Combining new structures with existing structural frames in a refurbishment project
Wigan Life Centre is a public services hub that delivers a range of council services and leisure facilities. The main contract was awarded to Morgan Sindall, who in turn appointed Elland Steel to supply and install the structural package for both the north and south site.
The refurbishment project required the careful retention of the grade II listed façade at the north site. This building also needed the fabrication and installation of 500 tonnes of new steelwork and metal decking.
Whereas, the south site involved repurposing the swimming pool and basement and adding 5 floors of new steelwork, totalling 1000 tonnes. Both sites had their own set of risks. The collaboration between pre-construction teams was fundamental to overcoming challenges on this development project.
The design challenges of combining the old with the new styles
LCE architects reimagined the building, reinventing it with a modern, open flowing design. The grade II listed façade was paired with a glazed front elevation to maximise the natural daylight in the building.
The structural engineer was tasked with finding a way to achieve the architectural vision of a light open space whilst ensuring that the building was structurally sound.
The structural steel frame provided a column free solution for the main pool
At the south site, the requirements were analysed and a steel frame was recommended by the Structural Engineer. It would keep the overall weight of the frame to a minimum to produce an efficient substructure design. The solution included a 27m-long by 7m deep ‘King truss’ with beams running to it, to achieve a column-free area for the main pool.
Working with the structural engineer, Baker Hicks, Elland Steel fabricated 500 tonnes of structural steel including the ‘King’ truss. This truss weighed 53t and it supports two floors and the roof. We shipped the trusses to site in six sections, assembling them on the ground, before lifting them into position to reduce the amount of work at height.
The end result: A refurbishment success that minimised risk
Built on the site of the former swimming pool, the new structure makes use of the old basement level, which was retained after the demolition process. This required close collaboration and risk management from all parties involved to maximise constructability. We also improved buildability by fabricating the steelwork in a way that it could be quickly assembled on the ground, before being lifted into position.
Using cloud survey techniques, an accurate representation of the existing structure allowed the merge of the new with the existing structure, in order to confidently plan as safe sequence of temporary works and careful modification of the existing structure.
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