St Sidwells Point Leisure Centre

  • Client

    Exeter City Council                 

  • Contractor

  • Value


  • Completion Date

    April 2022

The First Passivhaus Leisure Centre.

The Challenge

The overarching challenge was to build the world’s first dry and wet leisure Passivhaus Leisure Centre. This not only involved upskilling the supply the domestic supply chain but leisure specialist too. Delivering Passivhaus requires collaboration at every stage to be successful and this was recognised early by the delivery team. Any part of the wider team could negatively impact the airtest result or energy performance when working to such a tight standard.

Therefore the quality culture had to be set and consistently disseminated throughout the client, design and construction teams, throughout the supply chain. Collaboration and quality control were significant factors considered during procurement. Some trades, for example groundworks, M&E and façade are integral to achieving the air tightness rating, which is essential for Passivhaus certification, their training was very detailed and complex around minimising thermal bridging, for example.

There was a large supply chain involvement including 71 different trades, the delivery team realised it wouldn’t be feasible to have site managers checking every detail. That led to the idea of the Passivhaus Passport to act almost as a ‘safety net’.

The Solution

In order to achieve the stringent build criteria, Kier worked closely with its subcontractors to deliver a ‘Passivhaus Passport’ training scheme, equipping its staff with the knowledge and skills to meet the requirements.

The training developed by consultants WARM provided an introduction to Passivhaus principles, the essential controls in delivery and an understanding of the positive benefits to the end users, wider community and our environment. The trade specific training modules were supported with input from the relevant manufacturers too.  It was a fantastic opportunity for people to further their knowledge and skills in their respective trade.

The Results

Kier introduced the Passivhaus Passport. The passport is awarded for the successful completion of Passivhaus induction and training. All operatives take part in the induction and the training is specific for each trade, with >2,500 passports issued to the supply chain. The impact of this understanding had significant benefits beyond Passivhaus risk mitigation. The quality culture developed and the pride in the project was so strong that sub-contractors would post photos of their work on social media. That’s part of the reason Kier achieved an air tightness rating of 0.3m³/hr/m²@ 50Pa against a target of 0.4m³/hr/m²@ 50Pa, which is 20 times stricter than building regulations.

The air tightness results is fantastic, but there were other knock-on benefits of the Passivhaus Passport. There was a much more consistent workforce on the site throughout the duration. On a traditional build, you might have different sub-contractors or operatives on different days, but At St Sidwell’s Point the project team didn’t have that because of having to go through the passport process. The project ended up with a consistent group of people working to a common goal and that contributed to the quality and safety of the project.

Client, designers, contractor and supply chain worked closely throughout to deliver a successful outcome. This has delivered a building with no performance gap to the highest of design standards, St Sidwell’s Point is Passivhaus accredited.




betterment on Passivhaus air tightness target and 20 times stricter than building regulations


Client Satisfaction

Contractor Performance | Commitments


100% payment within 30 days terms


70% off annual running costs




24 new jobs created (15 new entrants, 8 apprenticeships, 1 graduate)

13 qualifications gained (7 main contractor, 6 sub-contractors)

35 work placements (27 in education, 22 T-Level students, 5 school placements, 8 not in education)

>2,500 people issued PassivHaus Passport


Constructing excellence Southwest 2022 – Net Zero winner

Constructing excellence Southwest 2022 – Project of the Year

Constructing excellence Southwest 2022 – Winners Winner

SCF Framework Manager

Kingsley Clarke


Phone: : 07805760622