Our civil and structural engineers designed a replacement for Horwich Leisure Centre on a brownfield site, next to the original leisure centre. The design team used Level 2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) for the project and we federated our structural model into the master model with the other design disciplines’ information.

The location for the new centre presented several significant challenges, including a busy road, houses and a watercourse close by. The existing centre occupied part of the site and it was important to maintain access during construction. There was also a steep slope across the site, which we had to manage to provide level access to the new facilities.

To eliminate the cost of removing the contaminated material from site and keep the loads on the tunnel within permissible limits, we designed a steel frame with lightweight concrete floors for the new building. Due to the contamination, we selected piles as the best foundation solution, to minimise the amount of material to be exported. As the piles would penetrate the clay layer, the Environment Agency were concerned that this could pollute the aquifer with contaminated groundwater. To prevent this, we selected small diameter continuous flight augured piles, with concrete pumped under pressure at the same time as the pile is bored, as the lowest risk solution.

To avoid damage and enable a favourable spread of load down to the tunnel, we designed the piling to end well above the tunnels. The depth of the tunnels varies across the site and we carefully considered the interaction between the foundations and the tunnels and modelled the effects on the tunnels with finite element analysis.

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