20 Gracechurch Street, LondonThis office refit expresses its occupant's eco-friendly ambitions.
Report from – Jo Smit
The decision to refurbish nine floors at this address was apt: two floors of the grade 2 listed building had already been upgraded for RFIB Group in a successful pilot for the Ska rating system. Ska is an RICS environmental assessment tool specifically for fit-out and refurbishment projects, comprising 104 good practice measures for sustainability.
BW Interiors, the fit-out contractor for Catlin, had been involved in that inaugural Ska project with Pringle Brandon in 2009, helping to achieve a silver rating for the RFIB Group fit-out. The following year, the company's Category B fit-out for Westpac achieved the first gold Ska in London. It therefore targeted a rating for the 129,000 sq ft fit-out for Catlin.
The works were a combination of reconfiguration, refit and refurbishment including:
- creation of an atrium through the structural removal and strengthening of floors
- installation of new staircases, lifts, and handrail replacements for the escalators
- new changing rooms, toilets, executive showers, laundry and washing facilities with electronically accessed and controlled lockers, restaurants, cafés, pantry, tea points, conservatory, lounge areas and executive offices.
- full internal fit-out of open-plan offices, bespoke curved glazed brokers' booths and video conferencing suites
- installation of new mechanical and electrical (M&E) services, communications rack, fire protection and plant area
- installation of corporate signage, bespoke feature lighting and an acrylic ribbon feature spanning the structural glazed balustrade
- creation of an audio-visual, security and IT infrastructure including a state-of-the-art telepresence room and fully integrated RFID system, incorporating security, access control, follow-me printing, room booking and cashless vending on ID card
- fabric paneling to video conferencing suites.
The project achieved its Ska silver rating and all LEED-based KPIs were met. The scheme has targeted BREEAM Very Good.
Environmental key performance indicators (KPIs) were achieved in the following areas:
- Recycled content by value (£): target was 20 per cent excluding M&E. 30 per cent was achieved
- Re-used content by value (£): target was 1 per cent excluding M&E. 11.49 per cent was achieved
- Renewable content by value (£): 3.12 per cent was delivered, against a target of ‘where possible'
- Procurement and manufacturing of materials within 500 miles by value (£): more than double the target figure of 20 per cent, excluding M&E, was delivered
- Materials sourced within 500 miles by value (£): target was 10 per cent, excluding M&E. 19.56 per cent was delivered
- FSC/PEFC timber: 100% target was delivered
- Construction waste diverted from landfill (BREEAM target): target was 75 per cent by weight. Result was 92 per cent by weight
- Construction waste diverted from landfill and incinerators (Catlin KPI): target was 75 per cent, and the result was 87 per cent by weight
- Embedded carbon of materials, excluding M&E: although no target was set for this, the result was calculated at 1109.63 tonnes
- Chemicals containing volatile organic compounds, excluding M&E: the target was to meet BREEAM Offices 2008 and LEED thresholds, which was achieved (not yet assessed by BREEAM).
- This was the first time many of the subcontractors and manufacturers had been scrutinised so closely, and there was a ripple effect. Suppliers initiated their own compliant supply chains, wooden delivery pallets were found from more sustainable sources, and a joinery firm introduced a new factory spraying method.
- Ska required the whole team to work collaboratively through decisions. This level of detail from the earliest stages made it a strong tool.
- The silver rating for Ska owed a lot to the BREEAM guidelines followed during the design stage. This was because energy, materials, wellbeing and waste management are a focus under both schemes. This project has shown the two schemes can go hand in hand.
BW Interiors aims to achieve Ska accreditations by:
- identifying easy and difficult wins, allocating extra resource to the more demanding factors and building in contingency to ensure accreditation
- allocating the good practice measures (GPMs) to the relevant members of the delivery team
- scrutinising the supply chain by assessing compliance against each GPM, and then requesting a commitment to the project's sustainability charter
- monitoring the project materials, energy use, waste and more, to ensure compliance. Fines issued for noncompliance by sub-contractors raised £2,700 for charity.
For the fit-out contractor, this attention to detail included screening all materials - they found that they could replace many with more sustainable alternatives without compromising quality or aesthetics.
Sources and links
Client: Catlin Group
Interior designer and BREEAM assessor: Artillery Architecture and Interior Design
Environmental advisor: Beyond Carbon
Contractor and Ska assessor: BW Interiors
Project manager: Interactive Space
ICT consultant : Cordless Consultants