When it comes to the best procurement framework to choose, it isn’t the case that one size fits all. With the unique and specific demands of the leisure sector, a complete ‘delivery solution’, that is tailored for public leisure, better delivers the required outcomes of a project and ongoing operational success. The UK Leisure Framework provides exactly that solution. Owned by Denbighshire Leisure and delivered by Alliance Leisure, public leisure facilities are being transformed across the country.

So, how does this ‘leisure expertise’ provide benefits and support development success? The answer can be seen during all three phases of a project; before, during and after.

Before a project gets started when it is an aspiration waiting to take flight, analysis of the local demographic, competition, mystery shops and customer demand, provided by those that understand the market, are all essential to give key insight. Early engagement of leisure specialist consultant / architect / contractor / suppliers, all under a single appointment by the development partner, ensures joined up working from the different disciplines aimed towards a common goal. At this stage, the key outcomes are identified which reach further than purely commercial success, aiming for improved community health and wellbeing linked to strategic objectives of sector Governing Bodies. This understanding of the market and demographic intelligence informs the progression of the concept so the seed is sown to put the project on the right path.

A framework development partner, who has the capability to provide a public consultation platform and even facilitate the procurement of an operator, saves client time and resource whilst helping move the project forwards to achieve approval.

As design progresses, the experience of decades in delivering leisure schemes coupled with a constant research and development of leisure product innovation, provides unique expertise that ‘sprinkles the stardust’ on design to create exciting and engaging facilities that drive repeat user visits, time after time (for example, White Oak Leisure Centre). The assembled project team, bringing together industry specialists under the framework umbrella, keep ‘buildability’ at the heart within the defined budget envelope by early contractor engagement


Take a look at our portfolio of developments that cover everything from refurbishments to new builds

The interface between the main construction and the customer end-point is key, and this link can be overlooked without a team who have a background in leisure enabling a unique understanding of the requirements from the operator and users. As an example, when developing a Soft Play facility within a new leisure centre, it is one thing to construct the space and then install the play structure, but key consideration needs to be given to; access control for the space, customer journey, avoiding ‘pinch points’ in customer flow, parental viewing, food and beverage link, features to encourage repeat visits, secondary spend opportunities and so on. This type of analysis applies to all areas.

Constructing a building is not a unique skill but creating a place that reaches out and engages with the wider community, is.

During project delivery, an understanding of the need to keep a leisure operation ‘live’ is often crucial, and a delivery team with a leisure operational background can work through solutions to ensure continuity of service for members of the public (as was the case with our development at Haverhill Leisure Centre). An appreciation of the key service elements that must remain open feeds into construction phasing plans, programming and temporary spaces where necessary. An effective development partner works in the space between the principle contractor and client, adding value throughout the process with an understanding of the nuances of sector. Delivered by a dependable team that are genuinely there every step of the way, from concept to completion, gives continuity to the client throughout the journey with a solution-focussed group working in collaboration.

After the new facility has been delivered, the operational outcomes take priority (commercial, environmental, social) and a true development partner will be able to offer a bespoke support package, based on experience in working with leisure operators across the country, to help achieve and exceed targets.

Providing firm costs  and mitigating risk, whilst delivering value for money and social benefits, should all be a given from a robust framework delivery partner. Industry specific expertise though, is the difference in delivering a project fit for the future.

Our Top 4 Takeaways:

  1. Early engagement with all partners and suppliers ensures a joined up working from the different disciplines aimed towards a common goal

  2. A leisure specialist development partner adds value throughout the process with a unique understanding of the nuances of the sector.

  3. An understanding of the need to keep a leisure operation ‘live’ is crucial

  4. A true development partner will be able to offer a bespoke support package to help achieve and exceed targets

About the author:

Tom Fairey is Development Director at Alliance Leisure and has been with the company since 2011.

Meet the rest of the team on the link below or head over to LinkedIn to connect with Tom.