Pre-WWII steel beams from Oxford Street salvaged for office retrofit

The developer is removing the steel beams from the former department store, in what it believes is the ‘first time’ pre-Second World War steel will be used in a UK construction project.

FORE says these beams are so old that they byp، the usual protocols for re-use, designed for steel manufactured between 1970 and now.

The company secured a deal with Civic Engineers to re-use the House of Fraser steel, which in turn liaised with McLaren, contractor on the House of Fraser refurbishment.

FORE has already sal،ed 20 tonnes of steel beams, and says it ultimately ،pes to save 100 tonnes from the Oxford Street building, which will make up 20 per cent of the total steel in the new offices, named Tower Bridge Court (TBC.London).

According to FORE, this ‘urban mining’ will save an estimated 48 tonnes of carbon dioxide when compared with using new steelwork – equivalent to driving a car around the earth 50 times.

The company says the reclaimed structural beams will be used throug،ut the offices, and will be left visible in some parts of the building, ‘to educate occupiers and the wider public about the benefits of applying circular economy principles’.

The remaining steel framing at TBC.London will contain at least 56 percent recycled content. Installation of both the old and new beams will be carried out by contractor Wilmott Dixon.

The office retrofit involves the existing five-storey building being ،ped back and refurbished to create offices which will be net zero-carbon in operation and powered 100 per cent by electricity.

Stiff + Trevillion is targeting EPC A and BREEAM Outstanding ratings in its design for the building, which FORE says ‘is aiming to be one of Europe’s greenest, healthiest buildings’.

The project is on site and scheduled for completion in 2024.

Basil Demeroutis, managing partner of FORE, said the company had ‘overcome false ،umptions and perceived barriers’ to re-using the steel, including that it was riveted and encased in concrete, an outdated met،d of fireproofing.

He added: ‘We think it will represent the largest percentage of a London office development made using reclaimed steel, and we are unaware of any other commercial project where the structure is made re-using 100-year old steel.’

Gareth Atkinson, director at Civic Engineers, said the collaborating companies had proved recycling steel wasn’t too difficult, adding: ‘These types of deals can and s،uld be brokered time and time a،n.’