Crossrail Eleanor Street Mile end Road Shafts

Elizabeth Line work gains CEEQUAL rating of Excellent

A new railway for London and the South East, the Elizabeth Line was built by Crossrail. For its sustainable practices, the project received a rating of 87.2%.


Part of a wider infrastructure improvements project, this new railway is an accessible route of 41 stations; from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. Crossrail received a CEEQUAL (now known as BREEAM Infrastructure) rating of ‘Excellent’ for the design and development phase of the project,


Crossrail is a railway construction project centred around London. Its aim is to provide rapid transport across the capital by connecting two major railway lines terminating in London.


The aim of this C360 transport project was to increase London’s rail capacity by 10%, reduce journey times, offer more choice and bring an additional 1.5 million people within 45 minutes of London.


In order to meet the agreed terms of the Crossrail works contract, Costain Skanska Joint Venture were required to prepare and implement management plans. These plans were to address a number of environmental topic areas before commencement of the works.

The project sites are located in London and stretch from Holborn in the centre of London to Canning Town in the east. Each of the project sites has the potential to impact on local communities as they are located in very sensitive areas in close proximity to residential properties, businesses and recreational areas used by the public.

For example, the Eleanor Street site is adjacent to a traveller community; the Mile End site is located adjacent to a sports centre in Mile End Park which is one of very few green spaces available to residents in East London; Stepney City Farm, a park, residential properties and a school surround the Stepney Green site; Fisher Street is located in the densely populated London zone 1 and is surrounded by businesses and residential premises, and the Limmo Site is adjacent to the River Lea with residential flats across the River.

The project team understood that as they were going to be located on each of our construction sites for a number of years we would become part of the local community. As a result, having a good relationship with the community was immediately identified as an important aspect if the project was to be a success. C360 employed a dedicated community relations manager to oversee this.


Build solutions
The intermediate shafts at all sites provided access to the running tunnels for firefighting, emergency access/egress and general maintenance. At Eleanor Street and Stepney Green sites, the shafts hosted fans for tunnel ventilation as well as a drainage system. Mechanical, electrical and public health services will be provided in each shaft to enable these primary functions to operate effectively.

The use of Filcor 125 (expanded polystyrene) beneath the pump slab further protected the building and basement through weight reduction. Filcor 125 spread the load more evenly over the basement, and reduced the vibration from the pumps. As Filcor 125 is a breaker, it offered damping properties, effectively leaving the slab floating on top due to the cantilevered construction. Vibration monitoring was carried out at the site which showed there that no parameters were exceeded.

Management plans
The management plans for sustainable transport were communicated in staff training and displayed on dedicated noticeboards at each of the sites. The site waste management plan was actively updated, along with a live online version which tracked active targets, waste duty of care arrangements and removal figures. The ecology plan was updated whenever the ecology consultants were employed to manage these aspects on the sites and to take account of their findings.

The energy plan was updated with details of various initiatives that were trialled on the sites and found to be successful in energy saving, setting the standard for all sister sites. The main environmental management plan was used as a key reference document for the work package plans, this was reviewed and updated on a monthly basis.

Community relations
The senior management, including the community relations manager, reviewed details of the catchment area (as a minimum all properties within 100m of the works) including residents’ groups, ward councillors and community centres. This enabled the team to select who the main stakeholders are in the area, those who should receive information regarding the construction works and its programme, plus any specific groups that required unique ways of disseminating the communication materials i.e languages spoken, or a sensory impairment.

As part of the wider benefits of the C360 project to the local community, examining the location of the works and the catchment area also enabled the team to explore areas for opportunity to invest in the local community and assist in funding local projects and activities. This led to the development of C360s community liaison investment plan (CLIP).

The engagement with the local residents resulted in the low number of complaints received by the project. This meant that the local authorities were confident in consenting a request to increase working hours on all our sites. The likelihood of disturbance from our works on local residents was greatly reduced, due in part to early notification of works, and a site team who were well trained on nuisance reduction.

In order to ensure that noise from construction of a Floating Track Slab (FTS) didn’t adversely impact local residents, a temporary acoustic enclosure had to be constructed at the Fisher Street site. However, as the site offices used by CSJV at Fisher Street was a Grade II listed building with a basement, CSJV were required to install temporary props. These were installed within the basement of the listed building to support the weight of the equipment, acoustic shed and CSJV materials on the roof of the shed. As agreed with London Borough of Camden heritage advisor, a method which negated the need for drilling was used. This enabled zero impact to the historic fabric of the building.


