The Leadenhall Building

122 Leadenhall Street, City of London, London

General Information

Other Name/Nickname:Cheese-grater
Architectural Style:Corporate ...
Project Start Date:-
Phase:In Construction
Official Building Website:

The supporting structural core is located to the northern side of the development hosting all lift shafts, toilets and plant machinery within thus maximising the available office space outside it. There are two emergency cores located outside the detached main core. An extensive canopy on the southern side is utilised to help deal with the down-drafts. The extension of the public realm thanks to the enclosed space at the base of the tower will be approximately half an acre. This area will be topped by ceilings 27m above floor level. The angle of the wedge shape is such that each subsequent floor is 75cm less on the southern side than the one under it. The primary purpose is to allow it to taper away from St Paul's Cathedral and reduce its profile from protected view points. Head of construction at British Land, Richard Elliot, has announced that the tower will begin in 2007 with structural engineer Arup, carrying out wind tunnel testing in 2006 and seeing the design refined. The nickname, "the Cheese Grater", was coined by this site in response to the "Gherkin" and "Shard." The original name coined by the British press was "the Thunderbird" which has failed to stick.

The supporting structural core is located to the northern side of the development hosting all lift shafts, toilets and plant machinery within thus maximising the available office space outside it. There are two emergency cores located outside the detached main core. An extensive canopy on ...

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  • Kone, Lift Engineer
  • DP9, Planning Consultant
  • M3 Consulting, Project Manager
  • British Land, Developer
  • Laing O'Rourke, Main Contractor
  • Richard Rogers Partnership, Architect
  • ARUP, Structural Engineer

Significant Individuals


  • Andrew Sedgwick, ARUP
  • Justin Lau, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • Elisa Casciano, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • Andy Bryce, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • Maurice Brennan, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Technical Information


Gross internal area:-
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Height (top of project):225.00m
Height (top floor):-
Floors above ground:48
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Design costs:-
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Total capital cost:GB£286,000,000.00


Structural Material:Steel


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EPC Information

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DEC Information

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Utility Providers







BREAM Rating:Excellent
NABER Rating:-
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Validated by owner:No


Trivia Posted September 15th, 2014

This project has achieved unprecedented levels of pre-fabrication for a high rise structure in the UK with approximately 85% of the project assembled off site.

Trivia Posted November 6th, 2014

6th Nov BBC Reports: Two large steel bolts have broken off the Cheesegrater building in London. No-one was injured but an area around the base of the 47 storey Leadenhall Building in the City has been cordoned off. The building is one of the tallest in London, standing at 734ft (224m). Owners British Land said a full investigation was being conducted and the remaining bolts were being fully examined. The investigation will look at why one part of one of the bolts became dislodged and fell to the ground at the side of the building within the hoarding line.

Trivia Posted November 6th, 2014

It is believed that the bolts that fell in Nov 2014 came from the 15th and fifth floors of the tower.

Trivia Posted November 6th, 2014

Developer British Land have issued a Stock Exchange statement which said: “Two steel bolts have recently broken on The Leadenhall Building. “No one was injured in either incident and there is no risk to the structural integrity of the building. “Public safety is our priority so we have taken a number of precautionary measures: “A full investigation is being conducted by contractor Laing O’Rourke and structural engineers Arup. “An examination is being undertaken of the remaining bolts. An area has been cordoned off around the base of the building while this process is ongoing.” The bolts connect the nodes on the megaframe, but British Land said “the design of the structure allows for isolated events of this type and do not affect the structural integrity of the building.”

Trivia Posted December 11th, 2014

The interviews of the BBCs 'The Apprentice' in 2014 took place at the Leadenhall Building

Trivia Posted January 31st, 2015 spoke to Paul Lambert, technical director of materials and corrosion engineering at Mott MacDonald. He told us: “Hydrogen embrittlement causes fear among engineers, because it attacks the fundamental reason for using steel in the first place.” It is also apparently the subject of intense interest and controversy among the materials science community, owing to the competing theories of what is occurring at the atomic level. Paul Lambert, technical director of materials and corrosion engineering, Mott MacDonald The basic mechanism is that single atoms of hydrogen enter the steel, migrate through the crystal lattice, and are attracted to the areas of highest stress. Here they cause tiny fractures to propagate, and in a worst-case scenario, a cascading effect can take place, as the stress increases and attracts more free hydrogen atoms, leading to a sudden catastrophic failure – such as the shearing of a bolt. One of the peculiarities of this process is that it particularly affects very hard steel developed for high stress uses, Lambert explains. “The problem is well known and there are magic numbers – such as 320 Vickers HV – above which the risk of hydrogen embrittlement becomes greater. The first thing to ask is whether the hardness of your bolt is above that value, and if it is, you’d expect an engineer to take certain precautions.” It is well known that hydrogen can be introduced into steel by the use of acid, so it is advised that any plating or coating procedures using acid be avoided. It is also recommended that very hard steel components be “baked”, at about the same temperature as a sponge cake. This drives incipient hydrogen out of the steel’s lattice. “You have to know what you’re doing, because if you take the temperature too high for too long you can weaken the bolt,” says Lambert. “But all of this is well known and it’s in the international standards, for example ISO 15330. You could argue that the problem is being aggravated by the fact that we have very fast production, delivery and use times, which means that the processing has to be very precise: if it’s done too quickly, you risk letting the hydrogen in and you may not be getting it out afterwards.” The international standard ISO 15330 says that before bolts of a certain hardness are used, they should be subjected to a “preloading test for the detection of hydrogen embrittlement”. But once they are in situ, testing apparently becomes problematic. “It’s very difficult to do non-destructive testing for bolts that might have tiny cracks because the nature of a bolt is that it has many tiny cracks built into it anyhow, so unless you have a large one forming you’re not going to detect it,” says Lambert. “Inspection is easier with very large bolts if you can get to both ends. It’s hard to use radiography for all sorts of practical reasons, so you’ll probably be using ultrasound, and it’s hard to get a good image. If you were to take them out you could use a combination of X-rays and ultrasound.” The job is an arduous one, because only about 5% of bolts are typically susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement. Lambert says: “If it were me, I’d try to find records on the sourcing of the bolts, because you might be able to isolate a bad batch.” The obvious solution to the susceptibility of very hard steel to hydrogen embrittlement is to simply avoid using it in situations where failure might have serious consequences. So Lambert, only perhaps half joking, says the fault lies with the aesthetic sensibilities of architects – if buildings were designed by engineers, he says, “they’d have whopping great bolts made from low strength steel”. That being an unlikely development, it seems that design and construction teams will just have to learn to live with hydrogen embrittlement. “The reason that hydrogen embrittlement causes fear among engineers is because it risks undermining one of the fundamental reasons for using ferrous materials in the first place. If you have a steel ladder and an aluminium ladder, steel might rust and bend and you could see that. The aluminium ladder would be pristine right up until the point when it breaks with no warning whatever. It’s the ductility and forgivingness of steel that we like, so we get worried when this forgiving material with all its faults suddenly lets us down.”

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