Brickyard, East Ham: Sustainable concrete design for a low carbon footprint

This new development sits on the corner of the High Street in East Ham and is surrounded by existing buildings on two sides. A former Co-Operative retail building, the proposed development will provide 98 new homes.

The scheme is to have two storeys of retail from the ground up, with a podium above providing the external amenity space to the residents. The three blocks extend between two and nine-storeys above the podium. This creates a distinct identity for the buildings and maximises the development potential of the site, whilst minimising the impact to the surrounding properties.

We inherited the scheme, which was previously designed as a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) frame above podium level. Due to our concerns that a potential increase in carbon content would be detrimental, we calculated and compared the difference between the two schemes to create a viable and sustainable solution for our client. By careful placement of the columns in the retail and residential units to minimise transfer, we were able to provide a reinforced concrete (RC) frame solution which had an equivalent carbon content than to the previous scheme.

The proposed structural scheme is to utilise a reinforced concrete frame, with a large column grid in the retail space and a smaller grid for the residential slabs to keep these to a minimum and to ensure a cost-effective solution. This solution requires a transfer slab at the podium level, which is also used to support the heavier weight of the landscaping.

The sustainable drainage design also looked to maximise as much of the above ground attenuation as possible. By calculating the attenuating properties of the landscaped podium, we were able to keep the below ground drainage attenuation tank to a minimum whilst still meeting the stringent targets of the Local Authority and the wider London Plan.