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PureGym Looks To The Future With Iconic Project Management

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

PureGym Expansion Programme 

PureGym is the UK’s leading gym chain and a pioneer of the low cost, high quality fitness experience. They have over 230 gyms across the UK. Their ambition for the next few years is to expand significantly.

Before the coronavirus lockdown, they ranked all the towns and locations in terms of desirability - looking at population density, prosperity, and lack of gyms. The Acquisitions Team at PureGym were looking for as many opportunities as they could find, in as many areas as possible.

Building The Team

The PureGym project delivery and development team had been expanding their capability and recruiting new team members. Towards the end of last year, while still working to deliver nearly 60 projects in 2019 and preparing for 2020, they needed someone who could come in and pick the programme up straight away, without needing lots of training or supervision. Iconic Project Management was recommended, and they appointed our Director of Project Management, Darren Hewitt.

Feasibility Studies

Darren’s main responsibility was to carry out feasibility studies of potential sites for new gyms. He assessed all available properties to see if they would fit the very challenging criteria to make them suitable for a gym. The advantage of widening the net in this way was that they could find more suitable properties, more quickly. (If you’re just searching for that one perfect site, you may never find it, and you lose momentum.) The first requirement for any new gym is structural integrity. You need a continuous ceiling height of 3.5 meters so that all the gym equipment will fit. When in use, all the equipment exerts a big dynamic load on the structure, so the slab must be able to withstand over 5 kilonewtons per square metre. The entrance must be level and the site must have a continuous demise. It must also have sufficient supplies of water, gas and electricity. Finally, we assessed the condition of the building, to see what additional works needed to be done to make it a suitable building for a gym. For example, if the roof had leaks or blocked gutters, a full roof survey would be ordered.

Specialist Surveys

Every feasibility report depended on specialist surveys and Darren coordinated them. The point of these surveys was to assess whether the landlord would have to complete significant works to ensure the building’s suitability. Firstly, we did a drainage survey to assess the capacity of the drainage system. It had to handle the peak flow of water from the showers. Then an acoustic survey. Gyms are really noisy places, not only because of the background music that is on all the time, but also because of people dropping heavy weights, or running on a treadmill, creating both noise and vibration. 

42 Feasibility Studies Later...

Over 8 months, Darren completed 42 of these feasibility reports. He visited every site, conducted negotiations with the landlords’ teams to agree specifications, conducted the survey process, and reported on progress each week. As Darren tells us, “My main challenge during my time at Pure Gym was to keep the programme going at pace and generate as many feasibility reports as possible. My great satisfaction was that I could step in and provide the skills so that I could leave the project team in a strong position to deliver this massive expansion programme successfully.” It was a pleasure working with PureGym. We wish them every success for the future.



Elizabeth Hewitt

Director of Marketing at Iconic Project Management Limited. We specialise in retail, leisure and commercial construction: building or refurbishing your perfect premises.

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