With movable swimming-pool floorings, a football pitch set down on top, and 105 metres of waterslide, Morgan Sindall is having a great deal of enjoyable developing the Woolwich Leisure Centre

Agreement: NEC 4 Option A
Job worth: ₤ 80m
Main specialist: Morgan Sindall
Customer: Royal Borough of Greenwich
Structure: Southern Construction Framework
Engineer: Buro Happold
Designer: FaulknerBrowns Architects
Demolition: Redhammer
Foundation and strengthened concrete: Mitchellson Formwork and Civil Engineering
Steelwork: Elland Steel
Drape walling: Drayton Windows
Pool: Feet Leisure
M&E: Halsion
Building start: April 2021
Building handover: October 2025

Woolwich’s history has actually long been bound up with water. It is home to among the capital’s earliest river crossings– the very first records of the Woolwich Ferry go back to the 1300s– and was selected by King Henry VIII to moor his navy’s flagship.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is continuing the water style as it takes the district into its next life phase. The heart of the council’s regrowth method is an ₤ 80m leisure centre, with the centerpiece an advanced swimming complex.

When it opens in 2025, Woolwich Leisure Centre will host 5 pool, a medical spa, a six-court sports hall, a five-a-side football pitch, a two-level gym, dance and spinning studios, 2 squash courts, a coffee shop, a soft play, celebration spaces, studio areas and a district energy centre– all on a 12,000 square metre plot of land.

Having actually effectively provided multimillion-pound leisure centres in Slough, Worthing and east London, Morgan Sindall turned its attention to southeast London. It hasn’t all appeared cruising. Not just is the website compact, however it likewise has some bothersome neighbours: a hectic bus station, a noted theatre and a 500-home job being constucted by housebuilder Hill Group.


Cleaning up and heating up the million litres of water required for the swimming pools takes a great deal of plant. Real estate that plant under the flooring needed a massive excavation. The 1,800 square metre basement will hold a 190 square metre UK Power Networks substation and low-voltage plant space, 1,360 square metres of plant for the swimming pools, consisting of filtering and balance tanks, and a 250 square metre energy centre to heat up the leisure centre, the Tramshed theatre (a 100-year-old Grade II-listed previous electrical power substation) and the domestic advancement.

The brand-new leisure centre is being developed on the website of Viscount House, latterly a Wilko shop, on General Gordan Square. As quickly as the group began allowing operate in April 2021, they faced an issue– there were no records of how the previous structure was made.

Engineering company Buro Happold performed trial excavations, finding that the previous structure’s structures were mainly mass-filled concrete, bedded on Thanet Sands. There was a catch: the structures entirely surrounded the structures of the neighbouring Tramshed theatre. This implied that eliminating the mass fill for stacking was not possible. Rather, Buro Happold developed brand-new 4-metre-deep structures that included the existing structures.

Stacking subcontractor Foundation Piling eliminated one side of the clog by coring a secant-pile development 4 metres through the mass-fill concrete. The group then backfilled the location and drilled constant flight-auger stacks 6 metres deep. The stacks were cantilevered to prevent deflection without requiring props.

The complex structures weren’t the only below ground surprise– the group likewise invested ₤ 1m diverting underground services. “Every time you do a job in London, you do not understand where the services are,” states Morgan Sindall senior task supervisor Mike Perera. “Even company do not understand where the services are.”

In spite of all the blockages, the group removed 11,250 cubic metres of product in 6 weeks. Construction-waste professional GRS took around 50,000 tonnes of soil and stones– more than 95 percent of the excavated product– to its aggregates processing plant in Tilbury, Essex. There it cleaned and segregated the products before recycling them into shingle aggregate and sharp sand to utilize on other regional building tasks.

Structure 5 pool to last 40 years is a huge ask. Each swimming pool includes exact requirements and particular engineering difficulties. The competitors swimming pool, for instance, is developed to Sports England requirements, needing it to be precisely 25 metres long. If the measurements were one millimetre off, the group would need to destroy their work and begin once again.

Mike King, building director at concrete subcontractor Mitchellson, states that the company took a “belt-and-braces” method to creating and developing the concrete shells of the swimming swimming pools in order to fulfill the high requirements set out before them.

“It was a great deal of work collaborating in between ourselves, Morgan Sindall and [swimming pool subcontractor] Feet Leisure to integrate the M&E [mechanical & electrical] aspects into the enhanced concrete– method above what we usually do,” states King. “Everything is examined before and after every concrete put– when you’ve done it there’s no going back.”

An overall of 49 puts for the basement structures, basement pieces, liner wall, primary swimming-pool pieces and training-pool walls were finished in between October in 2015 and this January, including 3,600 cubic metres of water resistant and basic concrete.

