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m&e


Adding value


Delivering new and improved leisure centres can be complex. Toby Buckley, managing director of REL Electrical, discusses the role M&E contractors can play in overcoming the challenges.


help improve services for local communities in fresh, creative ways. This trend can present a number of new


THE growing need to improve fitness and wellbeing is resulting in a diverse range of new facilities. From Olympic size swimming pools with movable floors through to extreme sports areas, leisure centres are becoming significantly more advanced both in terms of technology and design. M&E contractors are increasingly working with contractors and councils across the UK to


challenges for contractors, in particular the delivery of swimming areas. Specialist knowledge and skills are required to ensure these facilities meet health and safety regulations, including suitable ventilation. In addition, all of the equipment sourced must be suitable for the corrosive, chlorinated environment – including the materials used to install it. Brackets, light fittings, bolts for the electrical containment area, and paint for the ductwork are just some examples of the materials that have to be specially sourced by M&E contractors in line with the stringent regulations and which have to be installed correctly to ensure nothing corrodes.


Co-ordinating suppliers As leisure centre design becomes more sophisticated and services increase, so does the number of equipment suppliers. As a result, a key part of an M&E contractor’s role is the interface and co-


ordination with these companies to ensure everything is installed correctly and in line with very specific requirements. At the new leisure centre at the Handy


Cross development in High Wycombe, the M&E contract involved close liaison with Willmott Dixon, Swiss Timing, Variopool and Fina to meet their stringent requirements for the 50m competition swimming pool. This included installing movable floors, underwater swimming cameras and the associated controls. One of the biggest challenges was


selecting and installing the in-situ cabling containment for the wiring. This involved careful co-ordination with the structural engineers and main contractor to ensure it was installed in the correct location prior to the concrete pour forming the 50m long structure. In addition, the project required a


good working relationship with the architectural team to ensure that the tiling within the swimming pool area was not affected by the installation of the M&E services and equipment.


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