Elephant & Castle Town centre redevelopment

Elephant & Castle Town centre redevelopment

Project summary: Town centre redevelopment

Location: Southwark, London

Key information

Project type: Commercial/residential

Size: 70,144 sq m

Completion: Construction works started in 2022 and expect to complete in 2026.

Stakeholders involved:

  • Delancey (developer)
  • WSP (structural engineer)
  • Allies and Morrison (architect)
  • Multiplex (main contractor)
  • EMR (reclaimed steel stockholder and supplier)

Project description

  • A new town centre is emerging at Elephant and Castle. This is a complex, long-term regeneration project that involves the redevelopment of the 1960s Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and an adjacent University Arts London (UAL) site.
  • The project includes four buildings, and steel reuse is planned to be incorporated into three of them:
    • E2 and E3 are residential concrete-based buildings with steelwork on the roofs.
    • E4 is a commercial building (cinemas, shops, and restaurants) with steel-based construction.
  • The total designed steel for the E2, E3, and E4 buildings is estimated at 372 tonnes. Approximately 26% (96 tonnes) of this steel will be reclaimed steel.  
  • Demolition works that commenced in October 2020 are now complete. The first major construction works began in February 2022, with the second phase (E1, E2 and E3 buildings) targeted to be complete by 2026 and the third phase (E4 building) by 2030.

Key drivers for steel reuse

The main contractor suggested integrating steel reuse, which was strongly supported by the designer and the client. The overarching goal was to achieve a low-carbon solution.

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Amount of steel reused

At least 96 tonnes with the potential to increase this further

Embodied carbon savings

At least 160 tonnes of CO2 with the potential to increase this further

Business considerations

Reclaimed steel procurement route: Reclaimed steel is procured from steel stockholder EMR.

Information available on reclaimed steel: Steel sections were procured with the required size and capacity loads.

Quality of reclaimed steel,  testing and certification: The reclaimed steel procured from EMR will be tested, CE/UKCA marked and reprocessed reaching ‘new’ condition.

Warranty issues: EMR will provide reclaimed steel with CE/UKCA mark. Bespoke steel specification is based on the testing of the reused steel from a qualified and insured testing agency. A steel fabricator will issue a manufacturing warranty for the reused steel. Structural engineer provides professional indemnity assurances.

Cost of reclaimed steel versus new steel: Reclaimed steel was procured at a lower price than new steel. This reduction is to allow for additional fabrication that is required to utilise the reused steel.

Economical implications of steel reuse: Steel reuse will be cost-neutral in this project. There are material savings due to steel being cheaper than new. There is an additional effort due to extra planning, coordinating and iterative design but all parties are motivated to make reuse work in a cost-neutral manner.

Lessons learned, challenges and critical success factors

  • The key enabler for steel reuse in this project was that the main contractor had extended lead time allowing for more time and effort to initiate and coordinate steel reuse. This is a large-scale project with predominantly (95%) concrete-based construction, and steel is a very small package that does not need to be completed for a couple of years.
  • Main contractor Multiplex approached structural engineer WSP with the idea of steel reuse, which was supported by the client. The design was already defined, and to facilitate steel reuse, WSP has developed a digital tool that matches the available steel with the design requirements. The tool uses an optimisation algorithm based on set parameters including capacity, depth, and weight of steel sections, to maximise the amount of reused steel.
  • EMR, a stockholder, provided a list of available steel sections which were analysed using the matching tool. So far, 26% of the total steelwork has been identified for reuse. These are exact matches specified in the design with no changes in section sizes or splicing required. With EMR constantly increasing their stocklist, the matching tool used by WSP can quickly identify which reclaimed sections can be further used for the project without affecting the design. WSP has already gone through two additional stocklists and is confident that they can increase the total tonnage of reused steel on this project in the coming year.
  • There are some slight iterations to the design, such as minor (about 50 ml) geometric changes to the steel section, which are agreed upon with the architect. More communication are required with the architect about the aesthetics of the E4 building which is designed with exposed steel. Whereas, in the other buildings (E2 and E3), the steel in the roof is concealed, so there are fewer concerns over changing sections, having sections sliced or with holes.
  • The use of the matching tool helps the designer communicate with the architect. WSP have integrated the tool into the Revit software. The designer can do the matching and replacement suggestions and then send the drawing model to the architect, so it is presented visually rather than as a list of sheets.
  • This project demonstrates the success of steel reuse driven by the main contractor and supported by the client and the designer. To facilitate steel reuse in construction projects, the use of reclaimed materials should be specified early in the design and tender stages.

This case study was compiled based on the interviews with Multiplex and WSP, and published data, as part of the DISRUPT project (Delivering Innovative Steel ReUse ProjecT).

Further information

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