With thanks to Marks Barfield Architects (MBA) for providing the content for this case study
The main ambition of Marks Barfield Architects is to move from a linear to a circular economy, mining the Anthropocene and identifying as many reuse opportunities as possible to reduce both upfront and life cycle embodied carbon, waste in the built environment and respect planetary boundaries.
MBA’s innovative approach shifted to a circular economy by adopting the donor-recipient building model at 22 Baker Street. Emphasizing retrofit and reuse, three main avenues were explored: reusing materials in situ, relocating within the building, or donating to a nearby charity/recipient project. The aim was to prevent downcycling and promote upcycling wherever feasible. Extensive site investigations and audits at 22 Baker Street facilitated the creation of a material inventory and development of existing material passports.
Initial challenges involved storage limitations and certification issues affecting costs and time, particularly with sensitive items like internal fire doors. However, collaboration across industries ensured project success, partnering with a deconstruction contractor and experts. These collaborations have led to further successes in knowledge sharing and action to push for a circular built environment, particularly Lawmens, the deconstruction contractor, with whom MBA are currently working on several exciting initiatives. This includes a deconstruction pocketbook for reused material specification and on-site feasibility evaluation for reuse.
- Over 135,000 kg CO₂e saved through reuse
- Appriximaely £350,000 saved through reuse
- Reuse of internal fire doors including being re-certified
- Large carbon savings through reuse of rasied access flooring
- Deconstructed materials were stored a Lazari premises
- Deconstructed materials not reused in the projects were used for other projects, like the Oasis Nature Building
- Collaboration with demolition contractor to ensure the success of reuse
- Creation of a deconstruction pocketbook in progress
- 20% additional time spent upfront on systematizing reuse in RIBA Stages 1-3, which had significant financial benefits later on and time saved on stages 4-5
- Additonal benefit of material cost and lead time certainty for reuse elements for future projects
22 Baker Street
|CAT A fit out
Gross internal area (post refurbishment)
2372 m² GIA
Completed (Dec 23)
Cost per sqm
Total project cost
|Lazari Investments Ltd
|Engineers and consultants
Structural Engineer: The Morton Partnership. MEP Engineer: GLP
Hambury Hird Design
- Reuse in-situ and in materials existing form is usually better.
- Spend more time upfront in the early design stages, getting experts and relevant parties involved earlier including a de-construction contractor to find a clear path for reuse.
- Clearly plan out risks and make the client and team aware of these, put in place a plan to mitigate these and get as much surveying and auditing done at early stages.
- Certifications and warranty life of some materials make them difficult to reuse in situ. Consult relevant experts such as fire consultants at the earliest stage or the original suppliers/ manufacturers for a take back scheme.
- Key practicalities are storage, logistics and standardisation of reuse inventory and system to be able to log and redistribute materials.
- Ensure good records of manufacture, supplier and certification are kept through material passports. Particularly with respect to sensitive materials such as fire rated items.
- Currently good reuse Hosts are usually small community/ charity projects, but the aim is to make urban mining mainstream in all sectors.
- Reuse items will need a demand – otherwise will sit in a warehouse gathering dust. Architects have an agency here to be innovative in their designs for reuse.
- Designing for deconstruction is paramount – ensure you build in layers and anything you build into the space can be easily removed from the floorplate (Floor to ceiling goods lifts useful in new projects, or design in standard, sensibly sized components).
|Internal fire doors
|Reused from this project. Originally installed 2002-2020. Floors BA, LGF, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04
|75 doors (mostly fire)
|3900 kg CO₂e
|Timber MDF doors with paint finish. Some with glass vision panels. Range of handles and kickplates. Mostly Stainless steel.
Reused from this project. Originally installed 2002-2020. Floor 02
3855 kg CO₂e
Glazed balustrade with round metal handrail capping at top. Manifestation detail on glass.
Balustrade had to be altered to suit new designs for prospective tenant, with the metal handrail trimmed to remove mitred end. Carefully removed existing handrail up to first joint past column and replace with longer piece salvaged from length of balustrade being removed, cut to size with stop end in matching finish. Difficult to disassemble for reuse.
Large sections of glass are more difficult for reuse and permanent manifestations mean new tenants were reluctant to reuse the balustrades. When installing new materials ensure we design in manageable sections with deconstructable/ removable finishes for flexible reuse in future.
