Case Study // Westferry Printworks – Mace

Westferry Printworks was constructed in 1984 and ceased operation in 2012. The former printworks, which was once the engine room for The Daily Express and The Daily Sport, required demolition to pave way for contemporary residential housing between 4-30 storey units. The mixed development would also comprise of a secondary school, retail, office space and community facilities for the site situated on the edge of the Millwall Outer Dock.

The site which was located on the western side of the Isle of Dogs in East London and spanned approximately 26,400m2. The steel portal and concrete structure was demolished via a progressive demolition sequence working column to column maintaining a grid sequence to ensure lateral support in a non-percussive manner. In addition to deplant and soft strip methodologies, Erith utilised large scale mechanical methods in the form of a 67tonne high reach excavator. The excavator which has the capacity of a 32m reach was utilised to reduce the necessity of men working at height whilst optimising the demolition superstructure sequence.

The entire scope of works comprised of the following:

  • Softstrip of superstructures, removal of all services, M&E equipment etc. within the building including the basement including boilers, pipework, drainage etc.
  • Demolition of the former print works to ground floor slab level.
  • Breakout slabs / foundations / pile caps.
  • Grub out, fill and crush material situated in the 7 no machine pits.
  • Crush suitable brick / blockwork to Grade 6F2 and stockpile onsite.
  • Backfill 300mm depth pile matt across footprint of building. Battering sides of excavation.

Given the number of sensitive receptors surrounding the former printworks, a number of stakeholder engagement methods were deployed to ensure the negation of environmental impact and disturbance throughout the demolition phase. Such methods encompassed; stakeholder steering groups, the appointment of a dedicated Stakeholder Liaison and a monthly newsletter raising awareness of the progression of Erith’s activities.