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Setting the standards

Mark Oakley, chair of SAPCA's Technical Committee

Published in Sports Management 2020 issue 1
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Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley

SAPCA’s Technical Committee held its first meeting of the year in January to identify, plan and prioritise the association's main areas of focus for the year ahead. At the centre of SAPCA's work is the Technical Programme, which includes the development of new standards and the creation of technical guidance for all those involved in the delivery of sports and play facility projects.

SAPCA’s Technical Committee draws on the knowledge and experience across the industry and has a significant input through BSI ( British Standards Institution) into the development of British/European Standards for sports surfaces and equipment.

Detailed work is currently taking place to finalise an update to the BS EN for indoor sports floors and to create a new standard for synthetic turf surfaces used indoors. Last year saw a new standard created for football goals and since then the industry has been working hard to redesign and test goals to demonstrate compliance with the new standard.

Over recent years there has been growing interest in the environmental aspects of sports and play facilities. Much of the focus has been on the use of recycled rubber and the impact of microplastics. SAPCA launched its Quality Control Protocol for Sports Performance Infill in 2019, which provides a robust framework of obligations which suppliers and installers need to follow to demonstrate compliance with current legislation and regulatory requirements. The industry is also working closely with other bodies to promote new design guidance to mitigate the loss of infill from sports pitches, and to encourage best practice in the effective maintenance of sports surfaces.

A significant area of work within the Technical Programme is the ongoing development of new and updated SAPCA Codes of Practice for the industry. As well as setting out important standards for the design, construction and maintenance of various types of sports facility, the Codes of Practice provide valuable, impartial guidance for all those involved in sports and play projects, helping clients across the marketplace to make better choices and derive value for money for their investment.

Next to be published, by the end of February, will be the new Code of Practice for the Design and Specification of Sub-bases for Synthetic Sports Areas, to be followed by new guidance on the design of multi-use games areas. During 2020 working groups will be actively working on guidance for sports lighting and sports fencing, with updates to the Codes of Practice for synthetic pitches and athletics tracks.

Details of all the latest technical guidance is freely available on the SAPCA website www.sapca.org.uk

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