Wood veneered bulkhead
Reused from this project. Originally installed 2002. Floor 01
98 kg CO₂e
Pre veneered oak MDF – laquered/stained with MDF back board – white semi matt.
Refurbished acoustic timber slat panel constructed of softwood frame with MDF backing panel. 25mm mineral wool acoustic insulation added to suit acoustic requirements within frame and acoustic felt covering over the top.
Exposed fixings made slats easy to disassemble and reuse, while adding acoustic material behind as per acoustician specification.
External doors (metal and timber)
Reused from this project. Originally installed 2002. Floors 00, BA, LGF, 05
917 kg CO₂e
Limited information on previous manufacturers suppliers. Doors as follows:
Timber/ metal doors generally suitable for reuse/ upcycle, precious metals from ironmongery should be reused in form before exploring other reuse options such as melting down and reforming.
MDF wall cladding
Reused from this project. Originally installed 2002. Floors LFD, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04
2145.5 kg CO₂e
MDF cladding panels mechanically fixed to timber framing behind. Painted RAL 3001 generally. Base of cladding has alumnium skirting detail consisting of 3 bars of aluminium routed into MDF board.
Generally in quite bad condition before repairs in 2023, with broken aluminium, chips and scratches on the mdf panels. These have been repaired and the skirting refixed and made good. The panels inside the cores were removed and refitted to allow for new timber doors to the WCs.
Generally simple to deconstruct due to mechanical fixings. Aluminium skirting means they are difficult to reform/ cut down in size if so needed.
Existing steel beams and intumescent paint
Reused from this project. Originally installed 2002. Floors LFD, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04
269.1 kg CO₂e per unit
Existing castellated steel I beams with intumescent paint finish.
All steel beams are fire protected with intumescent coating Firetex M78 of unknown dry film thickness.
Existing intumescent paint coating generally in good condition except for some small zones where local scratching and damage is found to beam flanges.
Existing intumescent coating retained and all local damages and defects to fire protection coating made good and repaired by a compatible fire protection system.
Ensure good records of fire rated products are kept (product details, manufacturer/ supplier) to refurbish with compatible products and assess the existing viability.
Feature stair structure
Reused from this project. Originally installed 2002. Floors 00-01
Amounts (e.g. tonnes, targeted and actual)
2018 kg CO₂e
Unknown (Refurbishment cost circa £101,415.50)
Ultimet Group (refurbishment company)
Curved steel staircase for one office sized floor with glass treads, painted steel stringers and glass balustrade. Only the steel stringers and structure was reused in situ and recladded. The treads and balustrade were recycled.
Alteration of existing curved stair consisting of glass open treads and glass balustrade slotted into clamping channel formed in the steel stringers modified to receive new wooden treads and metal guarding formed of steel hollow tube balusters. Carefully removed existing glass balustrade, metal handrail and glass treads without damaging the stringers and stair structural elements. Prepared existing steel stringers to receive new paint finish, new wood treads and metal
guarding formed of steel hollow tube balusters.
Generally ease of disassembly due to bolt fixings between stringers and treads.
Raised access floors
Reused from this project. Originally installed 2002. Floors LFD, 01, 02, 03, 04
121,634 kg CO₂e
RMF (refurbishment company)
Chipboard core encased in steel; acoustic pads provided where necessary. Reused steel tiles from original building, new second-hand pedestals from new manufacturer.
Deconstructed onsite, taken offsite to be cleaned, refurbished, retested, and recertified by RMF before reinstating.
Ensure height adjustment bolts are not glued on pedestals to increase reusability.
ASBP's Reuse Now Campaign
This case study is part of ASBP’s Reuse Now Campaign. The campaign builds upon the ASBP-led DISRUPT project, which is exploring the innovative reuse of structural steel in construction through the creation and adoption of new circular business models. Project partners and supporters include reuse stalwarts Cleveland Steel & Tubes, global construction specialist ISG, National Federation of Demolition Contractors, and Grosvenor, the world’s largest privately-owned international property business.
ASBP has been working on the topic of material reuse for nearly 10 years, with past activities including the Re-Fab House feasibility study, research with University of Cambridge identifying the barriers to structural steel reuse, and more recently, a sold-out Reuse Summit.
This previous experience is further enhanced with in-house expertise from Technical Director Dr. Katherine Adams and Research Associate Dr. Asselya Katenbayeva, who bring 25+ years of academic and industry-focussed research and development on the topics of waste, reuse and circular economy.