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Albion Street, The Hithe



Relocatable building

Innovative solution

ReLondon / Grimshaw / Meanwhile space / Weber Industries

Partners Involved

Affordable office space (meanwhile use)

Building type

Steel and timber

Structural material

Structural system

Structurally insulated panels (SIP)


In recent years meanwhile use has emerged as a popular way of utilising undeveloped land for the benefit of local communities, whilst their long-term redevelopment plans are being advanced. The nature of these meanwhile spaces is often pop-up, with little consideration for the long-term re-use potential of the structures erected. This demonstrator investigated, through prototyping and post-completion evaluation, the modification of commonly used structural insulated panels (SIPs) to increase their design life and ease of recovery and re-erection on multiple sites across London. The delivered demonstrator is compared to a business as usual (BAU) case defined as a project of similar specification and design life without the incorporation of the DfD construction details.

Demonstrated innovation

A prototype developed for the Albion Street meanwhile use building demonstrated the process of deconstructing and reconstructing structurally insulated panels (SIPs) used to construct the building’s roof and walls. The prototype focused on a complex waterproofing detail, consisting of a demountable SIP with a waterproof membrane attached and successfully demonstrated that the demountable SIPs could be deployed with relatively simple modifications to an existing commercial system. Establishing this principle gave the project team confidence to adopt this construction principal as part of the final design.


Activities done

  • LCA analysis

  • BIM model data extraction

  • LCC analysis

  • Scenario scope development

Demonstrated impacts

The performance of the project has been assessed over a period of 30 years and compared to a business as usual (BAU) ‘base case’ without the integration of DfD components or flexible spatial strategies. For this project, the BAU base case is assumed to be built using typical current standard industry methods, materials, products, components, and consist of the same useable floor area. The construction of the BAU base case is assumed to be a traditional steel frame with low-tech timber rainscreen cladding, as opposed to a unitised system. 


It is assumed that for both building types, the structures will need to be removed every 10 years in line with the ‘Meanwhile Use’ requirement of the site, and then reconstructed elsewhere. For the traditional construction base case we have allowed for a complete demolition and an identical new building will be constructed without the retention and re-use of any of the existing building components.  


It was found that, despite the demonstrator’s initial capital cost and whole-life embodied carbon being initially higher than the BAU base case, when evaluated over multiple re-use cycles the demonstrator outperformed the base case after a single reuse cycle

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