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An Enlightened Approach

Recognising the difficulties associated with the construction and aftercare of sports and play lighting, SAPCA takes us through the key points featured in its new guidance document, ‘The SAPCA Code of Practice for the Provision of Outdoor Sports Lighting’

Published in Sports Management 2013 issue 2
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
The new code will promote standards of lighting design
The new code will promote standards of lighting design

The SAPCA Code of Practice is intended for use by sports lighting contractors; sports facility design professionals and sports facility purchasers and owners. The Code of Practice also outlines the specifications and building standards that SAPCA members are committed to achieve.

SAPCA’s Aims and Objectives
* To promote high standards of design, construction and workmanship for sports facilities in the UK.
* To regulate the industry through the vetting of SAPCA members.
* To participate fully in the development of British, European and other standards for the construction and performance of sports facilities, for all levels of play.
* To liaise closely with the governing bodies of sport, both nationally and internationally.
* To encourage the use of new technology in the design and construction of sports facilities.
* To provide and support training and education for the industry’s workforce.
* To provide a strong voice for the sports construction industry in the UK.

Specialist members of SAPCA involved in lighting design, electrical installation and sports project management have developed the Code of Practice. It has been overseen by Sport England and NICEIC, the electrical Industries independent, non profit-making, regulatory body.

SAPCA recognises that sports lighting is a substantial financial investment. It is, therefore, essential that we identify the benefits such an investment is designed to produce, such as:
* Extending playing hours (which can increase club revenue and membership).
* Making more use of an existing facility as an alternative to building another.
* Providing a safe(r) environment for coaching.
* Increasing participation numbers and developing social inclusion.
* Qualifying for entry to a “lit league” competition.

Code of Practice
The Code of Practice provides practical advice for anyone undertaking a lighting project and answers key questions to consider, such as: -
* Decide on the type of lighting required - The type for lighting will be different for each sport as there are major differences in the visual tasks involved between various games – factors such as ball speed, ball size and viewing distance will all play a part in determining the appropriate lighting.

Choosing the type of lighting is a complex decision and professional advice is required. A good starting place would be to contact SAPCA, whose lighting members will have this expertise and experience.
* Decide on how much light is required – recommended lighting levels are identified using the current European standards or those of the governing body of the sport.
* Consider the planning and environmental issues – ensure the company you choose complies with the latest obtrusive light limitations and uses low light pollution equipment.
* Develop a comprehensive design brief – consider what sports will be played on the facility and any preferences in scheme layout (i.e. corner columns, side lit; any environmental or planning issues; power supply restrictions.)
* Decide what type of company to use – it is vital they work to BS 7671 and can demonstrate quality of workmanship. SAPCA members who carry out design, installation, testing and electrical installation work are all members of NICEIC.
* Consider any warranty offered – SAPCA members, offer a written warranty covering a 12-month period from project handover.
* Decide about on-going maintenance needs from the outset – invite contractors to offer a solution that includes future maintenance – cleaning, repairing, re-lamping, system checking and certification – of the lighting installation in question.
* How do you access your lighting for cleaning? – Do you use raising and lowering masts or have you good hard standing for specialist access equipment.
* Consider funding – establish the predicted costs of the project and make sure this includes the fees associated with the project development (e.g. power supply provision and planning application fees.)
* Review running costs – these can be substantial and should be considered as part of the design process.

The Code of Practice, which is available free of charge from SAPCA’s website, is accompanied by guidance notes, which offer information on the following topics in greater depth:
* Power supply
* Lighting masts
* Floodlights and lamps
* The planning and tendering process
* Light control and obtrusive light containment

SAPCA’s membership includes the leading installers of outdoor sports lighting. All SAPCA members are checked for financial stability and their work is randomly inspected to ensure standards are maintained. These rigorous requirements ensure all members are working to the very highest standards. For this reason, SAPCA would urge the sports and play industry to only use suppliers and contractors that are approved members.

The association aims to continue improving the quality of sport and play infrastructure across the UK and has produced many technical publications, guidance and codes of practice.

For more information please visit or call 024 7641 6316.

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