Return to One Embankment Place, London

The London HQ of professional services firm, PWC, located at Embankment Place, is globally renowned as being one of the most iconic, energy efficient and environmentally friendly offices in the UK.

One Embankment Place commercial office building, constructed in the 1980s, straddles Charing Cross Station in the heart of London’s West End. It has approximately 40,000m2 total floor area comprising a ground floor below the station and floors 1 to 9 above - with structure, services and lifts passing through Charing Cross station.

In 2016 Price Waterhouse Cooper was keen to create a fresh new entrance to its iconic head office at 1 Embankment Place in London.

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KEY MEMBER OF THE ARCHITECTURAL AND STRUCTURAL TEAM

PWC invited LECS UK, as expert lift and escalator consultant engineers, to join an architectural and structural team and find a workable, safe solution.

Dave Cooper, LECS UK said: “Being part of the architectural and structural team, at the inception of the project, is where we add exceptional value. This is a particularly important solution finding and ultimately a longer-term time saving phase of any project.”

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THE CONUNDRUM

How to achieve the new entrance linked directly to Charing Cross Station, (where a former market used to be) to allow people enter the building directly from the station via a completely covered route.

The area initially had four escalators serving from an undercroft up to a mezzanine level and returning to the station platform level via a multiple parallel escalator layout.

The solution was for the new design to incorporate two new escalators that serve from the platform level up another floor into the grand new entrance to the PWC offices. This was achieved by opening up a void in the floor slab and breaking through an external wall into the new reception area. The original four escalators were also replaced.

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THE CHALLENGES

The project had a number of challenges. The limited space meant that the escalators had to be lifted into place carefully through restricted space. Another challenge was to keep the retail outlets in the undercroft open for trading.

The requirement to keep Villiers Street open to traffic during the day necessitated night time only deliveries. All the works had to be completed during a full-occupied building and busy station in the centre of London albeit towards the end of the project the building was far less occupied due to the COVID situation.

THE OUTCOMES

The project has been a resounding success. Fully completed and operational from December 2020. The new escalators allow for efficient traffic flow from the station directly into PwC offices. It is estimated that is saves staff and visitors coming into Charing Cross Station around 10 minutes commuting time and have the capacity to move 8,500 people every hour.

LECS UK’s engineering expertise on the concept, design, configuration and feasibility of the escalators, as well as the specification and managing the tendering process helped ensure this complex aspect of our refurbishment project was completed to specification, on budget, using quality equipment and the very best working practices.

Dave Cooper of LECS UK, said “This was a great project to be part of, especially as LECS UK was involved with the commissioning of the building back in the 1980’s and also the lift modernisation programme in 2013.”

LECS UK had been involved with the commissioning of the lifts and escalators when the building was first constructed in 1988. LECS UK were also the consultants in 2013 when the buildings’ lifts were modernised and two new wall-climbing lifts were installed however the original 1980’s escalators were retained at this time.

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If you would like to discuss our project management service (from concept to commission) for lifts and escalators, email: alison@lecsuk.co.uk or telephone: 0203 627 2247

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