Major stand redevelopment at Sandy Park stadium

Overview

Exeter Rugby Club had an existing semi-permanent stand with a limited capacity of 3,800 standing positions for spectators. In 2021, the Stadia by GL events team undertook a major project to provide a new permanent grandstand, complete with concessions and toilets, that increased its capacity to accommodate over 5,800 fans.

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Challenges

This site posed several additional challenges, as it backed onto the busy M5 motorway and featured a 10m sloping bank.

Consequently, Stadia by GL events’ considered design involved cantilevering the entire structure over the bank. This innovative solution required structural reinforcements in the shape of concrete auger pile foundations, which had to be sunken 20m deep into the ground.

Innovation

In addition, fabricated beam sections were introduced to carry the cantilevered seating structure and concessions over two floors. The structure above the ground level consisted of a galvanised steel, bent metal frame.

The ground floor comprised of a concrete metal deck floor to hold the walls in place and a full internal fit out of toilets, bars, and restaurants.

Timeline

Taking 10 months to complete during the Covid-19 pandemic, the full scope of works included demolition of existing structure, excavation works, pile foundations, galvanised steel frame, concrete flooring, internal fit out, toilets and concessions, cladding and seating installation.

Futureproof

To incorporate the original design, the roof height, mid-tier walkway, and profile of the new grandstand was constructed to mirror the opposite side, with a view to expanding the stadium to a bowl-type structure in the future.

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Stadia by GL events were committed to helping us increase capacity at Sandy Park. We chose their services as they offered the most viable, cost-effective solution.

Mark IsaacsStadium Operations Director - Exeter Rugby Club

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