BSkyB Health & Fitness Centre

An exercise in engineered timber that combines architectural design and structural innovation, Sky’s Health & Fitness centre offers outstanding facilities for the well-being of the media company’s staff at Osterley Campus.

About this project

As a further proof of their commitment to the health and wellbeing of staff at their expanding West London campus, Sky commissioned dRMM to design a purpose-built staff fitness centre. The new development was to replace an existing gym that had become oversubscribed and was unable to accommodate the state-of-the-art health & fitness experience Sky wanted to offer their staff.

Positioned opposite a large landscaped plaza, the building takes advantage of the views across the panorama to Boston Manor and beyond. The choice of building materials reflects Sky’s corporate sustainability policies and is hence predominantly built in timber. Internally, the timber elements are left exposed adding to a light, natural feel of the space.

The Sky Health & Fitness Centre was designed and delivered in just 17 months. The superstructure took only 26 days to erect testifying the efficiency of engineered timber solutions.

One of a very few all-timber fitness centres in the world, the project was completed on time and on budget in May 2015 achieving a BREAAM Very Good rating.

Use of Timber

The building consists of a unique structural arrangement of glue laminated bifurcated timber (glulam) columns and beams and cross-laminated timber (CLT) perimeter walls and floors.

Engineered timber is rarely used in multi storey fitness studios. Previous onsite testing and research was conducted in order to produce the design modelling and criteria to overcome any potential issues. As a result, a unique structural solution was developed using wide, shallow glulam beams, supported on paired glulam columns. The beams were laid in the opposite orientation to norm, to give a near flat soffit. The beams were required to run continuously over the heads of the columns, which were broken above and below the beams. This allowed for greater ease of service installation for following on trades, because of the virtually flat soffit that was created by the rotated beams. For the structure to work in this way, the detailing of the connections was vital to ensure the correct stiffness could be achieved.

Speed and Fire Safety

Most of the timber left exposed meant that careful consideration of fire safety design was crucial. Fire resistance to the connections was provided by ensuring that the dimensions of the steel plate and the skew screw spacing met the requirements of BS EN 1995-1-2. Fire specialists validated the fire safety strategy and were able to mitigate the reduced use of site-applied surface spread of flame coatings. This led to an improved build programme, reduced costs and enhanced the recyclability of the timber.

Further information

Engineering details 

Campus buildings


Wood Awards 2016, shortlisted

Key contacts





Main Contractor


Structural Engineer


Structural Timber Contractor

B&K Structures 

Timber Supplier

Binderholz (CLT); Rubner Holzbau (glulam) 

Back to Case Studies

Submit a case study

Share your timber projects with us and we will feature them on this site and via our newsletter.

Submit case study

Get the Wood for Good Newsletter