The City Airport Development Programme, initiated in 2013, is a plan for developing the airport’s infrastructure to meet the demands of increased passenger numbers and larger, next-generation aircraft. This is being incorporated into the London City Airport Master Plan, that sets out growth and development planes based on maximising the use of the existing runway, creating better facilities for passengers, and developing infrastructure to accommodate the permitted flight movements per year.

RBG’s commission, by appointment with the concrete contractor, is developing the Stage 4 design of part of this infrastructure, which currently entails:

  • Eastern Energy Centre;
  • Western Energy Centre;
  • East Terminal Expansion and New East Pier.

Key technical challenges

The key technical challenges are related to the fact that the buildings are in a special environment, the airport, with constraints in terms of logistics and construction methodologies. In addition, City Airport sits along the riverbank, hence the waterproofing is critical, especially considering that many of these buildings contain electrical equipment.

RBG worked closely with the contractor to provide suitable solutions to these constraints, facilitating the construction to de-risk the programme. For example, in the Western Energy Centre, temporary props to the secant pile wall were avoided during the basement excavation by considering frame action on the capping beam, spanning between the ground beams. This simplified the construction, reducing costs and time, whilst improving on site safety.

Key technical innovation

The different structures in the project that RBG worked on do not offer a high level of complexity, however, some of their uses and requirements led RBG to develop some innovative solutions. One example is the transformer rooms, these are to be designed for 10kPa blast load and 240min fire resistance.

The standard brickwork walls specified by UKPN do not comply with these requirements. RBG researched varied options ranging from fire protected steel windposts, concrete columns embedded in the wall or an internal reinforced mortar layer between the brickwork external and internal faces. RBG assessed these options for the different conditions of the walls: louvres, door, roof and ground floor slab connections; and agreed a bespoke solution with the client which suited the site and facilitated erection.

Project Metrics

Primary Contractor:

Project Metrics

Pascall and Watson
Robert Bird Group Services:
Structural Engineering
Construction Engineering