Consultants are drafted in after racecourse receives more than 1,000 complaints
Managers at Ascot racecourse in Berkshire have drafted in consultants Arup and High-Point Rendel to rectify viewing problems on the main grandstand.
The racecourse was the subject of a £185m refurbishment carried out by Laing O’Rourke and completed in June. It later emerged that the new grandstand had problems with visibility after guests complained at the Royal Ascot race meeting.
Ascot has now confirmed this, and recruited Arup and High-Point Rendel to work alongside the original architect, HOK Sport, to rectify the problems.
Howard Shiplee, the construction director at the Olympic Delivery Authority, was the former project director at Ascot, on the client’s side.
Shiplee had joined High-Point Rendel after leaving Ascot. He stayed there for less than a year before joining the ODA.
An Ascot spokesperson said: “We can confirm that HOK Sport is working in tandem with Arup and High-Point Rendel in order to produce options to improve viewing at the stadium, relating to the concourse and lawn levels.
“One option being considered is the lowering of the concourse, however others are under consideration.”
Douglas Erskine-Crum, the Ascot chief executive, resigned last month, and will leave his post at the end of the year. He has said he wishes to pursue “a new challenge”.
Ascot was widely hailed as a triumph when it was completed in time for this year’s Royal Ascot, on time and on budget. However, it has been reported that the racecourse received more than 1,000 letters of complaint over the viewing problems.
The 30,000-seat grandstand opened for the royal meeting on 20 June, after a two-year construction programme. It has 272 private boxes.
Arup and High-Point Rendel were unavailable for comment. Laing O’Rourke declined to comment. HOK Sport referred all enquiries to Ascot.
The project was rocked in August 2005 when the then project manager David Trench, who worked alongside Shipley, quit the scheme after feeling there was too much overlap between the two roles.
Trench's construction and consulting firm has now been bought by consultant White Young Green.