Work has begun on Melbourne’s 466 Collins Street, the super-slim skyscraper that is set to become the world’s fourth-thinnest residential tower.

The 57-storey tower will reach heights of almost 200 metres on a site with just 11 metres of street frontage. Since the narrow site makes it impossible to construct the building in place, architects and builders have resolved to pre-fabricate sections of the tower off-site before craning them into place.

“It’s little more than the size of a townhouse block,” project manager, Tim Price, told The Age.

“It’s the hardest site we’ve ever built on. It’s 11 metres wide and 40 metres deep and has a cantilever component of another four-and-a-half metres.”

The seven-storey “luffing” crane that is being used for the construction of 466 Collins is the largest of its kind of Australia. The crane, currently installed on top of a custom-built two-level platform over St. James Lane, will be used to lift thousands of tonnes of pre-fabricated building sections into place over Western House.

The tower has been designed by architecture firm Bates Smart. On the lower levels, vertically aligned glass façade panels have been shaped to fit precisely between the two existing buildings that lie on either side of the thin site. The upper levels of the building extend over the top of these existing builds, with the two side-lying façades featuring a stepped pattern panel design.

Construction on the tower is anticipated for completion in 2019.