Benefits to the local community
Other ways this C360 project has benefitted the local community is by using local charities to supply the food and meeting rooms for training and meetings. This meant that CSJV have ensured that money stays in the local community. The project has also employed a number of local companies and suppliers to carry out work on site.

The site team conducted numerous site visits and open days for local primary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities. C360 has also teamed up with a local girls school (Ursuline Academy) and the company Woman in Construction to inspire more females into the construction industry. The C360 STEM female graduate engineers took the lead on these days. One student in particular, took note of day she attended. Following an interview, this student was formally offered a place on Skanska’s Graduate Programme.

Furthermore, an engineering programme, being led by the C360 STEM team, was set up at St John Cass School, adjacent to Stepney Green site. This was to try and inspire more future engineers and construction workers. C360 also partnered with Enabling Enterprise who are a not-for-profit social enterprise. With the help of C360 their goal was to equip young people with the skills, experiences and aspirations they need to succeed in life.

Additionally, CSJV staff set up a ‘Book Buddy’ volunteer reading scheme at the local Cayley Primary School. Every Thursday, each week during term time, 4 CSJV staff spent time reading with 4 pupils. C360 chose Cayley Primary School as Ofsted said that, “The school is much larger than the average-sized school with most pupils being of Bangladeshi heritage. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is well above that found nationally. The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is well above average and many who join the school are at the early stages of learning English.”

Finally, C360 partnered with London Community Rehabilitation Company who supports ex-offenders to find employment. C360 have employed a number of people including a graduate quantity surveyor and a safety administrator through this initiative.The staff on C360 organised a number of fundraising days throughout the year for local charities and organisations including: Cancer research UK, St Josephs Hospice, London Air Ambulance, SERV ‘blood bikes’ and Spitalfields Crypt Trust.

Preserving biodiversity
The biodiversity measures taken at the two sites included a wildflower grassland mound covering the headhouse with climbing plants covering the wall at Mile End. There was also th incorporation of a sedum covered green roof on the headhouse and planting of trees and wildflower grassland at Eleanor Street. Mile End mound was formed using Lytag – an aggregate manufactured from coal power station waste.

The wildflower meadow mix comprised 35 different species: three trees of moderate value were felled during enabling works. However, CSJV engaged with London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) park development officer to ensure the location and species of replacement trees were in-line with the park's design and LBTH Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). In addition, five native franz fontaine trees and two pollinator-encouraging fruit trees (malus elstar) were planted.

Other landscaping efforts included planting 19 low-growing, self-regenerating and drought-resistant sedum species on top the green roof at Eleanor Street. The substrate stored rainwater for plant growth and helped alleviate flooding. As hawthorn is a target species in the LBTHs BAP, this was used for security planting between the head house and local road.

This project increases two of LBTH’s BAP priority habitats (open mosaic via green roofs and neutral grassland via wildflower turf roof). This resulted in a positive impact for wildlife, encouraging birds, brimstone butterflies, common blue butterflies and every species of bumblebee to occupy the area. Assessments were carried out using the DEFRA tool to quantify this: 88% and 62% increase in biodiversity post-construction for Mile End and Eleanor Street were recorded respectively; thus, exceeding the project aim.

Furthermore, the rooftops recycle CO2 into O2. They lock up airborne pollutants, which improves air quality and generates a healthy micro-climate around the building for colonisation by neighbouring flora and fauna. The mass on the green structures have sound-absorbing properties to create dramatic dB reductions, provides aesthetic benefits including adding natural colour to the local area and encourages the public to understand wildlife value. Finally, CSJV aimed to return Mile End Park to its original character and maintain any green corridors, footpath and cycle connections.

Summary for Case Studies


Crossrail Ltd
Jacobs Engineering Group
Costain / Skanska (Joint Venture)
Mike de Silva (Crossrail Ltd), Michael Whitehead (Crossrail Ltd), Simon Taylor (Constain Skanska JV), James Ennis (Arup), Jessica Kennedy (Arup)
4, November 2017 | London, UK
CEEQUAL rating:
Excellent (87.2%)

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