Notts Gymnastics Academy, Nottingham

Wright Building Services were contracted to design and construct several raised podiums and a u-pit podium for Notts Gymnastics Academy located at Rushcliffe Leisure Centre in Nottingham.

The area in question was a sunken pit that had to be “tanked” and “damp-proofed”. It required a suspended pit, parallel bar podiums and a u-pit podium. The sunken pit area is 6.5m wide by 9.0m long and 1.5m deep, the u-pit area is 2.8m wide by 5.0m long and 1.0m deep. Some thought went into the new layout of the equipment, to make best use of the area and it was decided that a steel beam was to be installed to section the two areas and allow for fitting of the “pig-tails” required for the suspended pit.

Wright Building Services provided the drawings for each section enabling the customer to visualise exactly how the end result would look. These drawings were also given to the equipment supplier for their approval. Our “tried and tested” structural timber pit/podium design was utilised on this project to ensure the safety of the users and a lifetime of usage. All the timber had to be treated to guarantee its lifespan and “damp-proof” membranes were installed to ensure it won’t be penetrated by damp.

Once the steel beam had been installed, the structural timber framework of the podiums and u-pit began to take shape. We needed to enclose the areas within the podiums and u-pit areas to enable the loose foam to be contained as there was a void beneath the suspended pit. A spotting podium was constructed next to an area accommodating a set of floor mounted parallel bars. Next to the floor mounted parallel bars another podium was constructed to accommodate a set of parallel bars mounted on top.

The structural timber framework of the u-pit podium was then constructed. The u-pit was quite unique in the way that the floor depth measured 1.0m deep rather than the usual 1.5m, we raised the podium 0.5m to accommodate this and the floor area was brought forward to allow a set of high-bars and spotting area to be installed safely.

A 25mm thick foam cladding was then fitted to the wall areas around the podiums and also to the constructed podiums themselves. Wright Building Services were on site for just over a week carrying out the construction and installation before handing the project over for the equipment supplier to install the loose foam and relevant equipment.

Between ourselves, Notts Gymnastics Academy and the equipment suppliers, we designed a purposeful pit to accommodate not only the equipment the club requested but also to take into account certain safety issues the project required.