New centre gives Dundee athletes a sporting chance

Balfour Beatty has completed work on the Regional Performance Centre for Sport in Dundee. Project manager Ally Johnston recently answered Project Scotland’s questions about the landmark initiative, which has provided top class facilities for the city.

Q) Can you provide a brief overview of the project?

A) Procured through the Scape National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework, the £26 million Regional Performance Centre for Sport comprised the Balfour Beatty team constructing the premium sports facilities at Caird Park on behalf of Dundee City Council. The new centre provides athletes and the wider Dundee community with a top-class training and competition venue catering to a wide range of sports.

Our team delivered the construction of the main sports building, including a multi-sports hall, spectator seating, a strength and conditioning suite, as well as storage and sport science facilities. 

We also built an indoor full size 3G pitch, indoor athletics running straight and hub facilities, an upgrade of the existing athletics track, an outdoor 3G combined rugby and football pitch and grass pitch, associated parking, fencing and infrastructure as well as a state-of-the-art energy centre consisting of multiple renewable technologies.

Q) Are there any specific things you have to take into consideration when constructing sporting facilities?

A) As the premise of the centre is a hub for future regional sporting talent, it was crucial to collaborate closely with Dundee City Council’s design specification to ensure each of the sporting facilities met the high-quality standards set, and that they were within competition criteria in terms of build specification.

Q) What experience does Balfour Beatty have in this sector? 

A) Balfour Beatty has a wealth of experience in delivering sport facilities in Scotland, having most recently delivered the £47 million Lochside Academy in Aberdeen in 2016 and the additional community sport facilities which were part of that contract build. Notably, we also delivered the £154 million contract to carry out the full transformation of London’s Olympic Stadium

Q) How closely did you work with the supply chain and was collaboration critical to the success of the project?

A) The Scape process of market testing for costs and early engagement with suppliers was critical to the project; working with an expert supply chain was vital for the successful delivery of the Regional Performance Centre for Sport due to the specialist nature of a number of work packages. These included the tensile fabric structures constructed for the indoor 3G pitch and athletics building, energy centre, the structural steelwork and precast stairs, roofing and cladding, the interior fit out including fixed furniture, benches and lockers, as well as a FIFA standard artificial pitch installation.

Q) How significant was the environment aspect on this project? 

A) At Balfour Beatty, our ambition is to position sustainability at the heart of what we do. 

As part of project delivery, we constructed and commissioned an innovative renewable energy centre. The centre will generate geothermal energy which will provide hot water for the sports centre, athletics building and a future district heating main, while the electricity generated from solar panels located on the building’s roof will fuel the ventilate system.

In recognition of the energy centre’s positive impact on the environment, the project won the Carbon Reduction Award at the 2019 Scottish Green Energy Awards, which is a truly fantastic achievement. We are also delighted to have assisted Dundee City Council in implementing their focus on minimising on-going maintenance costs through the use of a robust and renewable sustainable energy strategy.

Q) What feedback have you had?

A) We’ve received fantastic feedback from Sport Scotland who are the national agency for sport, as well as Dundee Leisure & Culture – an independent charity responsible for the delivery of leisure and culture programmes in Scotland, and our customer, Dundee City Council. All of whom have reported the extremely positive and complimentary feedback from the athletes and wider Dundee community. 

Q) How do modern sports facilities such as this one compare with previous generations?

A) These modern sports centres provide a broad range of facilities compared with those older builds, which would have been more restricted with their variety of pitches and courts. The new sports facilities are much more accessible for all members of the community, including those who play disability sports. The Regional Performance Centre for Sport includes facilities for onsite medical teams and physios, as well as sport science support roles. The facilities are of very high standard that both professional football teams in Dundee are currently using the training facilities on a regular basis.

Q) What impact do you expect the facility to have on the community?

A) The new Regional Performance Centre for Sport will allow for the development of sport and physical activity opportunities for local communities and showcase the city as a venue for tournaments, events and training camps.

During the project delivery, 84 weeks of placements were provided for the local shared apprenticeship scheme, with 26 apprentice positions sustained onsite; in support of economic growth, £3.3 million was spent on SME’s. In addition, the project also provided the following benefits for the local community:

• Nine new start trainee, apprentices or graduates employed on site

• 86 days of work placements supported

• 1,194 school pupils and university students engaged

• Two Meet the Buyer Tayside events supported

• 72 hours of specialist time given to support education

• Three energy focused information sessions supported to promote the new energy centre

• 334 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill

• 161 internal training days completed by site employees

• 78% of the workforce (including supply chain) live within 40 miles of site

• 479 local people (including supply chain) employed on the contracts