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.
The site at Exeter Rugby Club posed several additional challenges, as it backed onto the busy M5 motorway and featured a 10m sloping bank with a sharp gradient.
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.
Taking 10 months to complete during the Covid-19 pandemic, the full scope of works at Sandy Park included: demolition of existing structure, excavation works, pile foundations, galvanised steel frame, concrete flooring, internal fit out, toilets and concessions, cladding and general admission seating installation.
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. All seating installed is Stadia by GL events’ GL-P general admission seat.
Returning to Sandy Park
Installation took just 3 weeks and comprised of numbered seating that falls in line with the ticket manifest. The temporary stand features seven openings at the rear, two to the front, and a lateral tunnel that traverses the length of the structure. The new seating arrangement provides fans with improved access and enhanced comfort.
The unique aspect of the stand was that it was designed to maximise seating capacity within the space provided by Spaciotempo. Also, additional access to the stand was provided throughout the full length of the structure via the lateral tunnel. The extra entrances were added to the front and rear of the tunnel, giving safer access especially at well-attended games with high volumes of traffic.