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London Centric Projects to Watch This Year

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London Centric Projects to Watch This Year

Which London centric projects will likely have the most significant impact on the industry in the year ahead?

London, especially the city, is an ever-changing landscape; it always has been and likely will always be. Fast pace change is the nature of the beast. With that thought in mind, let’s look at London Centric and the South East building projects that will soon alter the City of London’s famous skyline and how we live—starting with The Houses of Parliament.

The Palace of Westminster restoration

The Palace of Westminster, more commonly known as The Houses of Parliament, has been in a bad way for several years. As each year passes, the chances of this historic building falling into the Thames (or part of it) becomes more and more likely.

According to Construction News, more than 312 working days (nearly a year) worth of surveys have been carried out recently, yet work has yet to start. No one expects this restoration to be an easy task with so many options for development presented to parliamentarians and eye-watering cost predictions that the government and their advisors must agree upon. 

The estimated bill is upwards of £13bn (estimated in 2022), with two development options presented to the committee this year; another year of debate is expected before costed proposals are submitted in 2025.

In May 2023, Meg Hillier (chair of the Public Accounts Committee) warned of a significant risk that the historic Grade I-listed buildings will be “destroyed” after “years of procrastination”.

Meanwhile, the contractors in residence seek to complete separate work (estimated at £750m) to keep Parliament from slipping into the Thames, with a formal procurement process for the remaining works to be launched in the coming months.

London office interiors refurbishment fit out independent contractors Houses of parliament

No 1 Undershaft Replaces Aviva Tower in the City of London

Eric Parry Architects have revised their design for 1 Undershaft, a 73-storey tower that could be the City of London’s tallest building if the plans are agreed. The new design adds one more floor, making the skyscraper 305 metres high. It will replace the old Aviva Tower from the 1960s.

The client, Aroland Holdings from Singapore, will invite contractors to bid for the project this year. The project team will also seek planning approval from the City of London Corporation. The team includes Stanhope as the development manager, SLA as the landscape architect, DP9 as the planning consultant, WSP as the engineer, and Aecom as the quantity surveyor.

Currently, The Shard is the tallest building in the City of London. It is 87 floors tall (310 m / 1017 ft.) It’s a mixed-use development near London Bridge, with office, commercial, and retail space completed and opened to the public in 2012.

Eric Parry Architects lists their other projects as Fen Court in London, an office building and retail space with a public passageway at street level that offers an accessible roof garden open to the public. Other London centric projects include 5 Aldermanbury Square, One Liverpool Street (due for completion in 2026) and 8 St James’s Square, amongst others.

The common denominator that binds these projects (apart from the architect) is the mixed use of retail and modern office space, helping to bring the City of London’s office refurbishment program bag up to date.

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Google’s new London HQ to open amid job cuts

Google is set to open its new £1bn headquarters in London’s King’s Cross this year, despite announcing plans to slash 10,000 jobs worldwide. The one million square foot ‘groundscraper’ building, which is as tall as the Shard, will house 4,000 staff across 11 floors. It will feature As expected) high-tech office space,  a rooftop garden, a swimming pool, a gym, and a massage room.

The main contractor for the project is Lendlease, and the lead developer is Argent. Heatherwick Studio and Bjarke Ingels Group designed the building, and was first submitted for planning approval in 2017. Architects redesigned the ground floor of the building in 2022 to include retail units, a market style hall for small businesses and a community, education and event space. Google wanted to create a “destination for the local community”.

The tech giant also said it was adapting to the changing needs of its workforce as it moved to a more flexible and hybrid work model. “As we transition to flexible, hybrid work, we’re introducing new workplace technologies and collaboration spaces to keep our teams connected wherever they’re working,” Google said in a statement.

However, the opening of the new HQ comes amid uncertainty over the future of Google’s staff, as the company announced it would cut 10,000 jobs globally by the end of 2024. Google said the move was part of a restructuring plan to focus in on core Google businesses and reduce costs.

Right now, it is still being determined how the job cuts will affect UK operations or how many staff will work in the new HQ. 

Tideway – London’s super-sewer

A massive project to clean up London’s river Thames is nearing completion, as the Tideway super-sewer is set to collect its first sewage from Londoners this summer. The 25 km-long tunnel, which runs under the river from west to east, will capture 95 per cent of the sewage overflows that currently pollute the Thames. The project, approved in 2014, is expected to cost £4.50bn, up from the original estimate of £3.52bn, but within the budget set in 2015.

The company behind the project, Tideway, is a consortium of investors created to deliver the tunnel. It will test the tunnel’s performance and reliability for several months before handing it over to Thames Water, the water utility, in late 2025.

The project is one of the UK’s largest and most complex engineering feats, involving 24 construction sites, six tunnel-boring machines, and thousands of workers. It aims to improve the water quality, biodiversity, and amenity of the Thames and to support the city’s growth and resilience.

Thames Water says the tunnel’s construction started in 2016 and has three main sections: the west, central, and east. The west section runs from Acton, W3 to Fulham SW6, the central section from Fulham to Bermondsey, and the east section from Bermondsey to Abbey Mills. The tunnel will connect to the existing sewer network at 34 locations, intercepting the combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that spill into the river during heavy.

