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Building your project

Sports Management is running a series of four articles, in partnership with SAPCA, to outline the steps you need to take to ensure a successful facility project. In this, the fourth and final part, we look at the building phase

Published in Sports Management 2019 issue 4
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You should always appoint a contractor that has delivered similar projects in the past
You should always appoint a contractor that has delivered similar projects in the past

We’ve now reached the stage where you’ve secured the financial support for your facility and you’ve completed the detailed designs for it. You are finally ready for perhaps the most exciting phase – the building stage and the construction of your new facility.

BUILDING ON EXPERIENCE
The key to any successful construction project is to ensure the company (or companies) involved in the works are capable of undertaking the job to your requirements – and in line with the project specification. You should, therefore, appoint a contractor that has experience in delivering projects like yours.

When considering potential contractors, it is important to remember that companies specialising in large-scale facility projects – such as a full-size football pitch – do not necessarily have the expertise needed for smaller projects, like a tennis court.

The reverse is also true. Those with a proven track record of constructing smaller, community and club facilities might lack the resources for larger projects. For example, you might have a trusted partner who has helped you with smaller projects – but they might not be the right company for your “once in a generation” larger one.

In any case, working with companies which have sports facility and pitch construction expertise is crucial. It is equally important that you choose a company which has experience in completing projects for the sport or activity your facility will be used for. To ensure your principal contractor has all the skills required, you can use the “find a member” service on the SAPCA website (sapca.org.uk/members).

KEEPING TRACK
In addition to appointing a company with the relevant experience and knowledge, it is important to ensure you have an agreed project programme with explicit timescales and terms of payment. Work with your chosen contractor to agree a clear schedule and make sure you understand how the planned programme might have to be altered. For an example, bad weather can sometimes impact on the delivery of the project.

Clear and effective communication between you and your contractor is vitally important. Make sure you agree and record instructions and variations and take time to keep a project diary, including photographs. Each project will be managed slightly differently – depending on the size, complexity and value of the works – but that should not stop you from seeking regular project updates.

Along with the day-to-day management of the project, inspections and monitoring during the process should ensure the facility will meet your expectations and the project specification. If the base of the pitch has not been built to appropriate standards, for example, the pitch’s lifespan could be negatively affected – leading to issues in the future.

To assist you in the process of managing your project, you can reach out to SAPCA and its Professional Services Group, whose membership includes specialist project managers, architects, test houses and laboratories that specialise in overseeing construction projects – along with the comprehensive testing of facilities both during and on completion of projects.

MEETING THE STANDARDS
Be also sure not to underestimate the importance of project completion and handover. This is the point at which you should inspect the works carefully and highlight any concerns to your contractor. For larger projects, such as the construction of football, rugby or hockey pitches, performance tests will be required to ensure compliance with the relevant national governing body (NGB) or the relevant SAPCA Code of Practice.

Linked to the testing of a pitch on completion of the project, the FA manages a synthetic pitch register for all approved pitches. For a synthetic turf pitch to be added on to register, it needs to be tested to ensure that the pitch meets the relevant standard. If it fails the testing assessment, the facility won’t be added to the register and will not be allowed to host any FA-affiliated games.

HOW CAN SAPCA HELP?
To help ensure a project’s success, you can use the member search function to find qualified, experienced and local contractors who have the expertise to take on your project. SAPCA has also brought together a collection of case studies covering a wide variety of projects, so you learn more about the challenges faced by similar organisations and gain confidence in your own project. l

For more information, visit: sapca.org.uk

Steps to take at the building stage

1. Browse our verified members to find a construction partner

2. Find inspiration and gain confidence from similar organisations from our case studies

3. Discover our guides, including SAPCA’s codes-of-practice for construction and installation of various facilities or surfaces

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