Water resistant concrete putting continues for the transfer channels in the primary swimming pool and training swimming pools, main-pool walls, and the leisure and young child swimming pools. These need more than 40 puts and an overall of 665 cubic metres of concrete, Building News comprehends.

Mitchellson utilized a water resistant additive in the concrete and set up waterbar on all the building joints. To make sure the structures were sealed from the point of building and construction they pick standard waterbar over hydrophilic strips, which end up being watertight with time by swelling in contact with water.

Wet and dry separation

Secret to preventing leakages and spills is preserving a rigorous separation in between damp and dry locations. The 5 swimming pools, medspa centers and damp altering locations will inhabit the very first flooring of the leisure centre, with the sports halls and workout studios sitting above.

Putting the 2 so close together is still a danger. “The chlorine-rich environment [of the swimming pool] is actually destructive,” states Morgan Sindall location director Richard Dobson. “Any metal that is not the best grade will simply rust.”

Products were thoroughly picked to supply a strong barrier in between various locations. Glass-reinforced plastic doorsets are a water resistant and corrosion-resistant option to wood or metal, and cellular glass board insulation supplies a completely sealed vapour barrier.

Drape walling utilized internally forms another vapour barrier. The joints will be sealed with EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), a water resistant and resilient artificial rubber.

Designer FaulknerBrowns initially developed a roofing system with 80 penetrations. Morgan Sindall dealt with Buro Happold to revamp the roofing steelwork, whittling that number to 4. “Eighty penetrations suggests 80 locations leakages can take place,” states Dobson.

Steelwork to hold a football pitch

Putting a football pitch on the 3rd floor of a structure is not an apparent relocation. The structure’s frame should be especially tough to hold up against all the vibration from an energetic video game, however engineers can’t simply put more columns in the middle of the pitch without obstructing of the action.

Buro Happold, which crafted the 1,200-tonne steel frame, utilized purpose-built software application to design the vibrant reaction. Steel beams are efficiently sized to offer stability over long periods.

A 40-tonne truss over the sports hall will assist stabilise the structure while still enabling a big totally free floorspace. A 36-tonne truss will support the roofing over the leisure waters, while 25-metre-long plate girders determining 1,800 by 650 millimetres will boost the roofing system over the competitors swimming pool.

Going swimmingly

When the top-level locations (ceilings, walls, M&E and decor) are finished in early 2025, it will then be time to set up the leisure centre’s pièce de résistance– 105 metres of waterslide. The 2 flumes will be raised in area by area with spider cranes and created by employees in cherry pickers. Tiling will then be finished to the locations that were not ended up due to spider crane positions.

High-end surfaces to the swimming pool locations are important to the style. Top quality tiling is a lot easier to clean up and preserve– as soon as the leisure centre opens in December 2025, with extended hours there will not be much time for touch-ups and upkeep.

This requires a ton of tiles– 10,800 square metres, to be precise. Each tile, of which the biggest is 1,200 millimetres by 600 millimetres, needs to be set up to a high level of tolerance to satisfy exacting health requirements.

Morgan Sindall has yet to select a tile setup subcontractor, however it will need to be comfy with a variety of tiles. Glazed ceramic tiles will be utilized within the swimming pools for a smooth surface, while the poolside-area ends up need slip resistance. The professional anticipates to use around 30 tilers to finish the task. “Managing [so many] tilers is a task in itself,” states Dobson.

As soon as the swimming pools are constructed, they will be checked for watertightness one at a time, recycling the very same water to prevent waste. 2 shallow water tight evaporation trays will drift in each body of water, filled with 75 millimetres of water. The water level in the swimming pools and trays will be taped every 24 hours over a seven-day duration. Any leak will then be computed by comparing the water loss from the swimming pool basins with the water loss within the evaporation trays.

Regardless of all the detailed engineering needed, the group has actually dived into the obstacle.

“Leisure centres are a lot of mini-projects within a larger task,” states Perera. “I can’t see myself wishing to return and do workplace tasks and labs.”

Variable depths

2 of the swimming pools will include floorings that can be raised and decreased, permitting various water depths for various activities. There will be waist-heigh water levels for aquaerobics and toddler-friendly depths for swimming lessons.

When all the stacks have actually been set up, Dutch moveable-floor expert Variopool will bore holes into the basement and established hydraulic rams and hydropowered water pumps, which will raise the flooring up and down. It will then set up momentary props and fit the platform on top.

Mechanical and electrical subcontractor Halsion will collaborate with Mitchellson to fit the ventilation systems, making it possible to heat and tidy the water without producing condensation.

When the water temperature level and tidiness are signed off, scuba divers completely scuba equipment will climb up under the platform through a hatch and get the props, permitting the platform to go up and down.

“If our walls are jagged it will not work,” states Perera. “Think of putting your hand through water– just how much force you require. Envision that with a platform.”

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