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The Television Centre project comprises the phased redevelopment of the existing BBC Television Centre in London into a complex of residential and commercial buildings. Geotechnically, the scheme comprises deepening basements, reuse of existing foundations and retaining walls.

ge award project of the yearThe design programme was tight and therefore phased and targeted delivery was critical. Key to project success is the understanding of the existing structures which were built over a period of 50 years and often share foundations.



bbc project 01To inform the scheme a specialist site investigation was carried out in Autumn 2014 which included the following:

  • Cable percussive and rotary boreholes internal and external to existing structures to obtain geological and geotechnical information and to investigate existing deep foundations:
  • Trial and observation pits to investigate existing shallow and deep foundations of buildings, interaction between structures and retaining walls;
  • Localised removal of asbestos in an extensive undercroft void below some areas of basement to facilitate intrusive investigations;
  • Targeted structural coring to augment trial pitting works;
  • Pump and soakaway tests to inform the proposed dewatering scheme and reduce the length of cut off walls needed;
  • Sampling for geotechnical, structural and environmental laboratory testing.


bbc project 02Apart from the usual challenges associated with this type of work, additional challenges that required considerable skill, open communication and a pro-active and flexible approach were:

  • Site Logistics and clearing access:  The former BBC site was large and complex and there were multiple activities taking place at the same time.  Access arrangements were different at different parts of the site and changed on a weekly and sometimes on a daily basis restricting routes and zones of work; 
  • Identification and removal of asbestos simultaneously with the investigation works in order to avoid delays in the investigation programme;
  • Working inside buildings, within very limited working space; this especially affected obtaining information for foundation reuse; several techniques were adopted such us structural coring alongside and in place of pitting, parallel seismic tests, and fluxgate gradiometry tests to overcome the constraints;
  • Fume and dust control in confined space areas, and; 
  • Relatively high groundwater table through granular materials – the original structure was constructed in a de-watered environment meaning many of the existing foundations are now submerged, making it difficult to excavate to depths required to confirm construction information.


bbc project 03bbc project 04Concept achieved the efficient delivery of the project within a reasonable timeframe by adopting a proactive and unusually flexible approach in overcoming the logistical and access difficulties. 

The flexibility of the approach meant critical information to inform design and construction planning for the rest of the project was obtained in a safer and more sustainable way. 

Concept used their extensive experience in existing foundation investigation and GI techniques to develop alternative solutions to obtain information, improve safety, achieve the investigation objectives and minimise costs without compromising quality of the key technical data.





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