In the post
Having stood as a derelict
structure for more than 20 years,
the former Royal Mail sorting
office on London’s New Oxford
Street is being brought back to life as a
new mixed-use development containing
commercial, retail and residential elements.
Occupying a prominent West End site,
the scheme will not only reinvigorate the
plot, it will also create a desirable building
close to many amenities and public
Main contractor Laing O’Rourke LOR
started work on site in late 2016, initially
undertaking a large-scale demolition
programme. Unlike many other city centre
schemes, this demolition project also
included retaining a large portion of the
original 1960s-built steel-framed building.
Therefore, a horseshoe-shaped zone in
the middle of the site containing ground,
first and second floor levels was left in place.
These floors were originally used for mail
sorting duties, while the building’s upper
four floors, now demolished, accommodated
administrative offices and a plant level.
“It’s all about gaining planning
permission and getting the most efficient
use of the existing structure,” explains LOR
Project Manager Andrew Veness.
“The retained element has high floorto
ceiling heights and so we’ve been able to
insert three mezzanines and consequently
add more office space.”
Keeping some of the original steel
frame also fitted into the overall design
aesthetic, which will ultimately see the new
building have exposed steel beams and
columns creating a modern ‘white collar
factory’ office building.
Retaining a large steel frame required
steelwork contractor BHC to use more than
200t of temporary steel propping and bracing,
as the frame’s original stability system had
been demolished. The stability system was
completely remodelled to remove the existing
cores from the key corner floor areas and
create a new one in the central part of the site.
Careful consideration of the sequence
of work and load transfer was required.
Temporary works were also needed to permit
the construction of the new frame over
existing live network substations, which could
not be moved prior to erection commencing.
“Once the temporary props were in place
we then set about constructing a new central
core that sits within the open end of the
retained structure’s horseshoe shape,” says
BHC Project Manager Bobby McCormick.
Once the steel core was erected, the
retained steelwork was connected to this
new stability-giving element and this then
allowed the temporary props and bracing to
A former Royal Mail sorting office is being reconfigured into a
new mixed-use development with large areas of the original
steel structure being retained. Martin Cooper reports.
The Post Building,
Brockton Capital and
Architect: Allford Hall
Steel tonnage: 1,800t