Vacancy for Architect / Design Lead

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Raising the standards for sports facility projects

We are the recognised trade association for the sports and play construction industry in the UK. All of our members go through a strict checking process:

  • Strict Admission Criteria
  • Standards of Construction
  • Code of Professional Conduct
  • Technical Mediation
Read About Sapca

Job Summary

The Architect / Design Lead are extremely varied roles where you could be carrying out a design and cost review of grass playing pitches, changing rooms and a multi-use games area community project in the morning, through being an Author of a Design Guidance or Briefing Note in the afternoon and the following day developing standard concepts, operational business plans for a multi-million pound wet and dry co-located facility through active design and environment principles.

They are looking for experienced individuals who can work as a cross disciplined team used to outsourcing support services through a variety of framework agreements. Whilst being able to recite the RIBA Plan of Work or detailed working knowledge of construction contracts would be great, we place more importance on the ability to see the bigger picture around green space and place development, understand sustainable operational business plans and be confident in proactively collaborating with, managing and developing our extended workforce and budget.

You will work closely across other teams and Directorates within Sport England particularly capital, investment, planning, procurement, system partners and local delivery.

You will have the ability to establish and maintain strong management relationships with local authorities, leisure operators and sector partners to protect and rebuild local leisure services and facilities and to add value and provide expert guidance therein.

You will share the passion towards a sustainable environment in pitch, space and place design.

Sport England is an arms-length body of government responsible for growing and developing grassroots sport and getting more people active across England. Right now, the opportunities to get involved in sport and activity depend too much on your background, your gender, your bank balance and your postcode. Sport England are determined to tackle this and unlock the advantages of sport and physical activity for everyone. We are here to invest in sport and physical activity to make it a normal part of life for everyone in England, regardless of who you are.

Sport England recognises the positive value of diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination. We welcome and encourage job applicants from people of all backgrounds, particularly where we are under-represented, currently, this includes disabled people and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.

Role Purpose

Leading the provision of accessible, inclusive, safe and secure opportunities for all to be active in a place or space within the principles of active design, environments and travel.

Skills & Experience

Educated to degree level or equivalent vocational qualification in a relevant discipline such as Architecture (RIBA), Quantity Surveying (RICS), Construction Project Management, Sports Development or demonstration of gaining relative experience working in the leisure sector and ongoing professional development (CPD).

Significant experience working in the construction sector, managing relationships & developing capital projects with local authorities, facility operators, clubs and national partners.

Experienced in public sector procurements, overseeing/managing frameworks and advocating the use of sector guidance & tools.

Understanding of environmental sustainability in the facility sector and ability to develop innovative ideas, models for operational improvements to facilities.

Proven experience of personal achievement in two or more of the following:

  • Architectural Design
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Project Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Capital Project Management
  • Leisure Procurement
  • Relationship Management

Proven experience of developing designs and cost documents available for public and third-party use.

Understanding of using an insight led approach to deliver new interventions and ability to take an innovative approach.

Effective verbal and written communications skills including the ability to adapt communication style to different audiences and present complex messages in a compelling way.

Good MS office skills.


Previous experience of wet and dry leisure centres, particularly co-location projects and working for an organisation/s with particular strength in sports and leisure provision.

Experience of managing capital projects and facility investments.

Understanding the relationship between flooding and drought in the context of spaces, places (buildings, green spaces).

Experience of artificial sports surfaces, component parts and impact on the environment.

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