Camden Lock Village

Navigating the perfect storm of logistics challenges at Camden Lock Village

Camden Lock is an undoubtedly iconic area of London.

Despite its buzzing atmosphere the area needed significant regeneration, improving the area for residents and businesses, ensuring Camden remained a thriving community.

The redevelopment included the construction of eight new buildings varying between three and nine storeys. These buildings would house a canal side market, restaurants, a cinema, 195 residential units and commercial space.

The site was situated between two railway lines, a working canal running alongside, and a live environment including a school and busy pedestrian walkways.

This environment created a perfect storm of logistical and safe working challenges.

Turning waterways into a logistical advantage

Working alongside the famous canal and lock required additional safety precautions not typical to our work.

Operatives were required to wear lifejackets and complete relevant training when working in close proximity to the canal.

Guidance and education were required on occupational health risks such as Weil’s disease which was associated with the wildlife close to the canal.

However, we were able to use the canal to our advantage. It became a floating yard, giving us the ability to transport and store materials close to site.

This was of benefit when much of our materials had to be transported manually due to restrictions on crane usage and lifting operations due to being adjacent to the railway.

Safe working in a busy community

Works adjacent to the railways and pedestrianised areas used secure brick guards and netting to make certain nothing disrupted the lines running every day or impacted on the safety of those in the local community.

To continue to ensure safety to the public, pedestrian protection deck scaffolds were provided in locations with public interface.

Working with the local community, all work was planned to cause minimal disturbance. For example, a staircase was erected on the canal bridge to allow access for pedestrians to the canal and footpath closures. This was coordinated in advance ensuring works could be carried out efficiently and safely.

Similarly, working close to a school posed as an added safety risk which meant planning works to be carried out on weekends or school holidays.

Access solutions to maintain programme

GKR erected full external access scaffolds to all residential blocks.

To restrict imposed loadings onto terrace areas we cantilever bridged over some areas. This was due to the narrow width of the road at ground level. By choosing to cantilever it maintained vehicle access below and services could also be installed underground.

Two of the blocks were created in 2 sections. RMD gallows brackets were bolted to the walls of the top section, to allow us to bridge out over the building. This then supported and took the imposed loads of the roof. Works could then be carried out on the top section whilst the internal fit out programme continued without disruption on the section below. Back propping or cantilevering would have disrupted the works on the floors in the section below and delayed the programme.

Working within a dense area meant there were a significant amount of groundworks. Providing cantilevered loading bays to the blocks ensured that groundworks below could continue as normal. Materials were then easily and efficiently lifted into the building from the loading bay.

The railway arches were being redeveloped into retail space and we enabled access to the arches by providing mezzanine decks levels. These created a platform for other trades to reach areas that would not have been possible to access otherwise.

Early engagement planning with clients and the local community, as well as ongoing communications, contributed to the success of maintaining the programme of this project.

Despite the unique working environment, the works at Camden Lock Village demonstrate the success of precise logistical planning, ensuring the work was delivered on time without comprising safety.


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