The OCS Stand, The Oval

The OCS Stand, The Oval


The Miller Partnership

Structural Engineer

SKM Anthony Hunts

Steelwork Contractor

Severfield-Reeve Structures Ltd

Main Contractor

Taylor Woodrow Construction Ltd


Surrey County Cricket Club

The Oval Cricket Ground in South East London was upgraded in 2004/5. The run-down Vauxhall end stands were replaced with a modern steel framed building. The new seating, spread over five storeys, and a feature curved steel roof have provided an increased ground capacity and upgraded facilities appropriate to the calibre of matches hosted at the ground. The main multi-storey building houses various hospitality facilities such as restaurants, concessions, conference suites and viewing areas.

The building is designed as a braced steel frame with dedicated stability bracing and portalisation in areas where bracing would interfere with views to the pitch. The seating terraces are formed from precast concrete units supported by reinforced concrete walls and raking steel beams in the lower tier and fabricated tapered steel cantilever beams in the upper terraces. The suspended floors are constructed from lightweight concrete on profile steel decking acting compositely with the primary steel support beams.

All terrace units were designed with a vertical natural frequency of 6Hz. This was achieved economically by adopting a semi composite action between the terrace units and the cantilever raking steel support beams which increased their stiffness in the dynamic analysis without incurring any weight penalties.

To achieve a clear column free space at ground floor, two of the central support columns were omitted between ground and second floor level. Two deep fabricated plate girders at first floor level support the floor at that level with a storey high transfer truss, located between third and fourth floor supporting second, third and fourth floors.

The roof is supported by circular hollow section columns branching out at high level with four arms to support the curved primary support beams. As these members are external and visible the connections are fabricated to a high architectural/aesthetic standard. Cold formed steel purlins supporting a standing seam metal roof deck and polycarbonate roof covering complete the roof canopy.

High quality paint finish was specified to areas of exposed external steelwork to increase the life to first maintenance period which was a key concern to the client. The project was programmed into two distinct construction phases to suit key international matches mid-way through construction. Phase I consisted of demolition of the existing stands, piling and sub structure, erecting the steelwork frame and lower precast concrete seating. Extensive use of prefabrication enabled these works to be completed on time to allow for a temporary handover during the summer of 2004. Phase II consisted of completing the superstructure, M&E services, fitting out and external works.

The new stand at The Oval was delivered on time and to the client’s budget. The completed building is an elegant and aesthetically pleasing structure that has, in combination with the success of the England Cricket team during the last test match of the Ashes series held there in the summer of 2005, lifted the profile of the ground and Surrey County Cricket Club immensely.

Judges’ Comment


The new stand at the Vauxhall end of this historic cricket ground is covered by a single roof surface, which sweeps up from the ends to the centre, where the greatest height is required.

The roof is supported on a regular grid by “tree” columns, which spring out of the seating structure below. At lower levels the spectator deck is supported by a plate girder cantilever structure. The whole relates cleverly to the integration of the various functions of the ground, the seating and the site.

This is a most appropriate use of steel, in a geometrically complex arrangement, which adds drama and visual excitement to a famous venue.