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Victoria leisure centre showcases B&K structures capabilities

The Victoria Leisure Centre, which opened its doors to the public in Nottingham during 2012, demonstrates both the design capabilities and the product portfolio offered by B & K Structures, involved as a package contractor for Carillion Plc.

Having provided a design, supply and install service for the project, which has created a new 25m swimming pool, teaching pool, fun splash area, 70 station gym, multi activity studio and sauna/steam rooms in the facility for Nottingham City Council, as part of a new public realm in the city centre. As its design involvement progressed, B & K Structures worked closely with Levitate Architects and structural engineering consultancy, Furness Partnership.

In addition to 350 square metres of its cross laminated (X-LAM) timber panels, B & K Structures also produced 50 cubic metres of glulam beams and 130 tonnes of structural steelwork. The company further supplied large quantities of open mesh flooring and metal decking, together with reinforced concrete and steel staircase units, and cat ladders for maintenance access.

The Project Architect for Levitate, Mr Spencer Guy explained the criteria that led to his practice’s decision to incorporate cross-laminated timber into the design for the Victoria Leisure Centre.  He said: “We were conscious that the pool hall should have a warmth to it, and because of the way that the ground levels worked, we wanted people in the external public space beyond the glazed elevation to be able to look up into the interior of the pool hall and see warm honey coloured timber on the roof soffit.

“We therefore started with the idea that we wanted the superstructure of the pool hall to be timber, and as a practice we prefer to have the fabric of the building in the material we are interested in using, rather than to say clad a steel structure in timber on the underside. In fact we are familiar with X-LAM, having used it on many other projects, and then tried to design out as much steelwork as possible from the roof of the pool hall.

“The traditional local authority swimming pool has castellated steel beams with a crinkly tin deck over the top and a perforated ceiling lining. The internal surface often gets dusty and because it is inaccessible it appears dirty quite quickly. We were therefore conscious of not wanting anything on the ceiling that required regular cleaning or maintenance, and the X-LAM ticked all of those boxes.  At one point the cross laminated timber panels were to be linked by steelwork secondary beams, but with B & K Structures and the engineers, we managed to take those out and get to a grid of glulam beams supporting the X-LAM.”

The use of glulam and steel in a hybrid format realises both the aesthetic and commercial benefits to a structure giving the client what they want to see at an affordable price, linking this where appropriate with X-LAM for the floor or roof further enhances the structures speed of installation, whilst at the same time removing less sustainable systems and greatly reducing wet trades. The make-up of solid woods can rarely be bettered, both through construction and in use, with its overall predictability as compared to the alternatives.

For more information on B & K Structures please visit

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