultimate flexibility. With significant numbers of power and infrastructure cables running under the floor, it was important to coordinate all these services to maximise air flow and ensure an even temperature. Traders cannot afford down time so load sharing and redundant paths were put in place to ensure that any failure was diverted, allowing for seamless continuity.

MF Global

Top quality

5 Churchill Place was to be MF Global’s European headquarters and everything associated with it, from materials to technology and craftsmanship, was required to be top quality. The offices had three AV conference rooms incorporating full HD video and audio conferencing, operated from a single AMX control touch pad.

The executive floors featured bespoke fittings including coloured glass panels and partitions which were hung to create a floating effect. They were chosen for their flexibility and acoustic performance as well as aesthetics. Different coloured glass panels were installed on each floor while underfoot, innovative raised access ceramic flooring on the reception area of each floor ensured a top quality finish with the added bonus of accessibility to services beneath.

MF Global

Green credentials

MF Global wanted its offices to exceed modern business requirements. The building already had an excellent carbon rating which had to be maintained as part of the design process. Therefore one of the key considerations was to use contractors and suppliers with exemplary environmental records. With its reputation for excellent green credentials, Swift was the perfect choice. Up to 90% of site waste was recycled and on completion, 5 Churchill Place was given a BREEAM Excellent rating.


MF Global was delighted with the completed building. Tom Harney, MF Global’s Head of Corporate Real Estate wrote to team: “I have never been more pleased with a major real estate project. MF Global is extremely pleased with the new facility. Compliments have been numerous and directed at all the team.”

M&E Engineers Dunwoody wrote to Swift: “You and your team successfully managed and coordinated the works, absorbing client changes and redirecting your supply chain to achieve a successful completion and on programme. You enabled a smooth occupation and created the basis of a positive ongoing relationship.”