Sports Hall Brockington College

Architect: BDP

Main Contractors: Marriott Construction, part of Kier Group

Location: Leicester


fermacell wall board is at the heart of Brockington Sports Hall, the curved metal cladding making it a distinctive facility within the state-of-the-art Brockington College in Leicestershire.

This striking three-storey school has 8,400 sq. metres of internal floor space and was designed by Building Design Partnership (BDP). It features a central heart space - consisting of the dining and assembly area - that runs up through the school as an open atrium. The building is designed to provide a flexible, adaptable space for teaching in the 21st century.

The sports hall, which took 12 months to build, occupies 594 square metres with 9.6m high walls.  The vast expanse of walling is notable for the smooth blemish free surface which has been achieved using two layers of 12.5mm fermacell board installed horizontally.

fermacell is inherently stronger than conventional plasterboard and, as well as its strength and acoustic properties, it also provides fire, impact and moisture resistance. The strength comes from its gypsum matrix, which is reinforced with recycled paper and, because of its higher density, is far more effective in reducing sound transmission.

It is simple to install – although the technique is slightly different to plasterboard and does not need a wet plaster skim to produce a suitable surface for painting.

Subcontractors DEN Building Finishes Ltd of Wigston in Leicestershire,  undertook the installation of the Fermacell and were impressed with the technical support and advice provided by Xella Dry Lining Systems, manufacturers of the board.

DEN Managing Director, Vance Kearney, commented: “Another product had initially been specified for the sports hall walls, but we were far from happy with the technical support, or speed of response given by that company. When we approached Xella, they pulled out all the stops. From site survey, a detailed project specification was provided in days and full height - 9.6m - steel studwork was delivered shortly after from Germany to site.

“The fermacell boards were laid horizontally onto the Protektor standard metal stud system, utilising two layers of 12.5m fermacell board. The speed of installation of fermacell board with its quick and simple system, helped bring the project back on track,” he said.

Main contractors on the £20 million new-build college were Marriott Construction, part of Kier Group. The crescent shaped scheme comprises three galleried teaching levels grouped around a central social and resource space comprising dining and assembly areas, offices and library. The sports hall, equipped with impressive changing facilities, is located on the 1st floor of the building, supported on a concrete frame cantilevering over 4 metres over the main entrance.

BDP Architect Associate Paul Owen commented: “The total build cost of the  project was circa £15m and has been designed to maximise the available flexible space within the College.  This building really does provide a wonderfully versatile working environment.”

The old Brockington School was demolished and the new building erected on the site. Catering for 900 children aged 10-14, it is the only Church of England Voluntary Aided Secondary High School in the County of Leicestershire, with origins dating back to 1759.