Wickwoods Country Club
In a turbulent year, Wickwoods Country Club will not give up and in a turbulent job, neither will we!
The existing air dome used to cover two tennis courts was only operational during the winter months and coming to the end of it’s life.
To design and install a more durable, longer-term covering system that could be used throughout the year and would not look out of place within 22 acres of landscaped gardens at an exclusive Hotel & Spa.
- Unique site
- Limited access
- 75mm bespoke packers
- Specialist all-terrain machinery
- Low-slung wet ground
- 2.8 tonne cover
Wickwoods Country Club, situated within the South Downs National Park, offer an extensive tennis programme for guests and members with outdoor and indoor courts. During the winter months two of the outdoor courts were covered with an air dome “bubble” so that play could continue for more people during inclement weather but this was getting tired and would need replacing within the next year.
MD Lee Goossens says “We wanted to find a structure that provides members with the very best of playing environments all year round. Having evaluated many options, the CopriSystems structure was chosen as it allows the sides to be drawn back during the warmer weather, thus providing an improved playing environment for members during the summer, while giving the ultimate indoor/outdoor feel.”
Installing tennis court covering systems is nothing new for us but this project came with it’s fair share of challenges not least of all the coronavirus restrictions and heavy winds brought about by the many storms endured in the UK this year.
Limited access to the courts meant that using a crane, which we would typically do, was never an option, even after we had cut back several trees. Added to that was the issue of low-slung ground which had become very wet and therefore could not take the capacity of any heavy machinery.
Not only did we need to hire in special all-terrain equipment including a 20 tonne, 360 degree teleboom and bring in two extra guys on site, all out of our own pocket, but we also had to recruit the help of the local farmer who was able to drop off bits of steel as and when we needed them using his tractor and bale trailer. We meant it when we said that every project is unique and it doesn’t stop there.
Unconventionally, we opted to utilise an existing concrete ring beam from the old air dome. After strengthening it in various places we then built the structure in 75mm bespoke packers so our client could lay a new court surface once we were finished.
However, without the use of a crane and in high winds, probably the most challenging part of this job was having to pull the 2.8 tonne cover across the top by hand. We did it though, thanks to a bit of strength and a lot of stubborn determination!
In a tough year, when the hotel has had to close, weddings at the venue were cancelled and limited tennis was available, Wickwoods Country Club have been dynamic and agile.
It was an interesting job, full of obstacles and set-backs, but we have proved we can also be dynamic by changing our whole method statement in order to get the job done and help the client get back on their feet.
Now that the structure is in use it’s dynamic nature has already yielded higher operational times compared to many other facilities. Specifically its retractable side walls and therefore higher levels of ventilation have allowed it to operate at times when other indoor facilities have had to close due to Coronavirus restrictions.