The tunnel is being excavated by six tunnel boring machines (TBMs), each named after a woman who has made a significant contribution to London. The TBMs are Rachel, Charlotte, Millicent, Ursula, Selina, and Annie. They are 8.8 metres in diameter and can dig up to 40 metres per day. They also install concrete segments to form the tunnel lining as they go.

The tunnel will have a 1.6 million cubic metres capacity, equivalent to 640 Olympic-sized swimming pools. It will transport the sewage to Abbey Mills pumping station, which will join the Lee Tunnel and be pumped to Beckton sewage treatment works. The sewage will be treated there, and the clean water will be returned to the environment. The tunnel will also generate renewable energy from the sewage, reducing the project’s carbon footprint.

The project is expected to positively impact the river and the City of London by reducing pollution, improving wildlife habitats, creating new public spaces, and providing jobs and skills. The project is also designed to last for at least 120 years, ensuring a long-term solution for London’s sewerage.

With all the changes in and around London, the enhanced infrastructure is vital to the lifeblood of our favourite city. Sticking with infrastructure, according to, our roads are getting a makeover.

Tideway Sewer London

Roads in the South East

The government may change its plans for investing in England’s highways this year, following a report by the National Highways Agency that recommended more focus on repairing the old and damaged motorway network.

National Highways, the company that manages the strategic road network, published its Initial Report in May last year, outlining its vision and priorities for the next five years. The report suggested that the government should spend more money on maintaining and improving the existing roads rather than building new ones.

The report came after the government scrapped 15 intelligent motorway projects in April last year (2023) due to budget constraints and public concerns. Smart motorways are sections that use technology to control traffic flow and speed and sometimes use the hard shoulder as an extra lane.

The Department for Transport is expected to publish its revised investment plan – The Road Investment Strategy 3 (RIS3), later this year. The plan will cover the period from 2025 to 2030 and show how the government will spend £27.5 billion on England’s roads, the largest ever investment in the network.

If the government follows National Highways’ advice, RIS3 will support smaller, local projects to reduce congestion and improve road safety. These projects could include upgrading junctions, adding cycle lanes, and installing traffic lights.

However, the government may face criticism from some quarters for changing its plans. Previous National Highways strategies have been accused of being too ambitious and unrealistic, leading to overspending and under delivery. Iain Stewart, the House of Commons transport select committee chair, said that the government should “learn from past mistakes” and “deliver what it promises”.

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The Quebec Street Makeover

Quebec Street is being reconstructed by The City of London from Oxford Street East through to the Canadian Pacific rail line, replacing outdated infrastructure that has reached the end of its lifespan.

The project, expected to cost $16.5 million, will include water main, sewer, and drainage upgrades, as well as new cycling infrastructure, sidewalks, curbs, and asphalt. The project will also remove a lane of traffic for vehicles and alter some intersections to improve safety and traffic flow.

As part of the City’s multi-year infrastructure renewal program, the aim is to improve the quality and reliability of the City’s water, wastewater, and stormwater systems and enhance the mobility and accessibility of the City’s roads and pathways.

The project will benefit the residents and businesses along Quebec Street, the environment and the community. The Quebec Street project will reduce the risk of water main breaks, sewer backups, and flooding, improve the water pressure and quality for the customers while increasing the capacity and efficiency of the sewer and drainage systems, and reduce the amount of pollutants entering the Thames River.

Completing the project will provide safer and more comfortable facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, encourage active transportation and healthy living, improve the street’s appearance and functionality, and create new public spaces and greenery. 

The construction started last spring, with minor clean-up work and asphalt paving to be installed in spring 2024. The City Of London is ever-changing, and it’s always good to know the basic infrastructure is also getting a makeover.

Initial Interiors: London Centric Projects

We know London like the back of our hand, so if you are looking for a reliable and professional partner for your office refurbishment project in The City of London and surrounding areas, look no further than Initial Interiors. Initial Interiors is a London-based design and build commercial construction company specialising in office fit-out and refurbishment projects.

Initial Interiors offers customised solutions that suit your overall needs, budget, and vision. Whether you need minor works or a full-scale refurbishment of your existing or new office space, Initial Interiors can help you transform your workspace into a modern, comfortable, and sustainable environment.

Initial Interiors has a team of skilled tradespeople, project managers, and designers who will ensure your project is completed on time, to the highest quality standards, while remaining within budget. They will work with you from the initial consultation to the final handover and provide you with regular feedback and updates throughout the process.

Initial Interiors has a proven track record of delivering successful office fit-out and refurbishment projects in London. You can check out their 7-week London office fit-out case study on our website to see how we overcame challenges and achieved excellent client results. We are ready to bring the same dedication and excellence to your next project.

Initial Interiors works with fully qualified, experienced, and reputable contractors. We will communicate with you effectively and offer you competitive prices. They cover London’s West End, including the EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4, E1, WC1, WC2, W1, N1, and SE1 postcode areas. 

If you want to work with Initial Interiors, contact us today at 020 8938 3893 for a free quotation and consultation with their friendly and professional team. Visit our website to learn more about our services, portfolio, and testimonials.

Initial Interiors is your trusted partner for office refurbishment projects in London. We will help you create a workspace that reflects your brand, culture, and values, enhancing your productivity, creativity, and well-being.

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