Sandwell Aquatics Centre

The construction of a new state-of-the-art aquatics centre in the West Midlands has benefited from structural sections supplied by British Steel.

The Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick was completed 100 days prior to the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and includes an Olympic-sized 50m-long competition pool, a 25m diving pool, a smaller studio pool and 1,000 permanent spectator seats along its western elevation.

Alongside its swimming facilities, there is also a dry-dive facility, 108-station gym, a 25-station ladies-only gym, three activity studios, a pair of four-court sports halls, indoor cycling studio, sauna/steam room, changing rooms and a café. Externally, a new urban park features a children’s play area.

Being built on a former playing fields site, the centre is founded on continuous flight auger (CFA) piled foundations with a suspended ground floor slab, due to relatively poor shallow ground conditions and high groundwater levels.

With an overall footprint of 120m long and 70m wide, the structure is a large steel braced frame. The choice of a steel-framed solution for the project was driven by the long span roof, which for the most part is supported by no internal columns. The curved roof trusses span the width of the building accommodating both the sports hall and the pool hall.

As the only brand-new venue for the Games this summer, work on the £73m project completed in April 2022, but the building won’t officially open to the public until May 2023.

Billington provided over 1,900 tonnes of steel for the project, including 14 roof trusses.