• University of Brighton

    Location: Falmer Campus, Brighton
    Construction Period: July – Sept 2007
    Value: £522,000 plus VAT
    Consequent projects: Tennis and Netball Centre of Excellence and a pitch resurface at Hillbrow Campus, Eastbourne.

    A 3G artificial grass pitch had been included in the University’s Development Masterplan which had already achieved outline planning permission.

    The pitch is located adjacent to the South Downs and is on chalk. The University had carried out a topographical survey and the Sports Construction Consultancy commissioned a site investigation to establish CBR values and confirm permeability. The pitch had to be located to allow the future development of the Tennis and Netball Centre of Excellence.

    Unfortunately, the internal work on budgets had been very superficial and the client requirements were very ‘ambitious’. It was appreciated early that the budget was inadequate and the scheme was then developed with a dynamic base.

    The planning application was submitted with the inclusion of a Sports Development Plan (provided by the University), a Waste Management Plan was incorporated and Groundwater Protection had to be addressed as the pitch is situated on an aquifer. Planning Permission was obtained and a number of conditions discharged in connection with that.

    The scheme has some interesting details. The pitch area is 116 x 76m and carpeted to the fencing. There is a supply cable run of around 400m along verges and crossing a busy access road to an on-campus commercial Tennis Centre. The pitch has 10m fencing behind the goals to accommodate training for American Football and a wash down area provided for the maintenance machine. Two storage containers have been provided with lights and power and an emergency telephone link installed. The floodlighting is to 200 lux for football and 120 lux when split into thirds across for mini soccer. There is cctv provision at the columns.

    The contract selected was The JCT Design and Build, but with extensive minimum specification requirements. The Sports and Recreation Department favoured a contractor who was known to ourselves to be claims oriented at that time. That contractor was awarded the contract but, with a wary approach from all concerned, he actually performed reasonably well and his methods were contained and controlled.

    The maintenance department agreed an alternative machine to that originally proposed by the contractor and a strict maintenance regime is in operation. This has led to the pitch meeting the performance requirements both on completion and at the end of the defects liability period, which is less likely on a dynamic base than an engineered base.

    The performance testing and quality control testing of synthetics was carried out by an independent accredited test house.

    The project was completed slightly ‘late’ but this was because of additional client requirements that warranted an extension of time. The project was within budget so far as the tender sum was concerned although additional client requirements were given and these were funded from different University budgets.