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Lancashire County Cricket Club Wins at ISE Awards

15th October 2014

Old Trafford Cricket Ground

The refurbishment of Lancashire County Cricket Club's historic pavilion has won the ‘Most Innovative Project of the Year’ category at the Institution of Structural Engineers’ North West Structural Awards.

Capita provided civil, structural and geotechnical consultancy services on various aspects of the project which houses the club’s reception, hospitality areas and various other facilities.

New hospitality suites were built on the second floor, while the third floor houses a showpiece room – the 1864 Suite - and also the club’s boardroom. The uppermost level of the fourth floor contains nine glass-fronted executive boxes which have their own external balcony space and offer unparalleled views out over the cricket pitch, Manchester and the Pennines beyond.

The project was part of a wider redevelopment of the ground comprising a new hospitality and events facility, two new grandstands (increasing capacity from 15,000 to 25,000), the redesigned pavilion, permanent floodlights, a state-of-the-art scoreboard, a hotel, new player dressing rooms and a new media facility.

Andy James, Capita, discusses the project: “In developing the structural design it was essential that a complete understanding of the structural form, condition and existing material specifications was obtained. However the pavilion needed to remain operational during the investigations; this included hosting weddings and other ceremonial events; patched up holes in walls were clearly not acceptable.  Therefore to obtain samples we made use of the numerous pictures and photographs and ‘hid’ the exploratory holes behind them!  In addition to these super structure interrogations, carefully located trail pits were undertaken to ascertain the nature of the existing footings in order that they could be coordinated with new foundations.

Although a significant amount of data was obtained the operational nature of the building was such that there were gaps in the information, and whilst in some cases we were able to interpolated, residual risks could not fully eliminated.  Knowing where the gaps in information were, however, allowed contingencies to be adequately quantified and managed.

The previous building was demolished back to the original Long Room and pitch facing facades.  A retention system was provided to stabilise the walls until they could be tied back the new structure.  The design of the system was carefully coordinated with the requirements of the permanent elements to minimise modifications during construction.

New floors were provided behind the retained facades together with a two storey extension above the long room.  The roof and external walls to the long room was not adequate to support the additional loads imposed by the extension and therefore new structure was ‘threaded’ through the roof and lower floors and supported on new foundations.  In addition and due to the significant new openings required in the rear wall of the Long Room the fourth floor of the extension spans the full width of the Long Room and provides transfer elements for the ‘step backs’ higher up.

Whilst support from the existing retained elements was minimised this could not be avoided in certain locations.  Material parameters obtained from the investigation works allowed us to demonstrate the adequacy of the existing masonry panels.  The existing foundations, however, were shown to be inadequate therefore underpinning comprising of needle beams and mini-piles has been utilised.

To minimise the impact on the existing structure and foundations a steel composite frame was chosen with lightweight concrete floors. Following optioneering a constrained beam depth design (with services suspended beneath) was chosen in order that new and existing floor levels could be coordinated whilst meeting the desired floor to ceiling heights.

New foundations included 450 diameter continuous flight augured concrete piles taken down some 18m to the sandstone bedrock.

Lateral stability elements comprise of a mix of vertical braced bays along with the use of the retained masonry panels.  The stiffness of the new bracing system was constrained to ensure sway limits were commensurate with the elevational treatments.

In this particular building the structural design is by and large hidden from view.  The complexity of the problems initially faced was broken down into simple and easy to understand concepts that are not ‘on show’ in the completed building.  It is this approach which has resulted in the success of this project.  The spaces provided are clean and modern with the flexibility to host a wide variety of events in a building which will be on show around the world.”


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