“Anatomy of a disaster” to reopen

I note that the Clissold Leisure Centre is to re-open next month .  It was described, when it closed in 2003, a year after it opened as a ‘landmark Millennium project’, as the wrong building in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The building became a case study in bad practice, in focusing on the building rather than the users needs, (on the 1, rather than the 5, or 200, if you follow the 1:5:200 concept), It has been used by many quality and technical managers across the country as a lessons learnt case study, and to reinforce the 1:5:200 thinking of relationships between design, construction, fm and (business) costs.

The project attracted a huge amount of industry,political and local – social – attention, including one of the early reports in the Guardian by Jonathan Clancy – Anatomy of Disaster:

Clissold leisure centre’s catalogue of problems is a frightening read. A local activist group, called Not the Clissold Leisure Centre, lists no fewer than 59 defects on its website. These include a “changing village”, which Orthodox Jews and Muslim women would be unable to use. The children’s changing areas, moreover, were located next to two-metre deep water. Shower drains have blocked. Dirty water from showers flowed into the pools. Tiles around these were slippery.

Yet these are relatively minor complaints compared with defects number 32, “roof leaking across whole centre”, 33, “roof sweating with condensation”, 34, “glass walls around pools retain fetid water”, 40, “inadequate ventilation to both pool areas”, 56, “significant cracking in squash-court walls” and, last and by no means least, 59, “water damage to sports-hall floor causing warping and lifting at less than 12 months, with injuries sustained by users.”

And, now ….

It reopens with a new toddler pool, improved disability access, reception area and new office space. Contractor Wates has installed a new roof, with a vapour control layer to prevent condensation, and new pool floors. The total cost of the centre, originally budgeted at £21 million, has risen to £45 million. bd online website


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