How new Sporting Developments can ‘steel’ a win

Sports & Leisure facilities like stadiums and arenas are made possible – and practical – thanks to steel structures.

Communities and contractors alike demand a lot of new buildings. They are to be both attractive and distinctive while sympathetic to surroundings both in aesthetic and construction-methods. And they are to be environmentally-sound and energy efficient while also versatile – functional for use by all members of a community.

Steel is perfectly suited to meet these needs, allowing for everything from flexible sports stadia and arenas to attractive theatres and museums.

Structural steel grants flexibility for designers to deliver striking aesthetics, creating both unique exteriors but ‘common’ interiors, such as large open spaces, free from columns and visual obstructions. For the open plan areas that are central to so many leisure facilities, steel is essential. Cellular beams are a cost-effective way to achieve this, using less steel without compromising on strength or length and useful for utilities or services within clad structures but also acceptable if kept as a visible feature.

When Chiltern District Council wanted to revamp its dated leisure and library facility, steel structures allowed for the desired open-plan spaces. We utilised cellular beams as both visible, attractive architectural features and practical integrations to create a stable structure for its large swimming area, housing a 25m pool.

Steel is also flexible in allowing for buildings to be part-disassembled and reconfigured. The temporary stadiums built for London’s 2012 Olympic Games have since been either moved or reconfigured to make permanent sporting homes. The Olympic Stadium was passed over to West Ham United and UK Athletics thanks to steel elements like connections and members being versatile and reusable without losing any of their valuable properties.

Where leisure facilities are multi-functional and multi-storey, steels use for metal decking grants functionality, strength and speed of installation. Carefully fabricated flooring allows for the heavy footfall and variety of weight loading buildings like stadiums or auditoriums experience.

For main contractors, structural steel offers assurances to meet time or cost restrictions – of particular importance if developments are being delivered for the public purse. Steel frames can be constructed and clad speedily, allowing for parallel installations to move into a build early on in a project and offering a visible ‘quick win’ for constructors working under the watchful eye of clients or communities.

Steel was a good match for Rotherham United Football Club, as we supplied structural steelwork for its stadium. The 12,000-seat New York Stadium owes its aesthetic to steel, creating a ‘bowl’ style design and cantilever roof. Beneath lie other benefits, with the club’s eight executive boxes, in use for match days, able to quickly convert into one large room thanks to moveable partition walls. The benefits extended beyond the stadium’s towering exterior and interior versatility though. Using structural steel allowed the main contractor to work to a tight schedule; ready for the team to be back on home turf in time for the new season.

A quick glance over, or inside, many of the country’s most notable or entertaining new buildings shows how structural steel is the construction material of choice for both aesthetic and functional purposes.

beige and blue basketball court

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