PROJECT COMPLETED

Walbrook Square

  • ClientBloomberg/Stanhope PLC
  • Duration 2008 to 2014

McGee demolishes the old to make way, and prepare, for the new Bloomberg UK Headquarters

Background

The construction of Bucklersbury House, Walbrook Square in the early 1950’s represented a significant Landmark in the architectural history of the City of London.

Built in the heart of what is today London’s teaming Financial District, it was the first to smash the centuries old 100ft height limit and rejected the historic pattern of the street in favour of a freer, more dynamic and modern composition of building elements. Its completion marked a ‘breakthrough’ in the Square Mile’s acceptance of a new commercial style, long advocated by planners and architects.

During its construction in 1954, the ancient Temple of Mithras from the Roman city of Londonium was discovered and subsequently dug up, as the contractors worked their way through almost two millennia of rubble. Sadly, the temple was relocated so building works could continue.

Today, following demolition of Bucklersbury House, Temple Court Tower, 71 Queen Victoria Street and 69-75 Cannon Street, construction of two high-grade, 10-storey office buildings is well underway. The offices will become Bloomberg’s new 662,755 sq ft European Headquarters – known as ‘Bloomberg Place’.

In addition to office space, the new development will also include a retail arcade, lined with restaurants and shops. Furthermore, the developers will also build a new entrance to the London Underground, Bank station.

Construction work is expected to complete in early 2016 with all circa 2,500 Bloomberg employees taking occupation by the end of that year.

A key part of the plans by Foster + Partners has been the promise to realign the remains of the Temple of Mithras to its original London home after nearly 60 years. A new entrance and a display space will ensure it can be seen by the public.

Developers and architects are keen to demonstrate a sensitivity to the environment and also, particularly in the case of central London, a consideration of historic context. Their sensitivity has won many fans, not least those in the Ancient Monuments sector.

The Challenge

McGee was commissioned in 2008 by the client to provide Decontamination, Demolition and Civil Engineering services in readiness for construction of the new Bloomberg Place development.

As leading specialists in working on large, complex, inner-city commercial projects, the scale of the project was never underestimated.

The demolition of a building can almost be as complicated as the construction of one, particularly when it is surrounded by delicate and historic neighbours, major sewers and London Underground lines – as is the case with Walbrook Square.

In keeping with the philosophy of the development, demolishing the structures in an environmentally sustainable fashion was of the utmost importance.

Due to the site being of extensive archaeological interest, full co-operation with MoLA was of huge importance. We have actively assisted archaeologists in their quest to reveal details about our country’s history.

The Solution

Our highly trained, knowledgeable and experienced teams have worked over 5 years on the Walbrook project, providing the specialist services that we are renowned for; safely and cost effectively.

Operating one of the UK’s largest and most diverse ranges of plant, transport and equipment, we have been able to ensure efficiency and reliability in the execution of our work. Great emphasis has also been placed on effective logistics management.

Innovative noise, dust and vibration monitoring equipment was implemented as a priority and has been maintained on site throughout the course of the works to minimise disruption and damage to the local economy, surrounding area and the environment. Also as part of minimising disruption, our own neighbourhood liaison officer negotiated and agreed ‘noisy’ times and ‘quiet’ times with local businesses.

To allow MoLA to excavate Roman archaeology, extensive temporary works had to be installed.

The Result

To date, McGee has completed the following programme of works:

2008 – Soft strip and asbestos removal, including structural investigations. Due to the recession, works were then put on hold.

2010 – Contract awarded to demolish all RC structures within the footprint of the site, down to the ground floor slab. The works required a fully sheeted scaffold to all elevations and the erection of 4 tower cranes to undertake the demolition. All works were completed on programme.

2011 – Contract awarded to undertake the below ground demolition and enabling works for the new entrance to Bank Station.

2012 – Contract awarded for the pile and concrete foundation enabling works. This involved the design and fabrication of complex temporary works to hold up the highways surrounding the site.

To allow MoLA to excavate extensive Roman archaeology, to a depth of 10m below street level, temporary works had to be installed. The excavation uncovered around 10,000 Roman artefacts.

Demolition work over the live Thames Water, 2.4m diameter sewer, and surgical removal of portions of slab was carried out in preparation for the new foundations.

2013 – To allow the new B3 basement to be constructed, excavation works had to be carried out, adjacent to the Queen Victoria Street elevation. This required extensive temporary works to support the existing retaining walls and the London Underground (Waterloo & City Line) tunnel.

To enable the construction of the London Underground escalator entrance to connect with Bank Station, temporary works were installed and excavation (25m below street level) was carried out.

Benefits Delivered

Community Liaison

Our liaison policy offers a visible and approachable entity on the project site, keeping local stakeholders aware and educated about the works. The wellbeing of local residents and uninterrupted operation of local businesses is a priority on all projects that we undertake.

Resources

We ensure that all plant and vehicles are carefully monitored, maintained and operated, according to strict procedures. By maintaining modern and reliable equipment, we ensure efficiency for the benefit of our clients and reliability in the execution of the projects. We are always looking for ways in which to improve the efficiency and safety of our fleet.

Engineering Expertise

We continually evaluate new technologies and innovations to allow us to support our clients’ varying demolition requirements.

With more than 50 years’ experience, McGee has continued to be at the forefront of change. We have an established reputation as specialists in our field, to which we are proud to have undertaken many complex demolition projects. Our high levels of success are achieved through consistently delivering and striving for improvement by listening to the needs of our clients.

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Services covered

  • Decontamination
  • Demolition
  • Civil Engineering

Market

  • Commercial

Scope of Work

  • Removal of all asbestos and contaminants
  • Demolition of structures down to basement slab
  • Soft strip of all buildings on site
  • Temporary works and sheet piling
  • Extensive archaeological investigation works and attendance
  • Continuous monitoring of dust, vibration, noise and vehicle movements to minimise environmental impact and disruption to neighbouring buildings / businesses
  • Neighbourhood liaison maintained throughout the course of the project