Construction awards: Places for People

Place continues its series revisiting winners from last year's North West Regional Construction Awards in the build-up to the 2011 ceremony in May. Here we look at the Places for People Award winner, Crosby Lake Adventure Centre.

The award recognises the best scheme for tackling issues such as crime, health, sport or education.

Sefton Council set out a vision for the site based around a new water sports and community building that would develop a critical mass of integrated activities and in turn boost the regional economy.

Crosby Coastal Park became one of Merseyside's prime waterfront locations, with the Crosby Lake Adventure Centre standing at its gateway. The area was considered to be in serious decline with poor water quality, dilapidated lakeside buildings and increasing levels of anti-social behaviour. However, the decline was reversed through the investment and creation of a flagship building.

Crosby Lake Adventure CentreThe design of the centre had to be innovative; incorporate health, educational, recreational and sporting uses; be financially sustainable and be sensitive to the environmental and legal requirements of developing the site. The building responds to its coastal setting using natural materials and incorporating environmental features.

External funders at Mersey Waterfront, European Regional Development Fund and Sport England also helped to drive the vision that would transform the site.

Local residents and wider stakeholders were also consulted on what they would like to see in their community and the community now has a facility to use and enjoy. The building was designed to ensure the best visitor experience for everyone, with accessibility for disabled users and employees taken into consideration.

The partnership delivered the building on budget and ahead of schedule. The Crosby Lake Adventure Centre is now the main visitor centre for the Sefton Coastal Park and become a catalyst for other coastal projects, such as access improvements, garden restoration and the redevelopment of a nearby coastguard station.

Within its first four years of operation, Crosby Lake Adventure Centre will have played a key role in the 2012 Paralympics; established a development legacy in Sefton's sporting community; maximised the offer to schools and young people across Merseyside and the North West, particularly disabled children; delivered jobs to the local community and economic regeneration to the wider region through increased tourism.

The development was awarded a BREEAM rating of 'Very Good' and an energy performance rating of A, based on the choice of construction techniques through to the materials used on the project.

The site also hosted a visit from 30 local professionals to hear presentations on sustainable buildings by the scheme's consultant engineers, Manchester-based AECOM.

Crosby Coastal Park is an area of high conservation value, which meant engagement with a number of stakeholders, including the Environment Agency and Natural England on sustainability issues, Sport England to ensure a national centre of excellence; ERDF and Mersey Waterfront and the Learning and Skills Council, as well as local residents and lake users.

For the management of the construction process, contractors at Mansell worked with Step Clever, an initiative led by Sefton Council's economic regeneration centred around local support for small medium enterprises and Training and Build Sefton to source local labour and help train young workers.

Mansell achieved practical completion five weeks ahead of schedule and achieved the BREEAM 'Very Good' rating without jeopardising the scheme's budget, despite incorporating some innovative solutions into the build.

  • Dewatering and groundworks – The site had a high water table with running water and deep excavations requiring dewatering and control of the discharge. Mansell developed an approach moving away from wellpoints to interceptor trenches at strategic points with savings in time and cost.
  • Structural frame – The design involved both steel and glulam frames and connection details were developed and coordinated to ensure each complemented the other

Crosby Coastal Park involved both technical and organisational innovations, which were adopted as company initiatives on subsequent and future local schemes, including Brockholes Wetland in Preston, North West Fire Private Finance Initiative and Oldham Local Improvement Finance Trust.

North West Regional Construction Awards 2011The black-tie awards ceremony and dinner will take place on Thursday 26 May 2011 at Chester Racecourse. Please email Caroline Ellison on or call 0161 448 2424. For further information about sponsorship opportunities please contact Emma Looskin on or on 0161 295 5076.

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