Courts are almost half complete!

Things have really taken off on the court construction front this week, with good progress having been made at Fountain of Hope and Kaunda Square, although it hasn’t been plain sailing… When not at site we’ve been enjoying local markets, football, netball and much more.

We have now split into two site teams, with Alexa and Jamie managing Kaunda Sq, and Tom and Nick managing Fountain of Hope. At Fountain the boundary kerb stones have been set in concrete and a stonebase laid, which will be compacted before asphalt is spread on top. The old basketball posts are being reused and new netball posts have arrived on site.

We have designed a ‘double kerb’ which is set deeper into the ground on the outer edge to prevent undercutting in the future, which has been an issue with other courts. The construction of this got underway yesterday along with a new drain at the edge of the court, which will carry water to the main drain in the road.

The deep outer kerb will prevent undercutting. A concrete ramp between the inner and outer kerbs will ensure easy access.
Concrete being poured for the outer kerb.

It’s been important to be at site this week to make sure the contractor does what was agreed – we have learnt the importance of exchanging dimensioned and annotated sketches the hard way! Fountain of Hope is an exciting place to be, however, with kids running around and asking us questions every day, so we’re never short of entertainment!

The construction of a new netball court at Kiine School, Kwanda Square is now into its second week. Significant progress has been made and the court is really starting to take shape!

Current state of the court at Kaunda… we are excavating to refill with stonebase.

Strip foundations have been cast in-situ followed by the placement of high quality kerb stones to protect the edge of the court. During our site investigation we discovered that the gradient of the ground was higher than expected, causing the design of our retaining edge to vary in different corners of the site. A retaining slope has been used to support the kerb stones but also to provide protection against erosion and undercutting of neighbouring soil.

Concrete was cast for the kerbs using formwork where it protruded above ground level.
Kerbstones ready to be placed.

We have decided to link the drainage system of the court with the adjacent building to reduce the number of channels running across the area between the school and court. Even though Zambia is consistently very hot and dry, large weather storms occur at specific times of the year. Storm drains are essential in urban areas to reduce the risk of flooding.

New drain adjacent to school.

Unfortunately, we have managed to encounter underground services twice during our short time at site. Luckily these were only small diameter water pipes. However, these services will need to be redirected because if the pipe were to burst in the future then the structural integrity of the court would be highly compromised.

Water pipe awaiting repair and re-direction…

Currently we are excavating the internal area of the court so it can be filled and compacted with the appropriate thicknesses of materials. We are hoping that by the end of this week the subgrade will be level and compacted, ready for the heavy stone base layer that is scheduled to arrive at the weekend.

As well as managing the construction projects, we are responsible for reporting on the condition of other existing facilities managed by Sport in Action. This week we visited three courts and a swimming pool, which varied hugely in condition. Although we can give technical advice to SIA and make recommendations for repairs, the management of these assets will only be sustainable in the long term if inspections can be carried out by local engineers, who can then oversee the work when a Bath team is not here.

This is why we want to build a good relationship with civil engineering students at the University of Zambia. Natasha and William, both in their final year at UNZA, have joined us once or twice a week on site. They are contributing ideas and technical knowledge, but also as locals they understand the contractors’ ways of working far better than us! We hope they will want to become more involved in the project and improve its sustainability.

Working with William and Natasha at Kaunda Sq last week.

Please follow our Instagram account to keep up-to-date on our day-to-day activities at both Kwanda Square and Fountain of Hope!


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