Severfield on winning team at the Structural Steel Design Awards

Structural steel specialist Severfield’s expertise on delivering award-winning architecturally significant projects has been recognised in a national industry award.

The Company saw off fierce competition to be handed the award as part of a project team for the eye-catching Splashpoint Leisure Centre in West Sussex at the 46th Structural Steel Design Awards held in London.

Worthing Pool

The awards, sponsored by The British Constructional Steelwork Association Ltd (BCSA) and Tata recognise the high standard of structural and architectural design attainable in the use of steel and its potential in terms of efficiency, cost effectiveness, aesthetics and innovation.

The use of steel was fundamental to achieving the project’s architectural concept as the material is ideally suited to provide the required 50m clear span for the main swimming pool with a ‘light’ feel. Steelwork also provided a number of other benefits including a reduced on-site programme and the avoidance of wet trades. It also helped the structure achieve the tight construction tolerances required.

The award was received on behalf of Severfield by Steven Day, deputy managing director at Severfield’s site in Lostock, Lancashire.

He said: “It is very gratifying to be recognised by our peers in the steel industry for delivering an innovative building that is admired by the public and which will serve them for years to come. Everyone involved in the project can be proud of their achievement, which further enhances the reputation of Severfield and highlights the skills of our workforce – not only Lostock, but across our entire business.”

The judges commented: “The architect’s concept of a shaped roof swooping towards the sea has been well executed, with large plate-girder beams, tidy roof details and glazed façades. The team integrated well and the building reflects this.

“This highly successful building is helping to revitalise the town and the steel structure is a key element in its enormous popularity.”

Splashdown Leisure Centre forms the centre piece of an ambitious regeneration launched by Worthing Borough Council and replaces a swimming pool built in the 1960s. The centre, which has been lauded for its iconic architecture, includes three pools and a fitness centre. The project achieved a BREEAM* ‘very good’ rating and is designed to be sensitive to coastal and town centre position.

Splashpoint’s dramatic sawtooth roof, with its ranks of sinuous ridges, recalls a series of dunes that curve and twist towards the coast. This concept, which won a RIBA design competition at the project’s inception, has been recognised at a global level as the project was also declared winner of the World Architecture Festival 2013 Sports Category.

The use of steel was fundamental to achieving the project’s architectural concept as the material is ideally suited to provide the required 50m clear span for the main swimming pool, giving the structure a ‘light’ feel, with high level glazing and transparent façades connecting the pool to the sea. Steelwork also provided a number of other benefits including a reduced on-site programme and the avoidance of wet trades. It also helped the structure achieve the tight construction tolerances, which were essential for the interfaces with the glazing, cladding and importantly the roofing that required a 5mm installation tolerance. Much of the steelwork within the pool area is exposed and as the environment is highly corrosive a three layer paint system was used.

Overall the project is split into two parts, with steel being used to frame and roof over the 50m long main swimming pool area and the adjacent 30m long leisure pool zone. Stability is provided by the two-storey structure housing the changing rooms and fitness centre.

The pool’s signature profiled roof is formed with two 50m long trapezoidal box sections that also transfer loads from the glazed western façade into adjacent parts of the building. For the roof, high grade stainless steel fixings have been used to support the roofing panels.

Coordination of the design was carried out using 3D models, with the architectural and fabrication models overlaid to help with early clash detection, which reduced costs and delays on site.

The fabricated structure, derived directly from the coordinated 3D model, fitted together perfectly on site. This was an impressive achievement, considering the complexity of the ridges, curves, steps and asymmetry of the structure.

Samples of each of the main beams were fabricated to provide quality benchmarks. The flush finish to shop and site welds provided the structure with clean, uninterrupted lines.

For ease of erection, site welding was limited to the mid-span of the two main box section beams by using bolted splices that reduced construction time while also improving site safety. These doubly curved asymmetric beams are subject to biaxial bending, axial compression and torsion as the complex geometry gives rise to a range of imbalanced wind and snow loads.

Moveable floors are fitted to both the diving and competition pools. These allow a full range of users to share the same space – swimming competitions, diving clubs, children’s activities, and water polo – and they provide flexibility over the life of the building.

Energy conservation and environmental friendliness were central to Splashpoint’s overall design. As much as possible, energy usage has been limited to ensure a low operational impact.

Alongside Severfield, the team behind the £18m Splashpoint included architect: Wilkinson Eyre Architects, structural engineer AECOM and main contractor Morgan Sindall. The client was Worthing Borough Council.