Main ContractorMace
Structural EngineerArup Associates
LocationOsterley, London


To develop a fitness suite in keeping with the rest of the Sky Campus.

The Results

A health centre that defied expectations, timescales and sustainable credentials. Sky Health & Fitness is a testament to the wellness benefits of timber and is a superbly aesthetic project.

About The Project

The Sky Health and Fitness Centre building was designed to rehouse an oversubscribed gym that had been operational for over 14 years, as well as providing other new fitness facilities - underpinning Sky’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of their staff. Positioned opposite a large landscaped plaza, the building takes advantage of the views across the panorama to Boston Manor and beyond.

The Brief

From the outset the decision made by the designers was to implement clear and simple strategies for the CLT structure integrating M&E enabling clean and simple detailing. The design team identified common client concerns - dealing strategically with overall building costs, service installation, fire risks, construction speed, together with future adaptability.

B&K Structures worked closely with dRMM, Arup, Mace and M&E trades to fully maximise the speed of construction. The overall structural design was by Arup, while B&K Structures were responsible for the CLT connection design and detailing.

Key Challenges

As most of the CLT was left exposed, careful consideration of fire safety design was crucial. Fire resistance to the connections was provided by ensuring that the dimensions of the steel plate and the skew screw spacing met the requirements of BS EN 1995-1-2. Arup were able to validate the fire safety strategy as well as mitigating the reduction of the use of site-applied surface spread of flame coatings. This led to an improved build programme, a reduction in costs and an enhancement of the recyclability of the timber.

The Solution

The architect and structural engineer’s aspiration for the feature staircase was for a wide, shallow cranked glulam spine beam, supporting cantilevered treads beyond the spine beam. In order to achieve an aesthetically attractive connection at the crank, a pair of cranked glulam beams were formed by inserting dowelled flitch plates into each beam. Dowels were used as they can be installed at closer centres and less likely to slip than bolts. The cranked beams were then glued and pressed together by the fabricator, hiding the exposed ends of the dowels – producing a single wide beam with almost entirely concealed fixings.

The project, one of very few all-timber fitness centres in the world, was completed on time and on budget in May 2015. The timber structure took just 25 days to erect - an impressive achievement during the winter season. The construction and delivery were clearly mapped out to align with Sky’s sustainability aspirations and delivered within the tight programme and time constraints – achieving the targeted BREEAM Very Good rating. The completed building has a striking aesthetic appeal that showcases the very best in timber design and is a great example of integrated engineering and timber technology.

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