Hebburn Central is a striking new community library and sports facility in Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, UK. Completed in 2015, the £13 million NEC-procured building achieved an energy performance certificate rating of A – highly unusual for a building with a swimming pool – leading to it winning the Low Carbon Construction Award in the 2016 British Construction Industry Awards.
Design by architect Faulkner Browns, the 5800m2 steel-frame, Corten-clad building includes a computer-equipped library, six-lane 25m swimming pool, fitness suite, four-court sports hall, dance studios, community event spaces, changing rooms and public service facilities. It forms the heart of a masterplan to regenerate the town centre in this former shipbuilding region.
South Tyneside Council engaged Willmott Dixon to design and build the facility through the NEC-based Scape major works framework under an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract option A (priced contract with activity schedule). Work started on site in November 2013 and was completed just 20 months later – on time and within budget – in July 2015.
In addition to the BCIA 2016 Low Carbon Construction Award, the project also won a Royal Society of British Architects 2016 national award and the Civic Trust 2016 Special Award for Community Impact and Engagement.
According to a South Tyneside council spokesman, ‘The building envelope was designed for extensive integration of off-site fabrication techniques, which helped reduce installation time on site compared with more traditional building envelope activities.
‘The cold-formed Corten weathering steel facade was conceived as an efficient through-wall system, based on rigorous modularisation principles. The envelope panels were sized to coordinate with the most commercially available Corten coil dimensions. This improved cost efficiencies and mitigated additional manufacturing processes and procurement, as well as accelerated time on site.
‘The building also achieved an energy performance certificate rating of A, which is uncommon for a building incorporating a pool. This was partly achieved through using an innovative water-cooled heat-pump system and the focused envelope design and specification.
Open and Trusting Relationship
'NEC worked well for both the client team and contractor, allowing potential issues to be identified through early warnings and followed through to close-out.
‘Its simple language also allowed all members of the client team to understand the contract. In addition to its plain English, the growing familiarity of the contract in the industry meant that there were no issues getting the contractor’s agreement to the contract option and clauses.
‘Decisions were encouraged to be made quickly and formally, meaning no end-of-contract disagreements, and risk was better managed through proactive use of the contract. Programme management was taken seriously and effectively managed by the client team and contractor to ensure delivery on time and within budget.’
Benefits of Using NEC
- Delivered an award-winning, sustainable, state-of-the-art community facility within a tight timescale and budget.
- Enabled potential construction issues to be identified through early warnings and followed through to close out. NEC encouraged decisions to be made quickly and formally, meaning no end-of-contract disagreements
- Simple language allowed all members of the client team to understand the contract, supported by growing familiarity of NEC in the industry.
- Enabled effective management of risk and programme through proactive use of the contract.