Faithorn Farrell Timms LLP

New Football Stadium for Ebbsfleet United Football Club

Redevelopment of a 6,000 capacity football stadium and stand in North East Kent

THE PROJECT

FFT were commissioned by Ebbsfleet United Football Club in September 2012 to provide Project Management services and indicative designs for the complete redevelopment of the Club's ground at Stonebridge Road.

In 2014, the Practice was subsequently commissioned to progress these designs and obtain planning consent for the whole ground which would allow for a phased redevelopment over a number of years. The first phase was the construction of a new stand along the Stonebridge Road elevation. This stand was to include all of the non-football club activities including changing rooms, sponsors' suite, board rooms, offices, catering facilities, club shop and a community hub.

OUR ROLE

FFT provided a Project Management service for the overall ground redevelopment and this included the procurement consultancy in obtaining and selecting the design team including architectural, structural engineering, mechanical and electrical consultancy, and a planning consultant.

As the project progressed, we were also appointed to provide Cost Consultancy and Quantity Surveying services and Principal Designer services under the CDM Regulations.

We also initiated surveys and investigatory reports that would be required for the design and planning application process. These included topographical, geotechnical, drainage and archaeological surveys as well as heritage impact, flood risk and environmental assessments.

THE CHALLENGES

We faced a number of challenges in delivering this project:

  • We were appointed in August 2014 to procure the complete design team and all the site investigation works with a view to obtaining planning consent by April 2015. This was an exceedingly challenging programme.
  • During the construction phase of the project the selected main contractor, TSP, had financial difficulties and became insolvent in July 2016.
  • Delays were incurred by Kent County Council's Archaeological Department in approving the proposed works to satisfy the archaeological conditions. This delayed the pre-commencement activities into the 15/16 football season.

THE SOLUTION

We utilised our project management skills in analysing the critical path and managing this process to ensure that no delays occurred or where they did occur we could find areas to mitigate their effect without causing problems to the planning process. A planning application was submitted on time and this achieved planning consent in April 2015.

The main contractor’s liquidation caused further delays to the programme but we supported the client in negotiating a completion contract which allowed works to recommence within a matter of weeks and the stand was finally opened and in use in November 2017.

To overcome the delays incurred by Kent County Council, we re-evaluated the contractor's programme and instigated an enabling contract which commenced in January 2016. This enabling contract was to run until April 2016 and allow as much work as possible to be undertaken in readiness for the main demolition and reconstruction in May 2017. The enabling contract was successfully undertaken and caused minimal disruption to the operational side of the building including football match day activities. The main contract commenced in May 2016 on programme.

ADDED VALUE

The initial contractor, TSP, went into liquidation in July 2017 and at that stage we assisted the client in minimising the effects of that by negotiating a completion contract which commenced in September 2017 and completed in early November 2017.

We also provided advice to the client regarding the best contractual route for both the initial main contract, which was Design and Build, and the completion contract which was undertaken under a Minor Works form of contract.

Our management of the project, from the summer of 2014, ensured that a planning application was made by the target date of January 2015 with planning consent being granted for the whole stadium on the 8 April 2015. The application was a hybrid application with Full Plans application in respect of the new main stand and outline applications in respect of the other three stands. To adhere to the client's tight programme and ensure that works could commence at the earliest opportunity, following receipt of planning consent, we managed the design process extremely effectively in order that we could invite construction tenders in February 2015. This led to a contractor being selected by April 2015 which aligned with the planning consent date.