Moda and Sisk complete high jump with Birmingham’s tallest residential tower



Moda and John Sisk & Son have completed Birmingham’s tallest residential tower, Moda, The Mercian. The 42-storey high tower was designed by Birmingham-based award-winning Glenn Howells Architects and delivered by Sisk at a cost of £260m. Moda, The Mercian will be home to 481 intergenerational apartments for rent, ranging from studios to three-bed apartments.  

The first major tower in Birmingham city centre at 42 storeys, Moda, The Mercian has delivered an ambitious Chicago-style building which includes 35,000 sq ft of mixed commercial, retail and leisure space.  

The project utilised state-of-the-art high-rise technology including the Doka SCP core construction rig, four-storey Hunnebeck safe screens with integrated staircase, formwork hoist and lightweight Dokadek panel falsework. It also includes 3,678 unitised panels installed, all constructed offsite.  

Moda and Sisk complete high jump with Birmingham’s tallest residential tower

The 42-storey high tower in Birmingham named Moda, The Mercian.

Moda, The Mercian comprises two concrete lift and staircase cores. The main core up to level 42 was delivered at a rate of one level per eight working days. The secondary core up to level 14 was delivered at a rate of one level per five working days. 

The project team successfully navigated its way through uncontrollable external factors, including Covid-19 and the impact of Brexit materials shortages, to deliver Moda, The Mercian without any major delays or cost increases.    

With Birmingham being the host city of the Commonwealth Games, it is fitting that Moda, The Mercian boasts a 200m podium open-air running track on the roof – one of the first of its kind in the UK and the first in Birmingham. The neighbourhood has a collection of 12 state-of-the-art penthouses at the top of the building which are named after Birmingham athletes past and present to celebrate its connection to the games.  

In addition to the rooftop running track and roof terrace, the best-in-class amenities within the development also include a 24-hour gym and studios, shared lounges and games room, private dining room, 24-hour concierge, a triple height internal atrium/events space and flexible co-working spaces. 

Moda, The Mercian is built with quality health and wellbeing at the forefront, securing a highly sought-after Fitwel 3 Star Rating. All homes are equipped with smart sensors in every home and communal space which measure sound, light, temperature, humidity, Co2 and wind speed to ensure the spaces are optimised for wellness.  

These Utopi sensors provide real-time management and ESG data benchmarked against the optimal wellness score for environmental performance and quality of living for residents. The sensors also give residents insight to their utility costs and bespoke advice on how to minimise them, as well as telling them where they rank sustainability across the neighbourhood, incentivising green behaviour. 

The development is also certified ‘Pure Green’ which means all the energy it uses is from 100% renewable sources including wind, solar and tidal power. 

Reservations for the neighbourhood opened in February this year, attracting 2,500 enquiries even before it was launched on letting platforms Rightmove and Zoopla. The first phase of the neighbourhood was fully let less than eight weeks after going live.  

Moda, The Mercian has created a long-lasting legacy in Birmingham with over 300 people hired from across The Midlands and 24 apprenticeships created for local people throughout the construction phase. 

Sisk worked closely with Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) throughout construction to create local employment. The WMCA-funded training hub at Moda, The Mercian created 140 job opportunities for local residents, equipping them with valuable skills for their future careers by offering construction training and a guaranteed job interview after completing a 20-day course. 

Moda recently announced Sisk as its preferred contractor for a second neighbourhood in Birmingham, Great Charles Street, which will deliver 720 homes for rent alongside new public realm, mixed commercial space and a range of market-leading amenities. 

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, said: “I’m pleased to be here at the brand new Mercian building. Through our funding in providing a training hub here over the last two years, we’ve helped to equip over 300 local residents with the skills they need to succeed in the modern construction industry. Not only is The Mercian Building a welcome investment which sits well with our aspirational vision for the region, it’s also a high-quality development with a running track on the roof just in time to tap into the Commonwealth Games spirit.

“A key part of my mayoral mission is to help our local residents bounce back from the hit the pandemic inflicted on us – better connecting them into the world of work as part of my 100k jobs plan.

“That’s why this new training hub is so important because if we can encourage people to take advantage of brilliant new friendly and accessible facilities like these - with all the support, advice and guidance on offer – then we will change lives and provide opportunities for people right across the West Midlands.”

Tony Brooks, Managing Director at Moda Living, said: “We’re thrilled to see Moda, The Mercian come to fruition, in a pivotal time for Birmingham’s rental market. Inspired by skyscrapers in Chicago, Moda, The Mercian has transformed the Birmingham skyline and is only the start of what Moda and Sisk will bring to the city. We thank Sisk for delivering the building to a fantastic standard without major delays or cost increases, and we look forward to working together to bring the next Moda development, Great Charles Street, to this great city.” 

Ajaz Shafi, Chief Operating Officer (COO), John Sisk & Son said: “Sisk is delighted to have delivered Moda, The Mercian, the highest residential tower in Birmingham for our client Moda., Living The quality of the finished building is a testament to our great people and supply chain partners in The Midlands, particularly against the backdrop of Covid-19. We are proud to leave a real lasting legacy at Moda, The Mercian. Working alongside Moda, WMCA, Birmingham City Council and our supply chain partners we have given local people real opportunities in the construction industry. We look forward to using this tried and tested model going forward on our upcoming Great Charles Street project.”       

Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: "Moda Living has delivered something very special right in the heart of Birmingham and Moda, The Mercian is an impressive addition to our city centre offer. In many ways this development is changing the way that people live in central Birmingham and I look forward to working with Moda in the future as the city continues to evolve into a truly exceptional global destination."