When an ambitious village cricket club in Leicestershire wanted a ground to match Grace Road and their clubhouse built in double-quick time, the architects were not stumped for fast-track building materials.
rg+p architects specified Decra’s steel Stratos tiles for a multitude of reasons, not least the fact they would stand up to the occasional “six” bouncing off the roof, then sub-contractors Jarvis Roofing installed 2,000 of them on a complex, curved roof in two thirds of the time of more conventional tiles.
The new clubhouse became necessary when Kibworth Cricket Club sold to developers the site in Kibworth Beauchamp which had been its home for more than 100 years and moved to a three-acre farmer’s field next door.
rg+p architects were commissioned to design the ground and over the next two years two pitches were cultivated, seeded and nurtured. No such growing period was available for the clubhouse however – this had to be ready for the next season. The £1.2million building was constructed with a steel frame, timber trussed roof, cavity brickwork on three sides and a glazed front façade in just seven months. The ground floor houses a large plant/equipment room, second bar, toilets and treatment room while the first floor features the function suite, four changing rooms, president’s and treatment rooms. The main clubhouse is complemented by a smaller, timber-framed clubhouse on the second pitch that is also roofed in Decra’s Stratos tile whose charcoal colour resembles slate … but at a fraction of the weight.
The brief to rg+p was to create the best cricket facilities in Leicestershire outside of Grace Road. This meant efficient changing and catering facilities for two teams as well as the junior and senior teams. rg+p’s managing director Bill Smedley said: “We worked with the club’s development sub committee and came up with a variety of designs and sites but eventually we all agreed on the first scheme which was to provide as much accommodation on the first floor as possible. Everyone wanted to be able to see the cricket.”
The materials had to be robust, low-maintenance, quick to install, and where the roof was concerned light, so as much space as possible could be utilised underneath it. Bill Smedley added: “One of the advantages of the Decra tiles is that they won’t break if a cricket balls hits them. It will just bounce off. If we had wanted to use concrete or slate tiles we would have had to replace them. “The Decra tiles are also lightweight which enabled cost savings as we could have a single span across the function room to give us flexibility of design on the first floor. They allowed us to make the building look a lot larger than it actually is. The colours also suit the completed scheme. From a distance it looks like a slate roof. " He added: “The Decra tiles got the job completed about 30% quicker than conventional tiles.”
The 30-metre-long by eight-metre-wide building features an eight-metre radius so that all the spectators within have the same field of vision of the pitch and it was on the hallowed ground that Jarvis Roofing, who have installed Decra tiles for 20 years but never before on a curved roof, laid out the tiles to check the curve could be met. General manager Barry Jarvis said: “It was certainly a different project for us but once we got our heads round it, it was relatively easy. Because the curve was gradual it made it easier. Once it was set out the tiling was the easy bit.“We knew it would be a bit slower to work but it was well worth doing. Everyone was very committed and in the end it only took us about eight days – about 10% longer than a straight roof would have taken.”
Decra roof tiles proved their flexibility beyond question when they were specified for a curved roof on Kibworth Cricket Club’s new pavilion. Around 800 square metres of Decra Stratos tiles in charcoal grey were used for the installation, which was completed in just two weeks. Creating the curve, which measured 39m along its exterior and 34m along its interior, caused no problems and neither did the dormer positioned at its centre.
National Cricket Club Champions in 2004, Kibworth have some big hitters and, therefore, the use of Decra as a roof covering solved another problem. Decra tiles will not crack or break, so any sixes landing on the roof would not call for any tile replacement.
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