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New Sports Clubhouse – How to Design and Build One (Part 2)

‘’What shall we include?……….’’

You will by now have read part one, and hopefully implemented, the first stages of galvanising a smooth and efficient process for delivering a new sports facility – now you simply need to agree and design its contents. Should be easy really…….shouldn’t it?

For the most part the need for a new facility has been generated by a need to grow and provide greater levels of accommodation than that previously enjoyed by the club. However in order to reinstate the existing provisions – say 4 changing rooms and ancillary facilities – may infact need to occupy a physical footprint greatly in excess of the existing building…….and thus not really yield any growth at all, but why?

In order to secure finance from public funds or sports governing bodies a new facility will need to abide by their current guidelines and restrictions – and even if not using funding from these sources their design guidance is often best practice advise and worthy of following.

These guidelines as has been noted above may lead to similar provisions needing greater space, as for instance a new facility will need to cater for increased / and easier security for its youth and child members where by the WC  and washing accommodation may need to be included within each individual changing room, rather than communally as may have been the case with the existing building, and as such you find you now need 4 changing rooms with 4 dedicated shower areas – but this allows for closer and easier supervision of more vulnerable users.

Even for the senior members the space allowed for within each changing room may be greater than that presently afforded – these are often laid down both in terms of bench space per player as well as square meterage of free area in the changing room, the RFU currently require 1sqm per player thus meaning a free area of up to 22sqm not including benches or showering area etc – I would wager there are not many facilities currently in use that can provide such palatial surroundings.

It may also be that the club wishes or has been approached to provide a female team where previously only male teams had been fielded in the past. The inclusion of this increase in players will also effect the way the building can be planned so as to allow privacy from other opposing sex teams. This may simply be a matter of adding dividing doors to a corridor, but may also require additional entry and exists to the building – without compromising any issues of fire safety or security.

But the focus of any sports club is not solely aimed at the playing side itself – many pride themselves on the social side of membership being of equal importance. So we need a function room and bar!

Well by definition these are not often small discreet spaces but can add dramatically to the success and indeed viability of a new building – perhaps this could be housed above the changing areas?, a course often taken and one which can often yield better views of the sport in question – but can pose serious questions as to acceptability from the Local Authority, building too tall sorry! But it is these requirements that need to be negotiated by the Architect with the Local Authority in question, perhaps a compromise could be reached or perhaps a redesigned roof could allow sufficient space.

For the above reasons it is vital that the design of the proposed building is well considered so as to minimise any wasted space – the building will grow by the restrictions paced upon it in any event so waste cannot often be accepted from either financial or local planning reasons.

As these matters are further developed and investigated the successful formation of a Steering Committee shows it true value – being able to successfully act as the link between design team and membership to ensure the developed design is successful to users, authorities, governing bodies, building control and designers alike.

For further details or if you simply wish to discuss how you may move your own sports club forward with a development plan regardless of where you are in the UK please feel free to contact Stuart Ware at Studio 2.