Case Studies

Building Services

SECC Hydro Arena

  • Client:
    SECC Glasgow
  • Value:
    £11m
  • Duration:
    21 Months
  • Completion:
    September 2013
  • Managing Contractor:
    Lend Lease

The SSE Hydro Arena, designed by world-renowned architects Foster+Partners, forms part of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). The addition of the arena has transformed the site into a nationally significant exhibition, conference and entertainment pavilion. 

The first purpose-built concert venue of its scale, the SSE Hydro Arena offers a combined seated and standing capacity of up to 13,000 and will play host to around 140 events each year, including entertainment from national and international celebrities and performers as well as major sporting events.

FES played a key role in the realisation of this flagship venue, providing electrical services including HV/LV distribution equipment and cabling; 3nr HV sub-stations and associated cabling; small power; fire safety; data and communications systems; feature lighting, general lighting and lighting controls.

In order to effectively design containment routes, lighting installations etc, the FES project team adopted the very latest services coordination packages, allowing us to gain a thorough understanding of the building’s complex geometry. FES worked in tandem with Foster + Partners and key contractors to produce a fully coordinated 3D model to ensure a smooth transition from the conceptual design stage to installation, encouraging a high level of communication between all trades. Collaboration between all parties in this way aided in the detection and removal of service clashes before they could happen, leading to a more streamlined and cost-effective installation.

The arena stands at 45m high with a layout modelled on Greek and Roman amphitheatres and is now a prominent landmark on the Glasgow city skyline. By night, visitors to the venue are greeted by its distinctive, translucent skin (ETFE), installed by FES, which can glow 12.8 million different colours.

This ETFE system can be programmed to provide constant output, flashing, strobe light, wave effects and many more lighting formats. The image projectors, supplied by Sony and wired by FES, can display static or moving images directly onto the building façade. These images are large enough to be seen from the opposite side of the River Clyde. Upper and lower bullnose lighting is installed around the perimeter of the circular building to provide a low level ‘glow’ and a high level ‘halo’.

The main arena lighting was initially designed using tungsten filament lamps. However, following an energy saving proposal presented by FES, the entire area was illuminated using 222nr bespoke Philips LED luminaires, resulting in an 80% energy saving along with greater lighting control owing to advanced DALI protocol technology.

Aisle and vomitory lighting installations utilising LED luminaires and DALI control were fitted by FES to provide safe access to the fixed, tiered and demountable seating system in the Arena. This lighting scheme is pre-programmed, however, finite control can be provided by utilising a DMX controller.

FES supplied and installed the data, IT infrastructure and AV infrastructure using state of the art Category 6 Copper and Fibre networking. The cabling supported all IP based systems both internal and external e.g. computer terminals, advertising signage, telephones, CCTV, door access systems etc. FES also installed an integrated AV system to supported intercom, TV cameras and broadcast units.

Containment systems throughout the building for a high standard of concealment of exposed building services were designed and fitted by FES to maintain the prestige of the arena.  Containment systems installed in the early stages of the build included “cast-in” systems to service “sensitive” areas in a highly discreet manner. Given the round building shape, FES developed an adjustable trunking bend i.e. 15-22 degrees to provide simple and aesthetically pleasing installations.

An automatic fire sprinkler system was designed and installed by FES, and acts as an integral part of the fire safety strategy for the building. This incorporates full life safety requirements, providing continuous protection 24hours per day irrespective of whether the premises are occupied or not. In the event of a power failure, emergency power is provided by means of an 800kVa Generator.  This equipment can continue to supply fully operational power to the venue within 8 seconds of the power outage.