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Redevelopment at Standard Wharf has potential application for other London quays

The Idom Group is making firm headway on the redevelopment of Standard Wharf, on the Thames at Erith, and is confident that the new wharf design can be easily applied to other similar quay structures requiring redevelopment.

Standard Wharf is an operational commercial jetty and at the heart of Erith's industrial heritage, used to store and transport goods to and from locations both within the capital and overseas.

The wharf has been granted special status as a ‘Safeguarded Wharf' by the Mayor of London and the Port of London Authority to ensure it is retained as a working maritime site, ultimately protecting it from any redevelopment of non-port use. 

Idom Merebrook, is one of the UK's leading multi-disciplinary engineering, architecture and environmental consultancies and has now completed the pre-planning stage of the ambitious redevelopment and has undertaken a suite of marine and ecology surveys to support the application.

The Idom Merebrook team has been working to a brief to both maximise the site's commercial potential and restore it as a fully functional working quay, while minimising any impact on the surrounding natural environment, including nearby salt marshes and aquatic life.

Following a feasibility report to assess the potential design options and address the marine planning and licensing requirements, the decision was taken to create a new quay structure along the property boundary line.

The new quay deck design is simple, cost-effective and works with the Thames' tidal flow, with the potential of being easily adopted by other wharfs of this kind.

The anticipated cargo vessel using the wharf is approximately 3500 tons, requiring a draft depth below MHWS of 3m. Using the tidal flow, vessels can berth during high tide then as the water levels drop lay alongside until loaded and ready to sail to the next port.

At Standard Wharf the quay area development extends approximately 30m from the shore, constituting a pre-dredging upper level of approximately 1.5m below MHWS level.

The quay deck will essentially be a structural ground slab, capable of supporting up to 30kM/m2 loading conditions, which will accommodate large mobile cranes and other heavy loading conditions.

 A sheet piled wall will interface with the deck area and fenders will be attached to the sheet piled face. A capping beam will provide structural rigidity and structural support.

Once completed, the wharf will be used as a storage area with the potential to build some light industrial units. The quay deck will connect to the existing onshore facility and will incorporate a method of post grouting to accommodate any differential settlement that occurs. Surface water that falls on the new development will be redirected back into the Thames River via petrol interceptors and tidal flap valves.

Idom Merebrook is currently overseeing geotechnical work including the upper tidal ground investigations, marine and terrestrial environmental monitoring have started, and the team is consulting with sheet pile suppliers to find efficiencies in the design and construction of the wharf.

Ramon Ramirez, Manager Director, Idom Merebrook commented: "The team has taken a very innovative approach to the wharf design that is both simple and cost-effective. The design principle could be easily become a blueprint for other quay developments of this kind and may be applied to many other wharfs along the Thames and indeed in other commercial maritime facilities.

It is great to have this project underway and be involved in the re-development of a historic maritime trading site, which will be a massive boost to commercial operations on this part of the Thames Estuary."