The Wates Construction team met with Australian officials at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre ©Sandwell Council

An Australian delegation has visited Birmingham 2022's Sandwell Aquatics Centre to help with preparation for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The £73 million ($100 million/€83 million) venue hosted the swimming and diving competitions during this year’s Games in the English city.

The venue has an Olympic-sized pool and a 10-metre-high diving tower with a 25m diving pool along with a fitness suite, indoor cycling studio and new football pitch.

The centre is set to be opened to the public in 2023 once 4,000 spectators seats have been removed and additional leisure facilities have been installed.

A delegation of experts, led by Master Builders Victoria (MBV), met Wates Construction and Sandwell Council to learn about project delivery and legacy plans for the local area.

The visit showcased the Sandwell Aquatics Centre and how it was built by Wates during the pandemic, as well as wider challenges the team faced to deliver the world-class venue on time.

Visitors from organisations including MBV, the Australian State Government of Victoria and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, toured the site and met the Wates project team as well as Councillor Laura Rollins and Tony McGovern, director of regeneration and economy for Sandwell Council.

"It’s been great to be able to meet the team from Australia to share best practice and what we’ve learned from building Sandwell Aquatics Centre," said John Carlin, regional director for Wates Construction Midlands.

The Sandwell Aquatics Centre staged the swimming and diving competitions during Birmingham 2022 ©Getty Images
The Sandwell Aquatics Centre staged the swimming and diving competitions during Birmingham 2022 ©Getty Images

"We see it as helping to 'pass the torch' to the next Games.

"After a fantastic summer of sport, the development of the Centre into a leading community leisure facility is well underway.

"It’s important to us to demonstrate how major projects like these must be community focused from the start - and how social value can be delivered all over the world."

MBV chief executive Rebecca Casson added: "Understanding the work Wates did, and their engagement with local councils and local community stakeholders, provides many lessons for our sector as it works towards building the Commonwealth Games infrastructure in Victoria in time for the 2026 Games.

"It was great to see the legacy of the Sandwell Aquatic Centre and how it will continue to benefit the community for years to come."

McGovern claimed that the visit enhanced Sandwell Aquatics Centre's reputation as a "world-class leisure facility on a global platform".

"It was always designed as a community leisure facility first, and adapted for the Commonwealth Games, rather than the other way round," said McGovern.

"It is the only one of its kind in the West Midlands and will not only be used by Sandwell residents as a local leisure centre but will also be used for competitive training for future aspiring athletes from Sandwell and the region.

"Our contractors Wates are now hard at work putting the finishing touches on the Games legacy local facilities for our residents and Sandwell Aquatics Club and the centre is expected to open summer 2023."