Project description

Following decades of usage, the Gateshead Leisure Centre, Tyne and Wear, was suffering from age. To repair its badly leaking pool and restore the entire facility to its former glory, it was shut for a year so that a multi-million pound refurbishment scheme could be completed.

The scheme, delivered by main contractor Willmott Dixon as part of a design and build contract with Gateshead Council, forms part of the Building an Active Future Programme (BaAF). The programme, which involves investing £36 million, is part of a plan to improve the health of residents in the town by 2030.

Project requirements

To ensure that the renovated pool was watertight and would not leak as it had previously, the selection of the waterproof membrane had to be carefully considered. Not only did it have to remain watertight whilst submerged, but it also had to be able to resist the chlorine and ozone that are used to keep pools clean.

Sika solution

A combination of the renowned Sika®-1 waterproofing system and Sikadur® Combiflex®, from global construction material producer Sika®, was chosen to ensure that following the remedial works, the swimming pool would remain watertight for decades to come.

Sika®-1 was specified by consulting engineering firm Cundall for its market proven abilities. The system is fully certified by the British Board of Agrément (BBA), which stated that “Sika®-1’s pre-bagged waterproofing system will provide an effective barrier to the transmission of liquid for the life of the building to which it is applied”. Crucially, owing to the harsh and chemical environments that swimming pools represent to concrete, Sika®-1 is exceptionally resistant.

Sika®-1 is a total waterproofing system comprising prebagged mortars, renders and screeds – ensuring ease of use and onsite quality control. It is so effective at waterproofing due to the Sika®-1 admixture, a colloidal silicate liquid that swells when in contact with water. This seals the pores and capillaries of mortar, ensuring a 100% watertight seal – ideal for a swimming pool, where water retention is of the essence.

Specialist contractor Quickseal was appointed to carry out the waterproofing works which were completed to BS1802 Grade 3. The fully trained operatives from Quickseal cast a layer of spritz mortar over the bottom and sides of the tank, totally covering the existing slab. This was followed by a second and third layer of Sika®-1 Finishing Mortar and Render for the walls and Sika®-1 Prebagged Screed mortar for the bottom. To ensure that the swimming pool was 100% watertight, all joints and junctions were sealed with Sika®’s Sikadur® Combiflex®, consisting of a Sika® Hypalon strip and Sikadur® 31 epoxy resin adhesive for fixing. The system is elastic, rot proof and resistant – crucial considering the chemical composition of swimming pool water.

Once the Sika®-1 waterproof membrane had been installed and the joints sealed with Sikadur® Combiflex®, the pool was re-tiled in white, for the sake of hygiene and aesthetics.