Engineering an active place in a contained space
With existing facilities for the community of West Bromwich in need of updating, Places for People Leisure was appointed by the local council to design, build and run a new complex for the town. The leisure centre provides a much sought after 25-metre, six-lane swimming pool and learner pool, a sauna and steam room, a four-court sports hall and 100-station gym, two dance studios/ activity rooms, and an indoor children’s adventure play centre and café. The client required the design to create an energy efficient building.
BuroHappold Engineering was appointed to develop the MEP brief and assist construction company Pellikaan in the management of the MEP design and installation for the project.
The site’s location presented a number of challenges for our engineers. Close proximity to residential areas and a busy road impacted the ability to naturally ventilate parts of the building.
This had an influence on the location and performance of development’s mechanical plant, which in turn made delivering an energy efficient building more complicated for our team.
With concerns that the mechanical ventilation and cooling ventilation plant would cause noise issues for the neighbouring houses, we specified the plant to have low noise levels. We also supplemented this approach by locating the plant away from the residential areas and using the building as a shield. The use of combined heat power plant, alongside good construction and specialised materials, ensured that the building attained its energy efficiency and was a successful addition to the local residential area.
Alongside strategic and innovative thinking, close collaboration with the MEP contractor was also crucial to the project’s success. By combining our design with the contractors’ construction knowledge, we were able to optimise the services design, as well as streamlining the installation and commissioning of the MEP services.
Our engineers modelled the building’s main atrium to determine the optimum number of opening vents required to effectively ventilate the space and make it comfortable for the people using it. Following this, we strategically positioned the atrium’s opening vents away from the nearby road and utilising its natural stack effect to achieve optimal levels of natural ventilation.
By effectively communicating with the rest of the design team and considering the needs of the surrounding community, we have been able to contribute to delivering an outstanding leisure centre complex. The development treads lightly on the environment while providing much needed sports facilities for local residents.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply