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Abbey Mills Pumping Station

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CIVIL ENGINEERING CATEGORY

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.

PROJECT TEAM

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

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