Crossrail Surface Works: South East Spur (Interim)

CEEQUAL Excellent (84.5%) – Interim Client & Outline Design Award
Version 4, January 2016 | London, England

Client: Network Rail / Crossrail Ltd
Designers: Balfour Beatty / WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

Assessor: Daniela Eigner (WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff)

Project description

The Crossrail Kent project encompasses the design and build for works on the two-mile stretch from Plumstead to Abbey Wood in South East London. The station itself is undergoing a complete rebuild to facilitate the new Crossrail services. The new two-level station will house a bright and spacious concourse, improved ticket hall layout and two new island platforms for both the North Kent and Crossrail services.

Big changes are also underway in the railway corridor. To make space for the new Crossrail tracks the existing North Kent lines are being moved southwards. Two footbridges have been replaced so that they can now span the new four-track railway and rise above the overhead electric lines which will be used to power the Crossrail trains.

CEEQUAL was used to inform design and has been a useful tool in driving sustainability throughout all stages of the project. The project has achieved an ‘Excellent’ interim rating and is aiming for an CEEQUAL Excellent Award for the final assessment stage.



Station design and material use

The design philosophy of the project has been to provide a durable station, which can operate safely and efficiently whilst improving connectivity to its surrounding area. Abbey Wood station has been seen as an opportunity to provide a catalyst for urban regeneration in the local area. This has led to the design being developed concurrently with a separate urban realm programme supported by the two Boroughs. The final design brings together various design components which address the station’s use, layout, scale, appearance and access arrangements.

CEEQUAL has provided a platform to include design and material consideration at a very early stage. Sustainable building techniques and materials have been chosen to prolong the lifespan of the station. Likewise, the design has been ‘future proofed’ to enable upgrade and integration with its urban setting as new design opportunities come forward.

A Designing out Waste workshop was held to gather specialists together and to find potential opportunities for minimising waste throughout the various stages of the project. Throughout this process, the design team made a number of recommendations such as the use of an alternative material to timber noise barriers and considered options for materials based on whole life cost. Regular discussions have taken place between the design teams to develop the station layout.

‘Zero net loss’ target for biodiversity

As a result of the widening of the railway corridor, there has been a loss of a number of mature trees that lined the old railway boundary fence. To counteract this loss of vegetation, the project has committed to a target of “No Net Loss” for biodiversity and is one of the first schemes of its kind in Europe to calculate the net score of biodiversity on an infrastructure scheme. This target will be robustly calculated and reported using the DEFRA offsetting accounting methodology.

The team realised that an opportunity to plant new trees earlier than planned would be beneficial and show the public the importance the project attributes to environmental protection. A voluntary tree planting event was held in March 2014 to plant semi-mature trees nearby a housing estate within sight of the railway and was the first sustainability event on Crossrail Kent.

This was a great opportunity to actively and positively contribute towards the neighbourhood in which the project is placed; to gain an improved understanding of the impacts a major railway construction project has on the environment, and how potential negative impacts can be mitigated by restoring biodiversity. The voluntary tree planting event has been an important step in ensuring that biodiversity is re-instated and considered not only for the last phase of construction but for the whole duration of the project.  It not only provides new habitat for nesting birds and other species but also reduces carbon emissions and increases the amenity value for local residents.

Relations with local community and stakeholders

The project managed to arrange a number of public information events held in Abbey Wood Community Centre to gather and understand the views of those impacted upon by Crossrail. This has been a key element as residential areas are located close to the rail corridor and therefore, impacts such as noise, lighting and dust had to be areas of main focus. Community and environmental engagement are essential to the project as they are an effective way to establish a positive relationship with residents and to improve the local environment.

As part of Crossrail Kent’s commitment to continual improvement in sustainability and providing equal opportunities, the team in Abbey Wood has become part of the Kotuku Environmental Labourer Project (KELP) scheme, and provided a young Londoner with a placement as an environmental labourer on site.

How did CEEQUAL influence your project?

CEEQUAL has been embedded in the design process from the very start, influencing design decisions and consideration of sustainability throughout. As part of the CEEQUAL assessment, it was possible to work closely with the procurement team to incorporate life cycle considerations into the procurement process and to utilise local suppliers where possible.

Sustainability opportunities such as greywater harvesting were sought after and the CEEQUAL process was a key contributor to assist the project to outline new opportunities on how sustainability, design and mitigation measures could be incorporated at all key stages of the project.

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