NUCASTLE Community Hub
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Building opportunities and transforming lives
Delivered by Robertson, NUCASTLE is home to the Newcastle United Foundation and provides fantastic new workspace for the charity’s 120 employees, and first-rate facilities for the 100,000 people expected to pass through its doors each year.
Founded on the back of the Newcastle United FC brand, the charity focuses on 'transforming lives', and the community hub is a reflection of the ongoing commitment to make a difference to children and adults from disadvantaged areas in the North of Tyne where unemployment levels are amongst the highest in the UK.
space over three floors
Project of the Year
CN Awards 2022 (under £20m)
- 3G rooftop football pitch.
- Multi-purpose sports hall, smart fitness suite, and spinning studio.
- Dividable classrooms, digital hub, meeting rooms and office space.
- 34 parking spaces and 32 cycle spaces
I wanted to extend my upmost thanks to all of you in getting the Foundation to this point and delivering an exceptional building that we are all so proud of. We could not have done it without all of your combined efforts – nothing has been too much trouble and you have put up with my constant questions and numerous site visits during a really challenging time. It really has been appreciated.
Ensuring quality through value engineering
One of the exceptional characteristics of the NUCASTLE building is the rooftop football pitch. We challenged the original specification for the pitch as we believed it was not to the same high standard as the building design, nor would it fully represent Newcastle United Football Club. Through value engineering, market knowledge and input from our exceptional supply chain we sourced a 3G pitch with no rubber infill (like many standard 3G pitches) and no additional cost to our customer. Importantly, it achieved the FA certification of high quality and today provides the Newcastle United Foundation with an outstanding football pitch for children and adults to enjoy.
Planning to succeed
Space around the site was highly constrained due to it being split level, along with retaining walls located just over one metre from the building. Existing services on two sides of the building, supplying gas and electricity to nearby housing, further hampered works. Scissor lifts aided maneuverability and ensured the safety of operatives. Logistics were further improved with offsite storage and excellent programming, bringing materials to site as needed. Despite the restrictions on space, the CCS report noted the ongoing cleanliness and appearance of the site as 'exemplary'.
The rooftop pitch created a further logistical challenge with 170 tonnes of gravel needed for drainage along with drainage crates, shock pads, Astro turf and sand for infill. However, theâ¯team successfully negotiated use of an adjacent carpark to placeâ¯a mobile towerâ¯craneâ¯which made over 250 lifts.â¯
Engaging young people
As the impact of Covid-19 increased, the Newcastle United Foundation was concerned about how this would impact the region's schools and colleges – with fewer opportunities for in-person education and employability activities, there was increased pressure on teaching staff to keep students engaged and many felt their learners were suffering.
The Robertson project team carried out multiple virtual and, when permitted, face-to-face activities to support young people:
- Tower City Project: insight into the construction world with focus on project management using a former amusement centre as the renovation project. Virtual presentations by Robertson took students from first principles to completed development. We have since been invited to repeat the programme in person, plus received requests from other interested colleges and universities in the North East.
- Virtual work experience: bricklaying programme delivered to five student groups.
- Employment engagement sessions: a series of talks from five construction professionals giving guidance from an industry and employer perspective. One student was taken on as an apprentice electrician.
- Plan Bee: eight students spent six weeks with Robertson and supply chain partners learning about roles in construction. Two students secured jobs before the course finished.