Sector: Construction Completion date: January 2022

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.

Key facts

“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.” Sarah Medcalf, Deputy Head of Foundation, Newcastle United Foundation

 

Ensuring quality through value engineering

One of the exceptional characteristics of the NUCASTLE building is the rooftop football pitch. Following our successful tender bid for the project, 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 the process of value engineering we were able to source a high-quality pitch product using our market knowledge and input from our exceptional supply chain. As a result, the pitch provided was a 3G, 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 – formed as part of the works – 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, the team successfully negotiated use of an adjacent carpark to place a mobile tower crane which made over 250 lifts.  

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:

“The partnership between Newcastle College and Robertson has been invaluable during the lockdown. It's great to work with a company that truly wants to help the next generation of young tradespeople.” Thomas Ferry Career Consultant, Newcastle College Group

 

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