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Revitalising the town of Chard

Chard Leisure Centre, Somerset
Chard leisure centre

Multidisciplinary engineering services to deliver a new leisure centre, library and community facility incorporating both historic structures and new build.

Alliance Leisure and South Somerset District Council appointed us to help deliver a leisure centre, library and community facility in Chard.

The new facilities were designed to become a key attraction to revitalise the town and take account of planned growth.

Located on a 1.13 hectare site, the project included the demolition of existing historic industrial buildings. Building 11 was retained and extended to accommodate the town’s library and council office space.

We provided the structural scheme for the new leisure centre building and the extension to Building 11 for the library. Our engineers also provided renovation works support for Building 11, engineering assessments of the existing historical structure and demolition reports.

With challenging ground conditions on site, including contaminants and weak ground conditions, our geotechnical team carried out ongoing testing to provide assistance in planning conditions in consultation with the Environment Agency.

Given the ground conditions our structural engineering and geotechnical teams provided a cost effective foundation solution which avoided the need for excessive excavation and the removal of waste material from the site.

A piled scheme was proposed, with specific driven piles, in order to avoid contaminants from the upper soils infiltrating into groundwater.

We worked closely with the architect, AHR, to achieve a slimfloor construction and large spans to maximise usable space, while also providing a robust design against resonance due to the gym and dance studio. A steel frame allowed for a lightweight and slender building, achieving the elegant glazed structure designed by the architect.

The use of concrete planks provide good acoustic properties and vibration mitigation which adds to the building comfort for its users.

We worked closely with the contractor to drive design proposals to suit the preferred construction methods around the swimming pools.

We also provided appraisals of boundary structures to help inform and progress party wall discussions.

The site had challenging and complex drainage conditions which our civils and infrastructure engineers investigated. Modern day drainage was mixed with historic drainage from 1885. Natural drainage systems through the site needed to be maintained with the diversion of historic culverts.

We designed a number of schemes to provide options for the contractor and the end user, including both construction ease as well as ongoing maintenance.

Close consultation and liaison with the Lead Local Flood Authority, the Environment Agency and Wessex Water was critical to our designs.

The new facilities opened in 2021.

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