Case Study: Indoor Sport & Fitness Centre, University of Birmingham
Project/Client name: University of Birmingham
Sector: Higher Education
- Cost consulting from inception and master planning through to completion
- Stakeholder expectation management
- Change management
- Global procurement support
The stature and quality of the new sports centre is unrivalled in both the health and fitness, and higher education markets. Since opening, the centre’s membership from both university and the local communities has surged, exceeding all expectations, which is a fitting recognition of the client’s vision and the way it has been delivered by the team.
Against the backdrop of their ambitious vision, a key challenge for the university was to demonstrate a robust cost-benefit analysis to the stakeholders to facilitate a project decision based on best value.
RLF provided full cost consultancy services and prepared detailed options appraisals covering a variety of redevelopment options, including phased part refurbishment and part extension of existing facilities. Consequently, the decision to demolish and rebuild the sports centre as a completely new facility was taken with confidence that the University could achieve the best value for the duration of the project’s lifecycle.
The new sports centre provides a wide range of facilities including a 50m swimming pool, twelve badminton court sports hall, arena-style, with 700 bleacher seats, supplementary hybrid sports hall, six squash courts, member and performance gyms, spa, activity rooms and dojo. It also has a climbing wall, located above the reception desk, win a secure space accessed from the first-floor level.
With RLF’s procurement know-how and support, contractors and materials were sourced from across the world to create an outstanding architectural building, which is designed to the highest possible specifications of environmental sustainability and accessibility, including a platform lift into the pool.
The 13,200m2 centre has a purpose-designed 225-station gym and Wellbeing Performance Centre, making it one of the UK’s leading indoor sports centres and the largest University-based sports project delivered within the UK
Inception and Feasibility decision support: Assessing the scope of works required based on results of surveys and providing detailed cost advice on various options to ensure budget certainty. Preparing initial budget estimates for feasibility proposals. Preparing an overall project cost forecast and cash flow projection and agreeing this with the University Project Manager.
Influencing the design process: RLF worked closely with the Design Team to assess the scope of works required and provided detailed cost advice on a wide range of options to ensure budget certainty and that design proposals were fit for purpose. RLF also prepared initial budget estimates which included providing an overall project cost and cash flow projections which were updated at each RIBA stage. RLF continually monitored all cost implications to ensure that the University achieved best value for money by means of regular cost plan updates, periodic cost reports and updated cash flow forecasts.
Managing expectations of multiple stakeholders: Due to the proposed use of this facility, several stakeholders had a vested interest in the delivery of this project. RLF facilitated various task group meetings which were attended by university representatives including Estates representatives, Heads of Departments and various other stakeholders from finance and procurement.
Managing costs and managing change control: Throughout the construction phase of the project, there were several client variations. In order to ensure that the project remained on the programme and within budget, RLF worked closely with the design team and the contractor to ensure that all variations were promptly instructed and costs agreed, enabling client sign-off to be achieved without disrupting the tight construction programme. To facilitate this, RLF instigated regular commercial meetings with the Principal Contractor to track, verify and confirm the costs for each change.
Developing the procurement strategy: RLF worked closely with the University Estates and Procurement team to ensure that the proposed two-stage design and build procurement strategy was comprehensively developed to provide the maximum level of cost certainty for the University.
“It’s a wonderful project on so many levels – a civic gateway to the Aston Webb campus, a highly sophisticated university sports destination, yet also a place for the people of Birmingham. RLF were instrumental in ensuring the costs were right first time throughout the project and their global procurement know-how was highly valued ”
Paul Sandilands. Director, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
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