British Airways, Brighton i360 Viewing Tower

Brighton, England

Project Summary

British Airways Brighton i360 is a 162-metre moving observation tower on Brighton’s seafront, near the remains of the former West Pier. From its fully enclosed viewing pod, visitors can experience 360-degree views of Brighton, the South Downs and the English Channel. The pod ascends and descends the tower spire, holding up to 200 people at a time. This was a complex project, with several international firms working on design and construction.

MGAC's Role

MGAC joined the project as Quantity Surveyor following the construction of the spire as base works were about to begin. As designs changed, we provided cost advice for the new instructions and brought the final account to a fair, reasonable close.


Many non-standard construction methods and technologies were needed to pull off such a unique build. Fortunately, we work across all sectors and had a broad range of transferable experience. One key objective was to pair modern, glass design elements with heritage-style features. We had to find cost-effective ways to achieve a Regency look and feel, in keeping with Brighton’s history.

When we were brought on board, there were numerous instructions and financial pressures on the scheme which required review. We could see opportunities for compromise and negotiation. Through diligent work, we were able to reduce initial cost plans by several times our fee.

Success Factors

Our financial advice was incisive and reliable, but our local roots took our service to another level.

The professional team was made up of a variety of European firms. Our local knowledge and relationships were great assets. We could integrate the design team with local contractors, and we had valuable connections. Previous projects for Brighton and Hove Council gave us an awareness of seafront conditions, and we were able to keep an active presence on-site through regular visits from our local office.

Landscaping Work

When Brighton’s West Pier was destroyed by arson in 2003, several of its 19th Century, cast-iron columns were salvaged. In a separate landscaping contract for Brighton and Hove Council, MGAC oversaw works to restore and reinstate 24 of these columns. They now stand in a Golden Spiral just east of the Brighton i360, a token of the seafront’s past.