Edinburgh Turns Blue with St James Quarter Blueroof System Installation

ABG’s blueroof SuDS system for storm water attenuation was recently installed to the rooftops of St James Quarter as part of the £1 billion transformation of the former Edinburgh 1960s shopping precinct.

As with all large city centre developments, the storm water drainage plans for the St James Quarter site were subject to strict planning conditions, especially regarding the sustainable management of surface water run-off. To meet the Water Environment Controlled Activities Regulations in Scotland, all surface water from new developments needs to be attenuated and treated by a Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) in order to minimise downstream flood risk and control the flow rate of rainfall released into the local network.

Illustration of the ABG blueroof system

Drainage design consultants Arup specified the ABG blueroof system for the development in order to minimise surface water run-off and control the outflow of storm water from the site’s catchment area. Underground storage was not available on the St James site since three levels of basement parking are included beneath the shopping centre.

Blueroof SuDS System

ABG’s proposal for SuDS at the St James Quarter development was primarily designed to fit onto the 15,000m2 catchment area on the main rooftop garden on level 5 of the building. Here, 4,734m2 of 80mm deep blueroof attenuation system was installed by ABG’s contracting partners to manage the flow of water.

The ABG blueroof system filters and restricts storm water that deluges onto the roof (calculated to attenuate a 1-in-100 storm event, plus a 30% allowance for climate change) before gradually releasing it into the drainage system over a number of hours via the outlet control and filtration chambers.

ABG’s attenuation void formers being installed to roof level 5

Rooftop Planter Areas and Diffuser Chambers

The attenuation and restrictor chambers installed on level 5, and to the balcony areas at the front and rear of the upper apartment buildings, are supplemented with an additional 2,280m2 of ABG Roofdrain geocomposite to the base of rooftop planters to provide connected drainage and irrigation as part of the landscaping design. A bespoke diffuser chamber was also fitted to all downpipes as part of the design to control outflow rates.

By specifying and installing the ABG blueroof system, the requirement for sustainable drainage is accommodated neatly within the roof build-up, avoiding the cost and disruption of excavating basement SuDS storage tanks and helping to mitigate the risk of future downstream flooding and erosion.

Bespoke diffuser chambers to control downpipe outflow rates complete the drainage design

St James Quarter Development

St James Quarter first opened its doors to the public in June 2021. The development comprises a shopping galleria, an enticing mix of restaurants and bars, new apartments, a luxury W Edinburgh, a boutique Everyman Cinema, and a Roomzzz Aparthotel, all set in a range of attractive public spaces.

The St James Quarter development revitalises the city’s New Town and introduces 850,000 square feet of new retail space, holding a capacity for 80 new brands alongside Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace and Food Hall. The design makes use of the surrounding inner city topography, integrating with Edinburgh’s existing busy shopping areas and encouraging visitors to visit the area. The St James Quarter buildings include an extensive rooftop garden for the use of residents, offering spectacular views across the city and out towards the Firth of Forth.

For further information or enquiries, email buildings@abgltd.com.


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