Engineer Yolles Partnership claims it will be able to build bespoke gambling centres in seven months.
The anticipated UK casino boom will introduce a new fast-track construction method into the UK, a leading structural engineer has claimed.

Canadian-based Yolles Partnership is bringing its Flash Track quick-build system, which has been used on casino projects in Canada, to the UK.

The system is expensive, which is why it is only suitable for casinos. "But when you are looking at [casino] profits of a £1m a day, that will pay for hell of a lot of changes," said Heather Stanley, managing director of Yolles.

Stanley agreed that more restrictive planning rules in the UK might have an impact on construction methods, for instance on the facades that could be used, but the system would still have advantages. "Developers won't commission a design until they've obtained outline planning," she said.

Contractors are looking forward to an upsurge in casino construction in the wake of government proposals to relax casino laws. The gambling white paper, which was published last month, proposes to lift some curbs on gambling and could mean the construction of 100 casinos in the UK.

Yolles aims to form a Flash Track team in the UK to take advantage of the boom. Stanley said: "We're talking to steelwork contractors, architects and developers."

The design is very much hand-to-mouth – there are a lot of changes and a lot of over-design

Heather Stanley, Yolles Partnership

She added that American casino architects were also preparing to put design teams in place. Canadian architect Reich + Petch, which worked with Yolles on the Niagra Casino in Canada, aims to extend its UK office to include casino design. Whit Petch, principal at Reich + Petch, said the firm held talks with several gaming companies in January.

Yolles' Flash Track system was pioneered during the casino boom in Canada after gambling laws were relaxed. The firm claims that it can construct a bespoke casino in the time it would take for an off-the–shelf factory or office to be built. Stanley said a casino could be opened seven months after the appointment of a design team.

The quick-build method often means the use of round-the-clock construction. Stanley said: "[The design] is very much hand-to-mouth – there are a lot of changes and a lot of over-design."

To enable work to start immediately, tenders for the steelwork are often issued within a week of the design team's appointment.