27th June 2024

‘Urban mining’ breakthrough shortlisted for TWO sustainability awards at BCIAs 


Our ‘urban mining’ initiative at The Elephant and FORE Partnership’s TBC.London has been shortlisted for two sustainability awards at the British Construction Industry awards. 

The project has seen us reuse 40 tonnes of pre-war steel reclaimed from The Elephant on Oxford Street, London, at FORE Partnership’s separate development, TBC.London, a low carbon office retrofit at Tower Bridge.  

It’s thought to be the first time that pre-war steel has been used in a UK construction project and marks a breakthrough in material reuse.  

It has been shortlisted for both the ‘carbon net zero initiative’ and ‘environmental and sustainability initiative’ at the prestigious BCI awards, which reward projects that have delivered positive outcomes for society. 

Collaboration has been at the heart of the initiative. The deal was originally conceived by our director Gareth Atkinson and FORE Partnership’s managing partner Basil Demeroutis, while out together on a cycle ride. We’ve worked closely McLaren, contractor on The Elephant refurbishment, and Webb Yates, the structural engineer appointed to TBC.London, to achieve the smooth transition for using the reclaimed materials in the Thames-side design. 

“We have been able to overcome many false assumptions and perceived barriers to re-using the steel”, says Basil Demeroutis, managing partner of FORE. “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. Innovation and collaboration are critical to transforming the built environment more broadly. We need to think creatively and systemically.” 

Gareth Atkinson, director in our London studio, said: “The project is a true pioneer for reuse, retrofit and the circular economy in the built environment. It’s exciting working with clients and collaborators with this much vision. We’ve proved it isn’t ‘too difficult’. These types of deals can and should be brokered time and time again.” 

Tom Webster, director at Webb Yates, commented: “The re-use of steel between unrelated construction projects could only be realised through a commitment to collaborate between engineers and clients for a better future.” 

Congratulations to all the finalists, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the announcement on 9th October. You can read more about The Elephant here. 

‘Urban mining’ breakthrough shortlisted for TWO sustainability awards at BCIAs