The Challenge:

Procured through the North West Construction Hub and funded in partnership by Liverpool City Council, The Football Association (FA) and Sport England; the project involved working with multiple stakeholders and meeting a range of funding specific criteria.

The works were part of the FA’s ambitious plan to build more than 150 new “football hubs” across the country by the end of the decade, meaning we had to work to tight budget and programme constraints. The programme is of significant importance to Liverpool City Council and the FA’s vision, given that football is the city’s major participation sport with over 1,200 teams, of which more than 60% are junior/ youth teams.

The radical new approach to transform grassroots football and how it is played across the country involves reversing years of neglect to municipal facilities. The aim is to create a more sustainable model of working, achieved by increasing functionality of the pitches and improving each locations’ ability to be financially self-sufficient in the future.

All four of the large capital project sites spanned the city and ran concurrently with one another. The intricacies of each site involved a multitude of stakeholder groups, specialist subcontractors and end users; whilst navigating unexpected late stakeholder changes.

The Solution:

We strategically phased the programme so that construction works were aligned to run concurrently with Project Manager, Wayne Blair, overseeing the delivery of all four. Wayne was supported by individual site teams to ensure wholescale collaboration, consistency of product delivery and a unified team ‘lessons learned’ approach.

Close collaboration, regular meetings and workshops between all teams and stakeholders proved invaluable in ensuring that budget, programme quality outputs were both understood and achieved through the development of a collaborative programme.

We developed fast track solutions for all aspects of the works through the application of expert knowledge and regular engagement with specialist subcontractors during the preconstruction stage. We promoted the sharing of lessons learned from between contractors to ensure that solutions were “best for project”.

To meet the tight programme requirements, we used varying techniques and material enhancements such as modular construction, which allowed an offsite solution and provided the buildings and extensions at an accelerated rate in line with the client’s tight programme requirements.

To increase capacity and functionality of the hubs, each site features the installation of three, full size 11 a-side 3G pitches; each capable of being sub-divided into smaller pitches. Each pitch is floodlit which provides the flexibility of playing matches at different times of the week and encourages a move away from traditional weekend kick-off.

Due to the scale of the project and significance of the works, we made conservative choices when selecting our supply chain to safeguard the project. For example, we opted for two separate pitch specialists, each carrying out work to two of the four sites whilst supporting our unified team approach.

The Impact:

The innovative triple AGP all-weather development allows repetitive matches all year round as opposed to 1 or 2 games per week on natural turf pitches. This solution means that more people can benefit from all the associated social and health benefits of physical activity and the hubs can benefit from increased revenues from more users.

Two of the sites’ facilities include 6 off site modular constructed team changing pavilions and fitness centres with the remaining two sites benefiting from the addition of modular extensions to the existing traditionally built pavilions. The modular buildings increase the existing offering users and enable the club to source their own revenue, as a move towards the client’s aspirations of more self-sufficient facilities. 

The development of a collaborative programme with key stakeholders enabled us to streamline the sequencing of work and assisted with adding value elsewhere in the contract, such as CSR initiatives. The site teams and sub-contractors have worked collaboratively with local community groups and charities through various events including a football fun day at the Simpson Ground for children supported by the Wirral charity, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline. In addition to helping worthy charitable causes, these collaborative events boosted publicity of the development and helped the client’s engagement expectations to be exceeded with 40,000 registrations and 150,000 visits through the facilities in the first six months of operation.

This close relationship with stakeholders and unified team approach ultimately enabled us to protect both programme and quality outputs when faced with unexpected late stakeholder changes. The project received post-completion customer satisfaction rate of 92.8% and the client rated overall satisfaction with Kier ‘9/10’, advising that they were “Totally satisfied with the team partnership from the start”

" “It has been a pleasure to work with Kier since the preconstruction period to deliver the four projects to meet our deadlines" "
Mike Kearney Head of Sports and Recreation Liverpool City Council

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