Lendlease’s office refurbishment job at Cannon Bridge House has given the firm a number of intricate challenges.
The site sits next to the Thames, directly above Cannon Street station, which has thrown up a number of obstacles in itself: work has to be undertaken outside of peak hours and during the evening hours over the weekend.
Climbing to the building’s third level, the Open Doors group, which includes a class of schoolchildren from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, is introduced to project manager Mark Louden, who runs through a brief of the project.
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This category A fit-out scheme was formerly host to the New York Stock Exchange London offices, and is now in the process of being stripped out for an office development.
On the floor we visit first there’s nothing left: everything has been taken down, off the ceilings and off the walls, waiting to be removed.
Much of it will be recycled and moved next door, where the City of London’s environmental services reside.
Enabling that process, a hoist sits along the side-street, allowing them to get material out and bring the new materials in as needed.
But, as the site is above one of the capital’s busiest stations, there has been an acute need for innovation.
Scaffolding around the structure has to be tied and tethered, so as to prevent it from falling too far if it should become loose. The same stringent approach is applied to workers and tools in use on the structure’s exterior.
We head up to the open-plan roof, where an award-winning roof garden is being maintained and kept by the workers.
The gardens hold roof events during the summer, including parties, drinks receptions and team-building events.
Open doors 2016 lendlease cannon bridge house 1
On our way back down from the roof, I ask one of the students what prompted him to sign up in the first place.
“I was thinking of having a career as a construction worker, or something similar like architecture; seeing different sites gives me a better perspective,” he says.
After the class has left, I prompt Mark for a few extra words on the project.
He comments on the job as being one of the “most difficult I’ve ever worked on”, citing the logistical problems of working within such tight London constraints.
But on the topic of Open Doors, Mr Louden enthuses: “From my point of view, it’s good for the development of the industry; I never had that opportunity when I was a kid to test the waters.”
He references the tour before ours, which included a 16-year-old boy who asked to remain on the site for the duration of the day.
“I put him along with one of my construction managers for the day, it’s no problem. That’s what he’s doing at the minute, he’s walking around with my construction manager, happy as Larry. He’s getting something out of the day.”
Cannon Bridge House
Project value: Approx £20m
Client: Blackstone Property Management
Start date: April 2016
Completion date: November 2016