Building this new East London pumping station to serve a million people proved more economic than maintaining the original complex of Victorian installations. The station is of radical design, at the heart of which is an excellent use of concrete, which meant that the project cost £26 million against an original estimate of £45 million. The best of the old pumping complex has been retained for occasional use in peak flow conditions. Extensive modification of the existing sewer network that crosses the site was necessary.
The majority of the concrete, including the pumping station and associated works, is below ground. The superstructure of the new building, designed by architect Allies and Morrison, is clad in aluminium.
Concrete was the natural choice for the substructure and sewers. Its natural mass provided resistance to hydrostatic flotation forces, which allowed the use of thick sections with simple, economic reinforcement, although not so thick as to require special curing precautions. Where flotation forces were less, the repetitive nature of precast offered distinct advantages. Both techniques were combined in the storm-delivery channels. Most of the structures by their nature were best constructed in situ, but some of the sewer sections were precast for ease of construction on a restricted site.
The design of the acoustic enclosures for the generation plant was changed from fabricated steel to in-situ concrete as this provided better sound attenuation at lower cost. Other benefits of using concrete include its density for retention or exclusion of water, plasticity for the creation of complex forms, durability and low unit cost.
Although concrete was the natural choice for the pumping station, the project team has sought to realise the full potential of the material's versatility and strength.
OWNER Thames Water Utilities
ARCHITECT Allies and Morrison
CONSULTING ENGINEER Kvaerner Technology
HYDRAULIC DESIGN OF UNDERGROUND WORKS Halcrow Consulting Engineers
MAIN CONTRACTOR Kvaerner Construction
FORMWORK AND STEEL FIXING Buildstone
READY-MIXED CONCRETE Tarmac Topmix
CEMENT Blue Circle Cement
PRECAST FLOORING Richard Lees