More than 70 towers were approved in 2018

View from City Hall in 2026

View of the City of London's eastern tall buildings cluster as it is expected to appear from the south bank of the River Thames by 2026

The number of tall towers in London where construction is expected to wrap up this year is set to soar, according to new research.

New London Architecture’s 2019 London Tall Buildings survey has revealed that while the number of planning applications for tall buildings in 2018 fell slightly the number of approvals grew. 

The number of applications decreased from 78 in 2017 to 75 in 2018, but the number of tall towers granted planning increased to 72 from 63.

Meanwhile, the NLA revealed that 76 towers with 20 storeys or more were due to be finished in the capital this year, up from 25 in 2018. 

Scalpel topping out

KPF's Scalpel tops out

But the report said the high number of expected completions in 2019 was boosted by the fact that only half of the 50 towers that were due to complete last year were actually finished. 

It said: "This has resulted in a push back of completions towards 2019, with 76 buildings expected. Further analysis has indicated that tall buildings are taking longer to complete. This can be for multiple reasons, such as skills shortages, changing project delivery timescales and financial viability issues."


Construction started on 38 tall buildings in 2018, a decrease of two from the previous year

>> Also read: London's tower pipeline breaks 500 mark for first time

Meanwhile the survey also revealed that six towers that were finished last year took longer than the average construction programme of 28 months.

Simpson Haugh's One Blackfriars, which was developed by Berkeley, took longest, with main contractor Multiplex taking four years and seven months to build the 50-storey residential tower. 

The other five projects were Maccreanor Lavington's nearby Blackfriars Circus residential scheme, City office tower The Scalpel, built by Skanska and designed by KPF, Suttonca Architects' 33-storey Stratford Central scheme for Telford Homes, SOM's Manhattan Loft Gardens in Stratford, built by Bouygues, and the Foster & Partners-designed Principal Place, built by Multiplex, in Shoreditch.


One Blackfriars, designed by Simpson Haugh