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Racing certainty

Terraces? On a new 10,000 capacity grandstand? Surely terraces went out years ago, replaced by seats, for very good safety reasons? So why has client the Newmarket Racecourse Trust specified large areas of terracing at its new £15M flagship Millennium Grandstand, located right by the finishing line on the classic Rowley Mile? Main contractor John Mowlem project manager David Goward has the answers.

'Racing crowds are very different to those at football or rugby matches,' he explains.

'They're much more fluid, moving in and out of the stand as races begin and end rather than sitting down for the duration of a match. Terraces make much more sense than seats in those circumstances - although there are 815 seats on the second floor.'

Cost is another factor. The Rowley Mile is one of two courses at the 'Home of Racing', and is used for only 17 days a year. Although the bars and restaurant facilities can be used year round for functions, the spectator areas will see far less use than those in an equivalent Premiership stadium, for example.

Goward, who has built several racecourse grandstands, says the standard of internal finishes is improving all the time as clients look to encourage other money-earning uses. 'Here, the vomitory stairs leading from the ground floor to the terraces were originally specified as insitu concrete.

'We later switched them to precast, to get a better finish.'

Tarmac's Norman Brown says that 'nine times out of 10' Tarmac would supply a package of structural concrete and hollowcore flooring to this type of project. This time the 6,000m2 of hollowcore units comes from Bison Concrete. The structural concrete package on this mainly steel framed structure comprises 600 pre-tensioned prestressed terrace units spanning up to 4m, 16 stair units and landings, and nine balconies.

All units have a high quality acid etched finish. Produced over 13 weeks, the first deliveries from the near £300,000 package arrived on site in March.

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