Though most fabric and services systems and products can be used in facilities of all types, some are specific to a particular facility. So where does a specifier go for neutral authoritative technical information on systems and products pertaining to sports facilities? John Gelder, NBS Content development manager, provides a starter for ten.

NBS covers general purpose systems and products pretty thoroughly, but cannot cover facility-specific systems and products to the same extent, though it does make an effort. For sports facilities, for example, NBS offers the following work sections: Swimming pool water treatment systems, Swimming pool timing and scoring systems, Special surfacings/pavings for sport/general amenity, and Play and sports equipment.

Where else can the specifier go? There is a wealth of information out there. Here we concentrate on playing surfaces, spectator seating, lighting and fixed equipment.

General sports organisations

Sport England externallink is a good place to start. It publishes Design Guidance Notes for general and individual sports. For indoor surfaces, Sport England publishes Floors for indoor sports externallink.

For outdoor surfaces, the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA, with Sport England) externallink publishes the three-part Guide to the design, specification and construction of multi-use games areas (MUGAs) including multi-sport synthetic turf pitches (STPs) externallink. Synthetic surfaces seem to be of very wide interest. SAPCA also offers a raft of publications dealing with synthetic sports surfaces, including Codes of practice for: Installation and maintenance of wet-pour safer surfacing for playgrounds externallink, Maintenance of synthetic turf sports surfaces externallink, Construction and maintenance of tennis courts externallink (with the Lawn Tennis Association externallink – LTA), and Construction and maintenance of athletics tracks with synthetic surfaces externallink. For natural turf, Sport England publishes Natural turf for sport externallink. The Fields in Trust's externallink Sports turf externallinkmust be good, at £95!

On lighting, Fields in Trust publishes Floodlighting of outdoor sports facilities externallink, and SAPCA publishes Tennis floodlighting: Effective system management externallink.

Guide documents dealing with fixed equipment include SAPCA's Code of practice for the construction and maintenance of fencing systems for sports facilities externallink.

Individual sports organisations

The Sport England website includes links to individual sports organisations, many of which publish technical material that will be useful to specifiers.

On artificial turf, again, the Football Association externallink now uses FIFA's 2009 Quality concept for football turf externallink and the technically-equivalent International artificial turf standard externallink. FA guides to artificial pitches should soon be available on line. For rugby, see the International Rugby Board's (IRB) Regulation 22: Performance specification for artificial surfaces for rugby externallink.

The International Tennis Federation externallink has published its Approved tennis balls and classified court surfaces externallink (2010), linked to a proprietary List of classified court surfaces. LTA Fact Sheets include Porous macadam courts externallink, Grass courts externallink and Impervious acrylic externallink.

Rules for individual sports often address the playing surface. For example IRB Law 1.1(b) states: "Type of surface. The surface should be grass but may also be sand, clay, snow or artificial grass. The game may be played on snow, provided the snow and underlying surface are safe to play on. It shall not be a permanently hard surface such as concrete or asphalt. In the case of artificial grass surfaces, they must conform to IRB Regulation 22". For athletics, the International Association of Athletics Federations' externallink Competition rules 2010-2011 contain a number of relevant technical requirements, such as: "The inside of the track shall be bordered by a kerb of suitable material, approximately 5cm in height and minimum 5cm in width and it should be coloured white". The Badminton World Federation's  externallink Statutes (III-1B-Appendix 2) Specifications for international standard facilities externallink stipulate flooring, overhead clearance, lighting and so on.

Examples for lighting include the LTA Fact Sheet Floodlighting outdoor tennis courts, and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) 2007 Guide to the artificial lighting of hockey pitches.

For fixed equipment and the like, see LTA Fact Sheets, including Indoor tennis structures externallink, Tennis courts building brief externallink, Practice walls externallink, Framed fabric structures externallink, and Air supported structures externallink (aka airhalls). The Football Licensing Authority externallink and the Football Foundation externallinkpublish relevant material. The FIH Rules of indoor hockey externallink include pitch and equipment specifications. See also the FIH 2008 Indoor hockey facilities handbook externallink.

Standards organisations

Where would specifiers be without standards? For indoor sports surfaces, a central BSI externallinkstandard is BS EN 14904:2006 Surfaces for sports areas. Indoor surfaces for multi-sports use. Specification. Under the parent title Surfaces for sports areas are standards specific to particular surfaces, such as BS EN 15330-1:2007 for synthetic turf, and to particular attributes, such as BS EN 14835:2006, on slip resistance. Confusingly, though they share the title, they don't share the code. Another central standard, for outdoor surfaces, is BS EN 14877:2006 Synthetic surfaces for outdoor sports areas. Specification. Again, there are related standards with the same parent title (Synthetic surfaces for outdoor sports areas), but different codes.

The principal standard for spectator seating is BS EN 13200 Spectator facilities (various parts), which covers layout criteria for the spectator viewing area and the service area, separating elements, seats, telescopic stands, and demountable (temporary) stands.

The basic general standard on the topic of sports lighting is BS EN 12193:2007 Light and lighting. Sports lighting. However, CIE externallink (International Commission on Illumination) produces some sports-specific standards, including:

  • CIE 45-1979 Lighting for ice sports
  • CIE 58-1983 Lighting for sports halls
  • CIE 67-1986 Guide for the photometric specification and measurement of sports lighting installations
  • CIE 83-1989 Guide for the lighting of sports events for colour television and film systems
  • CIE 112-1994 Glare evaluation system for use within outdoor sports and area lighting.

Though there are many standards dealing with loose equipment, few deal with fixed equipment. One such is BS EN 13451 Swimming pool equipment (various parts), which covers ladders, stepladders and handle bends, pool fittings for water treatment purposes, starting platforms, lane lines, turning boards, water polo goals, leisure water features, diving platforms, diving springboards and associated equipment, and moveable pool floors and moveable bulkheads. Another is BS EN 1176:2008 Playground equipment and surfacing (various parts), which covers design, installation, inspection, operation and maintenance of cableways, enclosed play equipment, swings, slides, carousels, and rocking equipment. BS EN 1177:2008, on fall heights to impact-attenuating playground surfacing, is also of interest.

Technical information organisations

Finally, a number of organisations offering technical guidance to the construction sector publish some material dealing with sports facilities. For example, on spectator seating there are BRE Information Papers IP 4/00 and 5/00, which deal with the dynamic response of retractable externallink and permanent externallink cantilever grandstands, IStructE's 2001 Dynamic performance requirements for permanent grandstands subject to crowd action externallink, and the DOE's Interim guidance note on temporary grandstands (1994). A handy overview of sports lighting is provided is provided by Abacus at externallink. Another useful document is the Society of Light and Lighting's externallinkLG4:2006 Sports lighting externallink.

Though one can contact these information providers individually, many of them make their material available on Construction Information Service, a joint IHS/ RIBA Enterprises product which is linked to from within the NBS. Other relevant publishers represented on The Construction Information Service include DfES, PWTAG, Architectural Press, FSADC, BRECSU, Sports Council for Wales, and the Scottish Sports Council.