4 Factors to Consider for When Planning for Sports Field Construction

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Construction of a sports field is a major undertaking; it must be approached following years of planning, preparation and budgeting to ensure actual construction goes smoothly and that all scenarios are considered and provided for. There are significant cost implications, not only at the point of land acquisition and actual construction but also for ongoing maintenance. The following are the most important budgetary allocations that should be made for a successful project:

1. Land acquisition

Unless construction ground was already set aside for that purpose, you'll need to approach multiple landowners to get the size of land you need. The decision on how much land you need should be made as early as possible—up to several years before actual construction. This allows you time to amass the necessary funds and also gives room for planning and negotiation with the landowners. Bear in mind that depending on where you are, expansion at a later stage may not be possible, and so you must provide for all the land you need in the short and long term.

2. Field use

The particular use of the field will determine the construction and maintenance program that should be budgeted for. If you're constructing a recreational field for use in minor tournaments over the weekend, the additional expense to install a sand-base field, for instance, would be unjustifiable. If you want to use the field in the evenings, then you must account for lighting installations, drainage and irrigation and modified root zones to facilitate night play.

3. Maintenance programs

How well the field serves depends on what you do to keep it operational. One mistake commonly made in the planning stages is forgetting to account for field maintenance. Sand-base fields with irrigation and lighting demand more maintenance than topsoil fields used only in the daytime. It would be a big mistake to install features you cannot afford to maintain once the field is in use.

4. Workmanship

A construction job of this magnitude will probably need to be tendered publicly or you will use a developer. Using the developer is a better idea since they have the qualifications to assess bidders based on the requirements of your specific field. There should be a pre-qualification stage wherein bidders' expertise and experience are assessed. At this stage, the subcontractors handling such features as lighting and electrical work, drainage and irrigation may be assessed. An experienced agronomist should be brought in for comprehensive soil analysis to ensure high-quality in-ground installations.

Bonus tip: service and grade simultaneously

You can considerably lower cost of construction by merging your pre-servicing and grading processes. This eliminates the costs of hiring and bringing in the equipment a second time. At the time of subdivision of the field, you can use the same equipment to grade the subdivision in preparation for the next stage. Plan to have all construction activities occurring simultaneously in all subdivisions for easier planning and coordination as well as significant cost savings in labour and time.