Anderton Concrete’s Stepoc System Provides ‘Flexibility and Ease of Use’ to Guildford County Schools

The acclaimed Stepoc Concrete Shuttering System from Anderton Concrete was specified and installed by Blakedown Sport & Play.

The desire to establish a new Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) that could provide a high-quality basis for numerous different sporting disciplines year in, year out underpinned a major recent project at Guildford County School.

The company that was awarded the design and build contract, Blakedown Sport & Play, faced several significant challenges in arriving at a design that could fully satisfy the school’s multiple requirements. Perhaps most importantly it needed to deliver an all-year-round playing surface that would consign the existing site’s problems with water-logging and drainage – which often rendered the playing field unusable during the winter months – firmly to the past.

The Blakedown team also had to take careful account of the residential properties located to the south of the site. Not only did the proposed new MUGA pitch and sports hall need to have as small and impact on the surrounding dwellings, noise and disturbance during the construction process had to be kept to a minimum.

The choice of building processes and materials was therefore the subject of very rigorous evaluation. One result of Blakedown’s deliberations was the decision to utilise Anderton Concrete’s Stepoc Concrete Shuttering System to underpin the new site, which features a significant gradient in one orientation and a steep bank to one side.

Anderton Concrete’s Tim Fields, Technical and Development Manager explains: “Stepoc is a system of concrete shuttering blocks that are highly enigneered and dimensionally coordinated. Stepoc is designed to readily accept vertical and horizontal reinforcement for use where structural performance is the prime consideration and is the real alternative to shuttered concrete, offering cost savings in terms of both time and labour.”

Close cooperation

The design and development period saw Blakedown work closely with Anderton Concrete to devise a system that could achieve retained heights from 0.4m to 3m. Ultimately, the design made use of three block sizes from the range – 200, 256 and 325mm – for a solution that was both economical and ‘fit for purpose’.

In addition, the system formed the walling of a concrete slab roof, which was cast in situ and now provides a covered and recessed storage area, as specifically requested by the school.

The entire project team was mindful of the need to minimise disruption to the neighbouring residential areas, and as a result deliveries were made by suitably sized vehicles to a very precise schedule. Larger vehicles would not have been practical due to the main access point to the site involving a sharp turn off a main road combined with a steep slope.

Construction of the new MUGA ­progressed smoothly and was completed in time for the start of the autumn term last year. As well as providing a fantastic new facility for use by the entire school, it enables a much more expansive approach to scheduling sporting activities, with the use of outdoor space increasing from approximately 18 weeks per year to 52. It also blends in very discreetly to the school grounds, with the development distinguished by a high standard of landscape design that includes extensive use of trees and other planting.

Now that the project is complete it is evident that the Anderton Concrete Stepoc Concrete Shuttering System has played a fundamental role in its success, with Tom Buckingham remarking that Blakedown is “very satisfied with the Stepoc Concrete Shuttering System, having now used it on several key projects. Coupled with the excellent customer service that we can offer and Blakedown says it would recommend the system to all.”