Meridian Water 'drumsheds'
Project summary: Major London regeneration project
Location: Enfield, London
Project type: Residential/Infrastructure
Completion: Start on site in 2023
- Enfield Council (client)
- Turner & Townsend (cost consultant/project management)
- Stace (cost consultant/project management)
- Vinci Taylor Woodrow (pre-construction services)
- Net Positive Solutions (demolition audit, sustainability consultant)
- Excess Materials Exchange (digital platform provider)
- This is a case study where steel reuse was considered, but it was deemed unlikely to be feasible.
- Enfield Council’s Meridian Water project is a £6bn flagship regeneration project in Edmonton that will provide 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs in the borough. The Strategic Infrastructure Works are funded by DLUHC‘s Housing Infrastructure fund.
- In this project, Enfield Council suggested and wished to investigate the possibility to reuse steel from eight industrial sheds, called the ‘drumsheds’. However, due to the estimated increased demolition time and related costs, it is unlikely to happen. Another setback to steel reuse was that some of the steelwork is pre-1970s and therefore does not comply with steel reuse protocol P427.
- A demolition audit by Net Postive Solutions estimated that there are 1,100 tonnes of steelwork available in the drumsheds, of which 900 tonnes are primary and 200 tonnes are secondary steelwork. Assuming a 20% cutting loss gives an overall estimate of reusable primary steelwork of 720 tonnes.
- A digital platform – The Excess Materials Exchange (EME) – was developed to facilitate the reuse of materials. Information on available products is uploaded on the platform before the deconstruction, enabling the salvaging of materials that would normally go to recycling or waste.
- Potential to use some steel recovered from the drumsheds within Meridian Water projects, and to sell the remaining steel on the market for reuse in other projects was asssessed. These options were identified:
- Four recipient projects for primary and secondary steelwork were identified for re-use of re-fabricated steel, within the Meridian Water project.
- Half of the structure and cladding from Drumshed 2 was planned to be sold to Brogan Group for re-erection on a site in Cambridgeshire.
- The remaining steel was planned to be sold to stockholder Cleveland Steel and Tubes or EMR for reuse in other projects.
- From information from Cleveland Steel and Tubes, the cost of reclaimed steel is lower than the cost of new steel.
- However, due to the lower reclaimed costs versus the increased dismantling time and costs, these options are not due to go ahead.
- Reusing steel across Meridian Water projects could have saved approximately 464 tonnes of embodied carbon, which equates to a carbon offsetting cost benefit (at £245/tCO2) of £113k.
Key drivers for steel reuse
The asset owner, Enfield Council, was driven by circular economy objectives and targets within the Meridian Water Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
Lessons learned, challenges and critical success factors
- Conducting an early pre-redevelopment/pre-demolition audit is beneficial; this needs to be a strategic document enabling the development team to react to it early in the process.
- It is important to include steel reuse in the procurement process at the very early stage of the project, as making changes later can be challenging. In this project, the idea of reusing structural steel from drumsheds was not included in the project from the very beginning. However, as the project progressed, the team became more knowledgeable about sustainable opportunities, and they realised the potential for reusing the drumsheds.
- Circular economy aims embedded in complex supply chain relationships. Adding aims mid way within a complex supply chain is problematic. Learning from this one could build in an innovation process in the contract, whereby contracts are wet up with more connection between the elements of the value chain. Forums could help connect specialists, main contractor and demolition contracts too.
- Early appointment of specialist circular economy consultant can help embed the circular economy into the structure of the supply chain relationships, as well as all organisations having sustainability appointments or ‘reach-back’ for within their commissions.
- Early engagement with the supply chain is critical and can help push transparency, knowledge sharing and cost reductions.
- Getting access to demolition contractors knowledge early in the project is very important, as well as having a champion for steel reuse within the demolition company and wider industry. Forums and events may help.
- Understanding the innovation. Steel reuse is at quite an early stage of development. Understanding the idea of steel reuse and repurposing is evolving and unevenly distributed throughout the industry, as is an appetite for innovation. There is little inherent transparency in the value chain related to this, and only a few companies are engaged with steel reuse.
- Cost pressures changing over time. The cost pressures on the project changed over time. Initially, there was an identified savings for steel reuse, but as other pressures came to bear on the project, these were removed, with a substantial cost incurred. The team looked for other funding and tried to cover the additional cost with additional income.
This case study was compiled based on interviews with Enfield Council, and Cleveland Steel and Tubes, and published data, as part of the DISRUPT project (Delivering Innovative Steel ReUse ProjecT).
* Carbon savings were calculated based on the LCA of reclaimed steel by Cleveland Steel and Tubes. This includes inbound transport impact to the stockholder’s yard and excludes outbound transport impact to the construction site.
- Enfield Council. 2022. Deconstruction and Surveys. [Poster]. Circular Steel, 30 June 2022, London