A look back at our feasibility study for the International Sports Village – Iskandar, Malaysia

A look back at our feasibility study for the International Sports Village – Iskandar, Malaysia, by KKP’s Chief Executive, John Eady


Feasibility studies are a large part of KKP’s business and we have undertaken many throughout the UK; which have led to some of the country’s key sports facilities. We have also been very lucky to have provided our expertise and advice to clients in China and Malaysia.


In 2014, KKP, working for Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Malaysia’s strategic investment funding body) delivered a detailed feasibility study, specification and business plan for a £40m sports village (the SVIM) in Medini, Malaysia’s second city.


The SVIM, which is in the process of being developed and includes a range of indoor and outdoor sports facilities designed to cater for a range of uses from international events and games based competition through to community sport and physical activity.


KKP’s feasibility encompassed assessment of domestic and world markets which greatly influenced our input into the design specification for the facility, in order to achieve the required outcomes.  Business plans, financial modelling, sensitivity analysis and long term lifecycle costs were factored into a comprehensive feasibility report.


As part of the study, KKP hosted various delegations from Malaysia to visit key facilities in the UK including Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the FA’s National Football Centre at St George’s Park, Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games venues, Old Trafford Cricket Ground and SportCity in Manchester.


The SMIV in Medini will have an extensive indoor sports arena with integrated spectator facilities which functions both as a major events venue and service anticipated demand from the growing adjacent city. It also encompasses extensive fitness facilities, squash, multiple studio spaces, retail and café areas plus sports science/medicine provision.


The facility will also have three full-sized floodlit artificial grass pitches, community grass pitches, futsal/five a side courts, cricket nets and commensurate parking and landscaping. The pitches will sit alongside a cricket oval with capacity for temporary searing for up to 20,000 spectators, enabling it to attract and host Indian Premier League matches.


John Eady, Chief Executive at KKP who led on the study, says: ‘This was a project that changed radically and fundamentally as a consequence of the feasibility process. Khazanah will develop a venue that achieves its international games and events aspirations, and enables Johor and Medini to deliver their respective commercial viability objectives’.


Top 10 tips for commissioning your new sports/leisure centre

By KKP’s Managing Director, David McHendry


KKP’s work with clients includes a long list of successful leisure centre projects. However, even the most responsible of building contractors will try to construct your centre as cheaply as possible.

This means that, if the process does not get the right level of expert supervision, ‘corners can be cut’. This then affects the longer term quality and maintenance costs associated with your building.

With this in mind, we’ve developed our ten top tips to ensure that your leisure centre is of the quality that you want:

  1. Ensure that your Employers Requirements (ERs) documentation is comprehensive and robust. This should include fully dimensioned plans, sections, elevations, and comprehensive room data sheets (ideally an NBS specification). These are all essential.
  2. If the Contractor’s Proposals (CPs) don’t match your requirements – deal with it. Make it justify every proposed change and make sure that what is done is right for you and the long term quality of the facility.
  3. Get a priced risk register for, for example, ground works, services connections, diversions, site variables and any changes to legislation.
  4. Ensure that your contractor’s proposal meets all the standards and regulations you need to conform to; e.g., Amateur Swimming Association, Sport England, PWTAG etc. Although the list can be long it is worth it. Make absolutely sure that these are all written into the agreement and the conformance to them is monitored and evaluated.
  5. Get a branding document drawn up with expected level of finishes detailed and highlighted. This should dovetail with and complement your room data sheets.
  6. Keep a watchful eye on room areas and heights. It is not uncommon as the design development progresses for rooms to get smaller and even, in certain circumstances, disappear.
  7. Be realistic about the programme; but once agreed monitor closely and very regularly
  8. Use an experienced leisure Project Manager (PM) who is directly employed by you the client, not the construction team. S/he will be your main ally managing the above issues. Ensure that you employ someone who understands sport/leisure buildings on your project management team. If you don’t you may miss things that make a considerable difference to the cost, flexibility and effectiveness of the building operation.
  9. Do your best not to commit to one contractor team too early in the design process; this can significantly lessen your control and financial accountability. Keep the environment competitive for as long as possible to stop cost and scope ‘creep’.
  10. Returning to point one; undertake extensive market testing and consultation before fixing the brief and the design. Ensure that all relevant experts and stakeholders have had a realistic input.

Not every contractor is out to take advantage of its clients but there is no doubt that subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) value engineering to deliver increased contractor profit is all too common – here is a list of some of the key ones to look out for:

  • Store rooms and corridors shrinking and even disappearing; resulting in trampolines and table tennis tables being stored in corridors, ceiling so low that they affect lighting, ambience and the overall feel of a building – these are all potential casualties!.
  • Tweaking of tiling specification and heights
  • Downgrading of floor finishes; which can have a significant impact on the ability to keep changing rooms clean – especially wet change areas.
  • Windows getting smaller and fewer in number, meaning that natural light is limited in areas where you would most want it.
  • External works being downgraded to just basic seeded ground and poor tarmac with few kerbs; resulting in a poorer than expected ’arrival’ which can make a big difference to the customer experience.
  • Fixtures and fittings not being included in room data sheets so that the cost of them bounces back to the client. Typical examples are pool hoists, hair dryers, mirrors etc.
  • Complex ironmongery (door closers, handles etc.) not being to the right standard and, thus, not being able to cope with thousands of opening and closing actions per week over a sustained number of years….this only impacts on the quality of the customer experience.
  • Phasing work and business continuity issues must be addressed in a timely manner – not doing so is inviting future problems.
  • Insurances being missed – you, your staff and your building need to be covered; the contractor does not cover this.
  • Site set up arrangements not being properly discussed and agreed prior to commencement – this is typically overlooked and is an area where substantial cost can then be added.
  • Undercooked M&E specifications – leading to overcooked clientele in your studios and activity spaces.

We hope you find this useful. If you would like to comment or discuss this with us email DM@kkp.co.uk or telephone 0161 764 7040.