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Steel tops the bill

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Sustainability is never very far away from the top of the construction agenda, and the steel sector supply chain has excelled at providing structures that tick all the sustainability boxes as well as providing cost efficient and attractive buildings.

Steel has played a key role in helping London become an international hot spot for sustainable architecture, used for a wide range of strikingly impressive structures like the Shard and the Leadenhall Building, or Cheesegrater. All are winners of many awards recognising their design and construction and sustainability excellence.

The sustainability goal posts have been set not necessarily higher, but perhaps a bit further back down the pitch with the award of the first BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 certificate for building design. BREEAM New Construction 2014 is the latest update of the BREEAM standard for new buildings, launched in May after the biggest ever consultation on a BREEAM scheme.

It has gone to the design by architect Kohn Pedersen Fox and structural engineer Arup for a £500 million, 190 metre tower at 52 Lime Street that will have 35 floors plus two basement levels and two roof plant levels. The striking design – nicknamed the Scalpel – demonstrates that energy efficiency can be achieved by modern architecture while creating exemplary indoor environmental quality.

It has been given an Excellent rating and it is of course designed in steel; we hope to bring you further details about it next year.

In this issue we have revisited another BREEAM luminary, the Structural Steel Design Awards finalist First Direct Arena in Leeds which gained a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ score, the highest achieved by a UK arena.

Large column free spaces are obvious requirements of arenas so steel was always going to top the bill at Leeds, but the high sustainability targets set by the client, Leeds City Council, also demanded a steel solution. International acclaim for the arena includes winning a New Venue of the Year award, beating off competition from around the world.

Our revisit found that world famous performers liked the venue – Rod Stewart reportedly said its acoustics are the best on this side of the Atlantic – and the arena is generating some £25 million a year for the local economy; ticking the economic box has of course a sustainability quality all of its own.

Other major news in this issue is the announcement that Tata Steel Europe is in talks with the Klesch Group to sell its Long Products division, the part of the company that makes heavy steel sections. The talks are likely to take some months but the message from Tata Steel is very much one of business as usual. Customers shouldn’t notice any difference in the high quality of service that they are used to receiving from either Tata Steel or the rest of the steel sector.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that another transition was under way when Tata Steel bought Corus. That was seamless and there is no reason why if the talks result in a change of ownership that the same should not happen this time.

Gary Klesch, Founder and Chairman of the Klesch Group said his company has deep experience in the long products sector. He believes there is a growing market for these products and the Klesch Group intend to capitalise on this demand.

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