GOLD MEDALLIST IN 2020 | Leisure

Jamie Beard
Willmott Dixon
All Finalists2020 Winners

Willmott Dixon

Tameside Wellness Centre, Denton

Jamie Beard’s precision planning brought in this leisure centre eight weeks early, within budget, and not just defect-free but with the quality feel of a superior private gym. He balanced the needs of three demanding stakeholders and introduced a new type of stainless steel pool construction that cut installation time. His embrace of digital technologies was so successful that the facility operator sold 800 new memberships before opening on the back of his virtual-reality walkthrough solution.

About the Project

Client: Network Space

Contract: JCT D&B 2016

Value: £11.5m

Jamie Beard’s precision planning completed this leisure centre eight weeks early, within budget, and not merely defect-free but with the quality feel of a private gym. He balanced the needs of three demanding stakeholders, introduced a new type of pool construction and successfully embraced digital technologies.

His previous experience of swimming pool construction was invaluable. He spent £90k upfront rather than the budgeted £25k to ensure the waterproofing system was designed, installed and warranted by the same contractor. The move ensured no subsequent expensive rectification of the pool slab waterproofing was required, which Jamie was well aware had proved necessary on previous schemes.

Rather than building a traditional in-situ concrete tank for the pool, he cut installation time by putting in a prefabricated stainless steel structure imported from Italy. Having built such tanks before, he insisted on positioning the super-large water balance tanks outside the building rather than under the pool surround to avoid what could be a nightmare insertion operation.

Digital innovation included virtual reality simulation so stakeholders could effectively picture how different spaces and finishes would appear, and a building information model viewer for supply chain use on site. There was also a Google Earth-style walkthrough of the completed building that helped the leisure centre operator sell 800 new memberships before opening.

Jamie adroitly changed the pool slab depth from 600mm to 225mm on top of piles. It saved money and time, reducing the amount of concrete and rebar required, and derisked the waterproofing solution.

Events can leave the best planning in shreds. It was a fate that Jamie avoided. When the pool hall roof arrived on site from Germany with unperforated steel decking, he achieved the required sound dampening by placing acoustic panels on the pool hall walls instead. And given £500k of additional works to incorporate, he still delivered everything by the handover deadline.