Building in a Royal Park – Converting Traditional Design into SIPS

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SIPs being manufactured in St. Helens before delivery down South

Hampton Hill Cricket Club, Bushy Park, Hampton Hill


During the tendering process, the club were awarded a £50,000 grant for constructing the new clubhouse to a very high level of energy sustainability. In order to achieve this it was recommended by Macdonald Design that the building should be constructed with SIPs (structurally insulated panels) rather than traditional construction. Whilst this was a slightly more expensive route in the initially, the benefits of SIPs (quicker construction time, high thermal performance, shorter time on site) made this preposition attractive to the club.
(More details on the benefits of SIPs construction).

In the short term, marrying in details of the required foundations particularly in relation to the proximity of tree roots and physically transporting the SIPs onto the site and through the Royal Park, caused some delay which wouldn’t have been there had the building been designed from the outset using SIPs but any time lost during this process would swiftly be made up through the much faster construction process. The target would still be to be working in the dry within three months.

Building in a Royal Park - 1 - Converting Traditional Design into SIPS

Hemsec manufactured SIPs panels

Building in a Royal Park - 2 - Converting Traditional Design into SIPS

SIPs panels arrive on site and the contractor begins the speedy installation process

One of the biggest issues with building SIPs in England is that it is not a terribly well-known building methodology. Consequently, small to medium-sized contractors are naturally wary and even resistant to want to consider working with this product. However JW Cannon saw the massive potential that SIPs offer. Not just in terms of the erection speed but in satisfying the ever more stringent energy efficiency requirements being introduced into the UK. The speed and continuity of construction even during very harsh periods of weather was a key factor in what was a short program window. This was particularly apparent during the very cold winter of 2010 when traditional construction virtually ground to a halt for six weeks. During this period it became obvious that alternate construction methods needed to be explored as had been the case over the previous 50 years in countries that experienced extremes of climate (Canada, US, Scandinavia and Scotland).

JW Cannon agreed to work very closely with Creative Space (one of the leading SIPs installers in the UK) who fit the SIPs manufactured by Hemsec.

Between them and their specialist structural engineer, Saul Slater, they worked closely with Macdonald Design’s concept to convert the original building to a SIPs building. A final project cost and an agreed program were generated with JW Cannon acting as the main contractor. All parties took a commercial view on the overall cost to the club on the basis that this would generate a landmark scheme with potentially massive marketing benefits for the future.

Building in a Royal Park – Getting Design Approval

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Hampton Hill Cricket Club, Surrey


Hampton Hill Cricket Club (HHCC) is over 150 years old and is proud of its position in the local community as a sporting and social resource. Sadly on October 8th 2010 the club was the subject of an arson attack that left the clubhouse in ruins and treasured club possessions lost forever. Fortunately the building was insured.

The Original Pavilion - Hampton Hill Cricket Club

The Original Pavilion

after the fire - Hampton Hill Cricket Club

The Morning After the Fire

A project team was established and a Charitable Trust was established to fundraise called ‘The Phoenix Fund’ to construct a new clubhouse on the same site which would continue the long history of the club as a sport and community facility. Macdonald Design were appointed at the end of 2010 to lead the project.

Following this appointment, the project team embarked upon a consultation exercise with a host of Local and National organisations including The Royal Parks which was, at times, challenging but all parties are now working together and excited about the final design. The project team also consulted with the ECB, Middlesex County Cricket Club, Surrey County Cricket Club (the club’s league teams play in the Surrey County League), The London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames and a host of Local Associations and Organisations. The brief was to design a new clubhouse that met the requirements of all of these parties as well as those of Hampton Hill Cricket Club and to embrace sustainable materials and technology.

As with any clubhouse looking to receive ECB grant-aid funding, the design has had to abide by TS5, the ECB document that stipulates a certain criteria by which each new clubhouse is designed. These factors were met and a design agreed with special consideration given to the need to ensure high security for the pavilion with shutters in place throughout.

The New Pavilion - Hampton Hill Cricket Club

The new pavilion

Funding for the £500,000 project has been provided by: Insurance £200,000, ECB £100,000 Grant and £30,000 Loan, Fuel Allotment Charity £50,000 Grant, Foundation for Sports & Arts £25,000 Grant and the Phoenix Fund £70,000 but this is still fundraising* and a £50,000 Sport England Grant was awarded towards the additional cost of using sustainable building construction which  employed the use of SIPs panelling. A specialist company, Creative Space, were employed by the chosen contractor, J.W. Cannon, to specify and fabricate the SIPs panels and construction commenced on the 10th September.

*With costs still to be met, if you would like to contribute towards the project then you can via the Phoenix Fund – click here for more information, any amount donated will be extremely appreciated. *

Steve Macdonald is Principal of Macdonald Design Ltd who are specialist Sports Building Designers and Sports Development Consultants. They are based in Surrey but work nationally and are accredited consultants who work closely with all of the major Governing Bodies.