These ideas will take some time to develop. In the meantime, we wanted to do something that was immediately visible. So we decided to look at our existing projects and what we are already doing to adapt them for use in the future.
One of our senior engineers, Nicoletta Galuzzi, is coordinating a series of case studies to collect ideas and raise awareness across the business. These are being turned into posters for distribution throughout our offices. So far the posters we’ve produced are based on the work of our London office, and now the regional offices are starting to offer their ideas. We started with Principal Tower, a fifty-storey residential development positioned over an 8-track expansion corridor for Network Rail (who are also preparing for the future). Our Future Ready designs included:
- Forming a concrete shell in the tower’s substructure to avoid clash with future railway expansion
- Designing the superstructure to span the width of the future 8-track railway to enable future construction of a tunnel with no impacts to the building’s structure
- Providing acoustic isolation on the elements in contact with the tunnel to avoid impact of future rail activities to the building acoustics
Another poster illustrates how the major commercial and residential development, Southbank Place, is designed to allow change of use, taking into account densification. Each new building will be able to be demolished to foundation level and redeveloped independently in the future, without affecting the other buildings.
All the information that we gather as we prepare more case studies will be fed into the work of our three groups on the interactive building, the TRMs and our standard reports.
These case studies have helped us realise how much of what we already do is actually Future Ready and how we, as structural engineers, can ensure it’s embedded into the design of all our projects to the point where it’s automatically considered as part and parcel of our everyday working life. ”