Spanning the ground floor swimming
pool is a series of 35m-long by 1.55m-deep
plate girders. Supported by perimeter
columns and one internal column line,
the girders create two spans, one 25m-wide
zone for the pool and another 10m-wide
zone primarily taken up by changing
Because of the high humidity levels
expected inside the pool area, the girders
and their supporting columns are protected
for the chlorinated environment by means
of a high quality paint system suitable for a
The structure’s main columns are spaced
at 6m centres. However, due to the length
of the required span and the loads from the
ice rink, the plate girders are spaced at 3m
centres with intermediate girders located in
between each column spacing.
Steelwork contractor Billington
Structures delivered these 35m-long girders
to site in three sections. Two sections were
bolted together on the ground to form
one long member, which was then lifted
into place using a mobile crane. The third
section was lifted separately and the final
splice completed mid-air.
Creating the roof of the leisure centre
and the large 42m-long span over the ice
rink is a series of trusses. These were also
brought to site in three sections and erected
in a similar fashion.
The ice rink will have spectator terrace
seating on either side, with the highest
bank of eight tiers on the western elevation
of the facility formed with steel rakers
bolted to the main steel frame supporting
precast seating units.
Exerting more loads on to the project’s
steelwork, and another reason why the plate
girders are spaced at 3m centres, the ice
rink’s floor will also have to support an 8t
ice surfacing machine.
This vehicle cleans and smooths the
surface of the ice sheet and a rink operator
will generally use its machine a couple of
times a day.
A steel-framed storage space beside the
terrace seating has been erected, as well as a
large ice pit where ice shavings are dropped
into warm water before being drained away.
Summing up, Mr Cook says the project’s
other main challenge has been the logistics
of working on such a tight site.
“Prior to steelwork starting on-site we
piled the site and then excavated the pool,
as this would have been very difficult to do
once the frame was up.”
“This means once the steelwork
programme is nearing completion we can
then start concreting the pool and ground
floor slabs, working inside the footprint
and around the erected columns.”
Romford Ice Rink and Swimming Pool is
due to complete early this year.
The complex steel
design involving two
large stacked columnfree
The upper-level ice rink
Roof trusses spanning
the ice rink