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SAPCA update: Surfacing essentials

SAPCA CEO Chris Trickey looks at what goes into a resurfacing project and how to ensure you get the best value for money

by Chris Trickey, SAPCA | Published in Sports Management Jul Aug 2017 issue 132
For a small club, resurfacing the courts represents a major investment
For a small club, resurfacing the courts represents a major investment

Having worked in sports facility development for 30 years, I’ve spent a lot of time helping clubs with their projects. It’s always very rewarding to see schemes come to fruition, though it’s mostly from an arm’s length involvement.

Earlier this year the netball club where my daughter plays embarked on a project to resurface its two macadam courts. Lending a hand to the club committee offered me a great opportunity to observe the project from start to finish – and this time from a client’s point of view. It reminded me of some of the most important ingredients required to make a project successful.

In the overall scheme of things, the resurfacing of two existing macadam courts, with a budget of under £30,000, may not seem like a very big project. For a small club, however, it represents a major investment. It’s important that the money is spent carefully to produce a facility that will last the next decade.

Whether large or small, every project needs to follow a number of key steps. Choosing the right surface is critical to ensure the desired playing characteristics for the needs of the club.

Then there’s agreeing the right specification. There are always important choices to be made, and it’s vital to ensure, through good communication with the contractor, that it’s fully understood what will (and will not) be included. In resurfacing a block of macadam courts, there are options to consider, such as how to upgrade the edgings and haunchings, the choice of fencing and gates, as well as the type of goalposts and post protectors. Each decision has a cost implication, but it’s important to decide, with the budget available, what represents best value for money.

When selecting a contractor, there are no prizes for guessing that I would recommend a SAPCA member! Seeing the work taking place at my daughter’s club – especially the great skill and experience needed in laying the macadam – underlined to me the very specialist nature of sports surface construction. Taking the time to inspect similar work by any contractor under consideration is always time well spent.

When the project is finished and the players take to the court, their assessment of the work will be based not only on the performance of the surface, but also on the look and feel of the upgraded facility. Clubs are always in competition for members and other users, and people will always be attracted to the best facilities in their area.

Getting a project right doesn’t have to be difficult, but it’s important to take the necessary time and care, with appropriate technical guidance, and an attention to detail, to make the right choices.

Chris Trickey is the CEO of SAPCA, the trade association representing businesses committed to raising the quality standards of all sports, physical activity, recreation and play facilities in the UK.

SAPCA appoints Andy Reed as first independent chair

Andy Reed
Andy Reed

SAPCA has appointed sports policy expert and former Labour MP Andy Reed as its new chair.

Reed takes over the role from outgoing chair Eric Page, who has held the position for the past six years.

First elected to parliament in 1997, Reed spent 13 years as an MP. During his political career, he was involved in some of the most high-profile sports projects in the history of British sport – including the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium and the bid to secure the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Reed, who will become SAPCA’s first independent chair, said his primary objective will be to strengthen the role SAPCA plays in the government’s plans to get people more physically active.

“Building on the fantastic work Eric has done over the past six years, I want to widen the understanding – among the government and policy makers – of the role SAPCA can play in building an active nation,” Reed said.

“I want to ensure SAPCA remains part of the strategy and that the government understands that the association and its members have a valuable contribution to make.”

“I also want to drive the quality of the membership offer, so that people feel it’s an organisation worth valuing.

Reed’s appointment coincides with SAPCA’s 20th anniversary. According to Chris Trickey, SAPCA chief executive, the timing – while coincidental – is very appropriate as the association is “refocusing and reinvigorating” its activities and operations.

"I want to widen the understanding of the role SAPCA can play in building an active nation" - Andy Reed

SAPCA to publish new athletics code of practice

SAPCA will launch a new, updated code of practice for the design and build of athletics tracks this year.

Produced in partnership with national governing body UK Athletics (UKA), the SAPCA Code of Practice for the Construction and Refurbishment of Athletics Track and Field Facilities will provide guidance to anyone looking to construct new – or refurbish existing – athletics tracks.

Primarily aimed at architects, engineers, local authorities and clubs, the code will outline the current requirements, specifications and UKA standards laid out for athletics facilities in the UK.

There is also advice on the maintenance of tracks, to help operators prolong the life of the facilities once they’re completed.

SAPCA chief executive Chris Trickey said: “The code of practice is designed to help create well-designed, sustainable community athletics tracks.

“The updated code offers guidance on everything from surfaces to accessibility, and also acts as a checklist to ensure UK Athletics requirements are being met, both during the construction process and when the facility opens.”

The new code outlines current requirements and standards / © shutterstock/ Pete Niesen
The new code outlines current requirements and standards / © shutterstock/ Pete Niesen
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