Engineering contractor hopes project will demonstrate viability of steelwork reuse

Specialist engineer McGee has been asked to take apart a grade-II-listed office block near the Barbican so that its steelwork can be re-used for its replacement. 

The contractor has been appointed by project backer Castleforge to carry out deconstruction works at 1 Golden Lane in the City of London. 

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Most of McGee’s work will be on the 1980s element of the block

The existing development is comprised of a red brick and stone building, built in the 1890s to designs by Sidney Smith and Frederick, and a postmodern extension built in the 1980s. 

Half of the original 1890s building will be retained in its current form, while McGee will undertake structural demolition of some existing reinforced concrete slabs, the roof and the facade of the newer building. 

Its structural steelwork will be recertified and refabricated for use in the Hawkins\Brown-designed refurbishment, which will add 2,500 m2 of space while retaining 96% of the existing structure. 

The works involve ribbon cutting the existing beams to increase the stiffness of the section, something which has never previously been done on a reused steel section. 

McGee claims its approach will help reduce carbon and hopes the project will demonstrate the viability of steelwork reuse. 

Group managing director Seb Fossey said it was the first time any UK project had targeted exact steelwork sections to be deconstructed, de-fabricated, recertified and refabricated for use in the redevelopment of the same site. 

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“It is our hope that by successfully delivering this scheme it will demonstrate that technical solutions around steelwork reuse are commercially viable for future schemes in the capital,” he said. 

The scheme was narrowly approved by the City of London’s planning committee last November, against opposition from The Victorian Society and Islington Council, the local authority on the other side of Golden Lane. 

Islington objected to the “excessive height and mass” of the project, which would add a further three storeys to the existing nine-storey building.