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Posted on 7th April 2016

With a gym, a group exercise studio and two swimming pools, the new Beswick Leisure Centre has significantly enhanced sports facilities in East Manchester.

Forming part of both the Etihad sports campus and Beswick Community Hub, and designed by AHR Architects, the new leisure centre involved considerable attention to detail in specifying balustrades that addressed the specific requirements of humidity, contaminants and loading.

Anton Boyt, director at Delta Balustrades, explains: “A leisure environment with a swimming pool requires a robust specification that offers durability despite the moisture and chlorine in the atmosphere, but strength has to be achieved without sacrificing aesthetics or becoming cost-prohibitive.

“For Beswick Leisure Centre, a key part of the balustrade installation was the first floor viewing gallery overlooking the ground floor swimming pools, so loading requirements were also substantial and required specialist specification.”

Delta Balustrades’ Orbis system was specified for the spectator viewing gallery and marine grade 316 stainless steel was used for the handrails, supports and fixings to avoid corrosion due to moisture and chemical contaminants. Delta Balustrades unique nTechnology was applied to all the handrails to ensure ease of maintenance and cleaning.

The toughened safety glass used for the balustrades was heat soak tested to reduce the risk of spontaneous shattering and the glass was also laminated as an additional assurance to protect both swimmers and spectators in the unlikely event that the glass should break.

Anton continues: “Any piece of glass has the potential to spontaneously shatter due to the presence of nickel sulphide from the manufacturing process.

“The heat soak test is a destructive process that heats the glass to check for any nickel sulphide inclusions before it is delivered to site, providing peace of mind that it will offer a long and robust service life.”

Due to the height of the viewing gallery and the seating capacity, the architect applied a heavy design loading capability to the balustrade which required development of a bespoke fixing bracket.  Once again, this had to be achieved without overloading the budget or reducing the aesthetic appeal of the gallery.

Delta Balustrades also manufactured and installed the balustrades for two staircases: a feature stairway, connecting the reception area to the first floor facilities and one for back of house which provides a means of escape.

The feature staircase was specified with Delta Balustrades’ Vista system, a sophisticated, minimalist design that offers completely uninterrupted lines of vision and unimpeded views. Once again, the handrails and supports were specified in marine grade 316 stainless steel to protect the installation against chlorine and moisture.

In the back of house area, the specification was adapted to fall into step with budgetary constraints. Here, powder-coated handrails and supports were used rather than marine grade stainless steel and the glass panels were replaced with vertical steel bar panels.

Anton adds: “East Manchester Leisure Centre is one of a number of recent leisure schemes for which we have worked closely with architects to ensure the project balances the specific durability and loading requirements of the environment in the most cost-effective way possible.”