Burgess Hill Triangle

Tour of Facilities
4th June 2008

Ten members plus one member’s spouse attended the visit. Our host was Mr Tom McMutrie, who is the Operations Manager at the Triangle. To assist with our visit, Tom had co-opted the assistance of the Mid Sussex Council Contracts Manager and their Technical Services Officer who had both been involved during the design, procurement and construction stages of the leisure centre.

An introductory talk was given during which the background to the project was described and events leading up to the opening of the facility by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in March 1999.

Apart from the dry side facilities which include an extremely large sports hall, which can seat up to 1200 spectators, there is an eight lane 25 m competition pool, a separate leisure pool with rapids, a splash pool, toddlers pool, spa pool and two flumes. It was of particular interest to note that the original chlorination system was found to be inadequate even at chlorine levels of up to 2.4 ppm. Siemens were brought in to examine the problem and recommended addition of UV disinfection. Provision of suitably sized UV units has now enabled chlorine levels to be safely reduced to below 0.4 ppm with additional benefits to water and air quality not to mention customer satisfaction. Subsequently a more sophisticated control system has been installed so that chlorine levels and UV levels may be constantly monitored and automatically adjusted along with circulation rates according to ‘bather load’ so that energy usage is minimised.

All pool water is circulated through sand filters to remove particulates. The filters are routinely backwashed and the backwash water was until recently discharged to waste. In view of recent and predicted water shortages the council has this year commissioned a local contractor to install pumps and charcoal filters so that this ‘grey’ water may be collected by council bowsers for use in local cleaning and plant watering activities. A 20,000l holding tank is maintained full by the Triangle for this purpose.

It was noted that the original cost of the Triangle was £13.4m and that the annual energy budget (presumably before recent fuel price rises) is of the order of £600,000, whereas overall annual running costs including maintenance is £1.1m.

The Competition Pool is depth adjustable in two sections, by means of separate floating floor sections which are secured via cables below the floor to hydraulic rams outside the pool the cables enter the hidden area below the floating floor via a moonpool so that no seals are required. The two sections are separated by a dividing boom operated in the same way. As well as having the advantage of enabling different activities to take place at each end of the pool, it was noted that for competition purposes it is preferred that to have an even depth along the length of the pool and therefore the floor can be set to specific requirements. This design was fairly innovative at the time of construction but is becoming the norm for new builds.

Members were given a tour of the facilities so that various technical features of the facility could be viewed, including the pool depth control system; the air handling systems; water pumping, filtration and treatment; gas fired boilers; electrical power distribution etc. It was of interest to note that the facility has a gas fired CHP unit providing 163Kw of electrical power to the site; the waste heat being used for water heating, thereby reducing the loading on the gas fired boilers. Overall monitoring and control of pool temperatures and flows and of air conditioning parameters is from a computerised BMS (Building Management System).

The usual round up and question period was somewhat curtailed due the occurrence of a road accident on the A272. This had unfortunately caused a fatality and the Triangle had been asked to urgently provide short term accommodation for a number of people from the scene who needed counselling and non medical aid.

Our thanks and appreciation of the visit were subsequently sent to Tom McMutrie.

Rob Williams