CEEQUAL: Bermondsey Dive Under

Reducing carbon, materials, waste and cost through a collaborative approach between client, designers, and contractors

CEEQUAL Excellent (96.6%) – Whole Project Award

Client: Network Rail
Designer: Ramboll
Contractor: Skanska

Project summary

The Bermondsey Dive Under project, delivered by Skanska as part of Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme, created a new junction helping to untangle tracks and reduce delays on the approach to London Bridge station. The works involved demolition and reconstruction of the 180 year old brick arch viaduct to create new infrastructure that allows south east London services to ‘dive under’ the Thameslink lines unimpeded.

Bermondsey Dive Under is situated near South Bermondsey train station and Millwall Football Club in an urban environment surrounded by both commercial and residential properties. The £75million project began construction in 2012 and was completed for hand over to maintenance in April 2017. At the height of construction, the project employed 45 office staff and 200 site personnel including graduates and operatives from the local area.

The Bermondsey Dive Under project began construction in 2012 and was completed for hand over to maintenance in April 2017

Challenges and Achievements

Key to achieving an ‘Excellent’ Whole Project Award score of 96.6%, was a truly collaborative approach between client, designers, and contractors. Early contractor involvement and a ‘One Team’ approach allowed time for optioneering, as well as a sustainable design that significantly reduced carbon, materials, waste and cost.

Examples of this included:

  • The number of piles was reduced from 1600 to 1000 decreasing the total tonnage by over 175 T and the overall length by 10,000 m
  • Changing the specification for a structural steel bridge from painted steel to weathered steel lead to almost halving the total costs over the bridge’s lifetime – through lower initial costs and elimination of maintenance materials.
  • Bermondsey Dive Under also produced a Materials Management Plan allowing material from the demolition of the viaduct arches to be reused onsite. This resulted in a total of 31,500 m3 of material being reused on onsite reducing costs of fill material and waste removal while also reducing lorry movements in the local community.

Community Engagement

Another key success of the project was the extensive community engagement programme. The project maintained regular contact with the local community through delivering notification letters; holding community information sessions; and running several open days where residents had the opportunity to visit the site, and meet the project team.

As part of Thameslink’s sustainability strategy, Bermondsey Dive Under also undertook extensive community improvement projects such as upgrading the garden in the Lewington Community Centre; volunteering on the XLP youth charity mobile youth bus; and spending a week refurbishing a youth club in a local church. All this work resulted in excellent community relations; fewer complaints; positive media coverage on TV and newspapers; and left a positive legacy within the community.


Through a joint commitment to Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme’s Biodiversity Net Positive policy and Skanska’s Biodiversity Working Group aims the project were able to achieve an overall biodiversity net positive increase of 113%. The inherited site contained previous tenant’s debris and soils heavily contaminated with asbestos, hydrocarbons and Japanese Knotweed. The extent of this contamination meant only 0.1 hectares of the original 1.5 hectares of vegetation could be retained. Wildflower planting and green walls were installed to offset lost vegetation, using techniques that are easily replicable and scalable. Green walls were installed in locations that would otherwise be void space under arches and access ramps. Wildflower planting on railway embankments creates green corridors and stepping stones to the wider area, and the planting supports the Lewisham and Southwark local authority’s Biodiversity Action Plans.

The project net biodiversity score was externally verified and having more than doubled the pre-construction units the project leaves a fantastic legacy both environmentally and aesthetically for the local community.

Note: The Bermondsey Dive Under CEEQUAL assessment was undertaken by assessors Conor McCone & Craig Hales (Skanska); Kirsten Velthuis (Schofield Lothian); Charlotte Tuffley & Gerardo Austria (Network Rail). This case study was first published by CEEQUAL in April 2017. Some words and phrases have been updated for historical consistency.