Project on Time
Sports Hub, Colchester Northern Gateway
Leisure and Recreation
£28m project to nurture community wellbeing and enhance Colchester’s sporting capability has been completed.
A shining example of procurement efficiency delivered by Perfect Circle for a complex community-focused facility in the South East.
The aim of the scheme was to develop a state-of-the-art facility that exceeded the current needs of the community in order to encourage greater sports participation and improve the health and wellbeing of the local community. The scheme provides a long-lasting legacy for the region and will create employment and investment opportunities for years to come.
The new Sports Hub anchors the longer-term Northern Gateway development which seeks to address a shortage of housing in the south east and will form a new township on the edge of Colchester. The local rugby club was continuously over-subscribed and was in need of a larger facility to support the growth of the sport locally and regionally. An opportunity arose for Colchester Borough Council to provide a mixed-use sports development comprising:
- A 2,500m² dry leisure centre, including changing facilities; shower areas; café area; servery; kitchen; activity room; bike workshop; cycle store; physiotherapy room; Velo studio; multi-purpose room; cycle gym; and a multi-use sports hall for badminton, football, netball, futsal, and cricket, including a viewing gallery as well as associated support facilities.
- A 1,500m² rugby clubhouse for Colchester Rugby Club, including changing facilities, shower areas, office space, function space, and a bar.
- Seven grass pitches.
- Two 3G pitches, including ball-stop fencing and flood lights.
- A 1.6km closed circuit cycle track.
- A learn to ride track.
- A pump track.
- Running spaces.
- An archery range and club house.
- 350nr space car park.
- Maintenance sheds.
- All external supporting infrastructure.
- Off-site infrastructure upgrades and enhancements.
The development is established around a land swap deal, completed by third parties. This arrangement set the parameters and constraints on project delivery and therefore required additional, complex stakeholder management throughout. Stakeholders included British Cycling, Sports England, National Cricket Board, Essex Cricket Board, as well as Colchester Rugby Club and Colchester Borough Council’s operator for the sports centre.
Using the BECS framework allowed Perfect Circle, together with four preferred suppliers to engage with the project under a single delivery agreement. This provided a cost-effective procurement process and permitted the council to commence works immediately.
Furthermore, cost certainty was achieved through the commissioning of a vigorous feasibility study at inception and a subsequent comprehensive project plan positioned around the requirements of the multiple stakeholders and funding parties beyond Colchester Borough Council. Consistent cost checks, along with market testing, ensured the scheme was delivered within the financial constraints set out by the feasibility study. The resulting capital savings achieved were a total of £800,000 following the appointment of the main contractor.
The success of this project is owed, in part, to the use of digital technology and the implementation of innovative practices. The latest technology was used for undertaking site surveys – with the highly accurate data providing greater cost predictability. This reassured the client that they were reducing their risks and providing time savings.
Furthermore, the CostX platform provided data that automated the quantities for BIM models. This precise and efficient take-off measurement provided assurances for cost plan production, which led to time savings on the programme.
To really promote the site and generate excitement for the local community, drones were used to produce cutting-edge, high-quality video material. This will celebrate the scheme and ensure the stakeholders behind the project receive the recognition they deserve.
Smart programming was used to commission and contract for early works packages which led to the completion of the grass pitches a whole season earlier to allow for a full growing season before use. You can make a 360 tour of the site here.
The project achieved 100% fair payment within 30 days and a BREEAM rating of Very Good. The scheme also invested £875,000 in local spend within a 20 mile radius of the project.
Project on budget