Electrical Contracting News (ECN) June 2016 - Page 23

PROJECT FOCUS CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE The racecourse also hosts conferences, concerts, music festivals, fairs, weddings and even the occasional circus. “ All photos courtesy of willpascall.co.uk On the first floor is a bar for Annual Members and also Big Buck’s Champagne Bar, named after the horse that won an unprecedented four World Hurdles and 18 consecutive races. The second floor of the grandstand consists of an Owners & Trainers Bar, with a balcony overlooking the Parade Ring, horsewalk and course, while the third floor is home to the Royal Box and 11 private boxes. The top floor houses The Cheltenham Club, where members are allocated a table for the season, from which to enjoy a four course, a la carte lunch, stunning views of Cleeve Hill and the Malvern Hills at the back of the stand, and a fireplace to keep warm between races during the winter months. Triumph of collaboration Throughout the construction process, planning and teamwork were key. In partnership with Kier Construction, that process began by submitting proposals to the racecourse owner the Jockey Club and from inception to completion, was a triumph of collaboration. CF Roberts and Kier, two companies, one team was the mantra and the foundation for success. Of the special challenges presented by work on the construction of the new grandstand, two stand out. First of all, over 100 years of history are in your hands. The course at Prestbury Park first opened in 1902, it has a magnificent sporting heritage and deeds of daring and famous victories are dutifully celebrated and recorded in all their glory. The more mundane however is sometimes overlooked and nobody had ever quite got round to keeping accurate and up to date records of service infrastructure; cabling and the like. Secondly, work at the racecourse has a very particular dynamic. Unsurprisingly, everything revolves around the racing calendar which presents immovable and highly visible deadlines. Miss any one of those deadlines and the whole world knows about it. Faced with the challenge of miles of unspecified legacy cabling there is inevitably a degree of trial and error involved in identifying the cabling that is essential. ‘Over the years, broadcasting franchises have changed regularly,’ explains Mark Richardson, project manager for CF Roberts. ‘Each broadcaster brings their own ideas, innovations and particular requirements and then they move on.’ UNSURPRISINGLY, EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND THE RACING CALENDAR WHICH PRESENTS IMMOVABLE AND HIGHLY VISIBLE DEADLINES. With the help of specialists in broadcast cabling and effectively working backwards on a process of elimination, the puzzle was solved, though Mark admits with a smile that unsurprisingly, the task ‘had its moments’. Throughout the construction process an overriding consideration for all concerned was the extensive fibre optic, ‘integrity cabling’ essential to every race meeting. This cabling enables regulation of the meeting by the stewards and the clerk of the course who need cameras to judge photo finishes and ‘head on’ cameras to assess any breach of the rules. It also supports all bookmaking activity. Although obviously fundamental to life at Cheltenham Racecourse, there are in fact only 16 days racing each year. To make the venue and the new grandstand viable, a strategy has to be in place that utilises the facilities 365 days a year, which means the course hosts conferences, concerts, music festivals, fairs, weddings and even the occasional circus. Within the grandstand itself, lighting, heating and cooling have to be controlled zonally so that specific areas can be selected and hired out for weddings or smaller more exclusive conferences. Sequencing of services also has to very carefully considered as the grandstand sits among many other ancillary buildings with services common to all. Lighting control was also a key challenge, as the external lighting relies on power supply from multiple buildings and had to be combined with other services including CCTV cameras, PA speakers and Wi-Fi units. Honour and privilege So, finally, with every challenge met, milestone reached and deadline hit, the new grandstand was formally opened by the Princess Royal in November last year. At the time she said it was ‘a real honour and a privilege’ to have the stand named after her. Ian Henderson, managing director of CF Roberts, concludes, ‘We feel equally proud of our work on this iconic sporting landmark, and privileged to have been part of such an exciting and rewarding project. The new grandstand was formally opened by the Princess Royal in November last year. 23 22 Project Focus.indd 23 12/05/2016 10:54