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CIBSE YEN London - Visit to South Bank Tower

By Sarvesh Malhotra on 19th November 2015


CIBSE YEN’s continued endeavour to enhance the expertise and share knowledge across the engineers in the industry lead to an exciting opportunity to present an exclusive visit to Southbank Tower. Previously known as the King’s reach Tower, home to IPC magazines, this 1970’s derelict 31 storey office building was refurbished and revived to a 42 storey retail-office-cum-luxury residential tower with startling views across London’s skyline including St. Pauls Cathedral and London Eye (images above and below).

From digging a new basement level for Energy Centre comprising of 535kW combined heat and power plant (CHP), five 3750kW modular boilers to achieve the required turndown ratio with both heating systems capable of exporting excess energy to adjacent Rennie court and River court, to sharing a common car park with the adjacent Rennie court and forming new cores for services', Southbank Tower has had numerous challenges due to its pre-existing structure and location, making use of the highest temporary external staircase at the time.

Rated as a BREEAM Excellent building, the design was meticulous to create more internal floor space by reducing the original concrete core by almost a 50%. As an existing waffle structure, the building posed many restrictions, one of the critical is the size of penetrations that could be accommodated for all the services especially as the main plant room was located in the basement whilst 30 drainage stacks discharged at the bottom of this 42 storey building. A template approach for pre-coordinated services entry points cut into the new structural steelwork, most prefabricated plant in the energy centre (image below), prefab pipework and prefab bathroom pods for apartments streamlined and fastened the site installation.

The building has sectional handover with PC due in early 2016. At the time of site visit, some parts were occupied already and it was interesting to hear the arduous challenges posed by a live site to satisfy Fire safety, Fire Brigade and Building control requirements ensuring tenant safety.

The design for Southbank Tower was a masterpiece in itself, rejuvenating it back to life. Glad that CIBSE YEN can be a part of this knowledge sharing platform for young engineers to learn from the complexities of todays’ built environment and contribute in designing holistically increasing the industry standards. And lastly, thanks to all the attendees in ensuring we had a full turnout making the best use of this opportunity (image below).