IDOM Merebrook supports Sandwell’s transition from world stage to community hub

From sporting world stage during the 2022 Common Wealth Games, to serving the local community – in its’ few short years the £73million Sandwell Aquatic Centre has hosted a wealth of world class sporting prowess.

IDOM Merebrook, Derbyshire based environmental engineering consultancy has been proud to help deliver the first-class sports facility, to support sporting talent in the local community of Smethwick, Birmingham.

During the centre’s development, IDOM Merebrook worked for the principal contractor Wates Construction and was tasked with ensuring that the proposed site, a former Victorian tip was fit for purpose and compliant with the standards of a modern leisure venue.

The site at Londonderry Playing Fields had an industrial background, initial work on the site involved extensive investigation, testing, materials and waste classification, earthworks, land remediation and putting into place a comprehensive materials management plan.

Once the site was deemed safe for development, the sustainable ground engineering strategy centered around reusing materials and prioritised the recycling of waste soils on the site through spatial distribution, to reduce the need for materials to be removed.


When excavation started in 2020 it presented the challenge of accommodating the diving pool and basement areas of the new centre. The deepest excavation to facilitate the diving pool was 7m below ground level. Cement bindings were mixed with excavation fill to compact the area and reduce moisture to create stable platforms to allow the commencement of the foundation construction works.

The second phase of IDOM Merebrook’s scope of work began once the Games were over, and involved repurposing elements of the infrastructure of the centre to facilitate public use when it opened to the public last year.

To adapt the facilities for public use the temporary warm up pool used within the games was removed to allow for additional externals and parking facilities. The north of the site was reinstated with the new improved community football pitch which now adheres to Sports England standards. The Remediation Method Statement validation report was issued by IDOM to discharge appropriate planning conditions.

The Sandwell Aquatics center now brings state of the art leisure facilities to the local community providing health, education and economic benefits.

IDOM Merebrook Associate Director Amy Jones said:

“This has really been an interesting and high profile project to be involved in, the development of the center really put this area and the wider Midlands on the map during the Games, and now it is fantastic to see how the local community is benefitting from the legacy.”