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'Green' Awards For Farringdon

2 April 2013

The project to redevelop London’s Farringdon Tube and Thameslink  rail station  has picked up two CEEQUAL awards. The £290million contract took the Outstanding Achievement Award for Ecology and Biodiversity and was highly commended in the Historic Environment category.

CEEQUAL is the assessment and awards scheme for improving sustainability in civil engineering and the public realm. It aims to demonstrate the commitment of the civil engineering industry to environmental quality and social performance.

The Ecology and Biodiversity award was all the more notable as initial surveys of the station identified no ecological sensitivities there. The award was largely due to the creation of a 700m2 ‘living roof’ atop the station’s new Integrated Ticket Hall (ITH).

The installation is ‘brown roof’, a mix of soil and rock atop drainage and base layers. “That’s the difference between a brown and green roof, which is often planted with sedum [flowering plant] species,” explained Costain Environmental Manager, Hannah Rich. “With a brown roof you let whatever is in the area grow naturally, instead of planting particular species.”

The aim is to provide a home for invertebrates that, in turn, will provide foraging opportunities for birds.

It will also improve the thermal insulation properties of the ITH, help provide gradual drainage of heavy rainfall and contribute some 20% of the London Borough of Islington’s annual Biodiversity Action Plan target for habitat creation.

Although sustainability measures are often perceived as costly, the brown roof was actually £40,000 less expensive than a comparable zinc roof, despite the need to strengthen the roof structure to accommodate the added weight of soil and rock, said Hannah.

Farringdon was also Highly Commended in the Historic Environment category. Farringdon Station is Grade II listed, which necessitated acquiring special planning consents for work on its Turnmill Street concourse, changes to the ITH façade and works to the London Underground station building.

The best practice approach at Farringdon, drawing upon Costain’s earlier experience at railway projects such as St Pancras and King’s Cross, included constructing traditional brick arches, now rarely used in buildings.