SSL at the Forefront of Non-League 3G Stadia Pitches

SSL were proud to be engaged by Sevenoaks Town FC of the Isthmian League to oversee the design, planning and delivery of their 3G stadia pitch.

As independent synthetic pitch consultants, SSL have extensive experience of non-league stadia conversions. We are able to guide football clubs and their committees through the numerous key stages that need to be considered when converting a natural turf stadia pitch to 3G. 

In recent years, many non-league football clubs in the UK have opted to convert to 3G in order to adopt a more sustainable model, and to protect their long term future.

A high quality 3G synthetic turf, when correctly installed and appropriately maintained, can certainly provide for a more intensively used facility. This in turn allows that facility to be opened up to benefit the local community.

As most non-league stadiums already have associated infrastructure in place (car park, changing rooms, welfare facilities, clubhouse/bar, floodlighting etc), the addition of a 3G pitch can help to club become the focus of the community.

Hear about Sevenoak Town’s experiences by viewing the video…..

Grammar School see SSL guidance as ‘invaluable’

SSL were pleased to provide consultancy services to help deliver a new football and rugby compliant 3G pitch for Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury.

Established in 1881, the school (also simply known as ‘The Langton’) is a foundation grammar school for boys and mixed sixth form catering for 11 to 18 year olds.

As well as providing design services, the SSL team were also on hand to carry out quality control checks at each key stage of the pitch build, providing sectional sign offs to give the school and project funders reassurance that the build was to specification and to a high quality.

And we are delighted to receive positive feedback from Darren Watson, Deputy Headteacher;

“Surfacing Standards were the consultants I used to help build our 3G pitch.  Their help, guidance and vision was invaluable and helped me realise exactly what was in my head; in fact, the finished pitch was better than I imagined.  They helped design the build, monitored progress and advised what was possible.  Personally, I would not take on a project like this without consulting a company like Surfacing Standards. I cannot recommend the (SSL) team highly enough.” 

Basingstoke Hockey Club Praise Excellent SSL service

With extensive experience designing and delivering hockey pitches, SSL were appointed by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council as their project consultants for a new floodlit sand dressed pitch at Down Grange Sports Complex.

A new hockey pitch is a major investment. There are very few club-owned hockey pitches in the UK and as part of the project development process, SSL believe it’s important to have a consultation process with the hockey club/clubs who will be using the facility.

And we are thrilled to receive glowing feedback from Basingstoke HC President Miranda Smith who commented;

“The service provided by SSL was excellent. As end users, we were delighted that SSL met with us to discuss all aspects of the build to ensure it met requirements of the hockey club. If any questions arose or any slight alterations requested, SSL were happy to talk through the technical aspects of what would work best. I was given a copy of the SSL’s technical specification which was excellent and really useful when answering the many questions from club members. I would definitely recommend SSL to anyone considering a hockey pitch project.”

The experienced SSL team worked with both the council and Hockey Club to develop a new facility that met their requirements, and ensured International Hockey Federation design guidance was considered throughout. SSL produced a contract specification and a tender process was carried out with numerous approved contractors submitting formal bids.

Using our extensive in-house expertise in planning application requirements, the SSL team worked to discharge all planning conditions to ensure the project could commence onsite.

The SSL team were then on hand to oversee the build process, finalising the formal contract documentation between council and contractor, chairing progress meetings and carrying out quality control checks at each key stage. Prior to handover SSL completed a comprehensive snagging survey before issuing project sign off.

We’re delighted the knowledge and experience of the SSL team was able to benefit both the council as client, but also the hockey club as key end user.

SSL Invest in Design Capabilities

At SSL we strongly believe that we provide the very best independent facility designs in the industry. Our design processes encapsulate every aspect of a facility including earthworks, drainage, base design, surface system design, perimeter fencing, floodlighting and all associated peripherals such as sports equipment, facility access and maintenance considerations.

And as part of our commitment to delivering the very best service, SSL recently invested in state-of-the-art drainage design and modelling software. The new software enables a proposed drainage system to be hydraulically analysed which ensures that the proposed drainage system, whether SuDS or a combination of traditional and SuDS, achieves the necessary design parameters.

The software can be used in conjunction with SSL’s existing volumetrics system, used widely by civil engineers for earthworks calculations.

SSL’s Managing Director Steve Wilcockson commented; “We recognise that our design solutions must provide value for money and the investment we have made will ensure we have greater control of the design process. Having this capability in-house will ensure that SSL are extremely efficient in being able to make adjustments to the earthworks and/or drainage system design. The SSL team submit a large number of planning applications each year and ensuring we are able to demonstrate an effective well designed drainage system is often a key requirement with planners.”

The new software will ensure that SSL continue to deliver considerate and well planned sports facilities to the very highest quality.

Hockey for Heroes Partnership Announcement

SSL are delighted to announce an exciting partnership with Hockey for Heroes.

Hockey for Heroes raise vital funds for Help for Heroes, a charity providing support for men and women that leave the Armed Forces as a result of physical or psychological wounds.

SSL Managing Director Steve Wilcockson explains, “The Hockey for Heroes team work tirelessly to raise funds to help wounded veterans to get on with their lives. As a former member of the armed forces I can appreciate what an incredibly important role they provide, not only for ex-military personnel, but also for their families and friends. At SSL we have strong links within hockey with approximately 1 in 10 of the hockey pitches in England certified by the FIH having benefitted from our independent consultancy services. The hockey club network needs access to better quality facilities and we look forward to providing our support to the Hockey for Heroes community”

Hockey for Heroes have been active since 2012 and use the sport of hockey to drive their fundraising. Joel Forrester, Managing Director commented “Hockey For Heroes are honoured to be officially partnering with Surfacing Standards, who are market leads in consultancy related synthetic pitch projects across the United Kingdom. We have experienced first hand the work of Surfacing Standards and have spoken with many of their clients. The feedback has always been exquisite, therefore It is our pleasure to support the Hockey community, by promoting the work of Surfacing Standards Ltd and introducing friends where possible.”

SSL specialise in synthetic turf pitches and provide a range of consultancy services from pitch advice & survey works, design drawings, planning applications, project specification and overall project management. As a fully independent consultant, SSL work to International Hockey Federation (FIH) requirements. In addition to new build facilities, SSL have extensive knowledge of pitch resurfacing – our acclaimed Pitch Condition Survey service has provided a vital resource for a large number of clubs/facility operators helping to plan and develop pitch refurbishment projects.

To learn more about Hockey for Heroes and hear the various ways that you can get involved and provide support, visit https://hockeyforheroes.co.uk/

Covid-19 Statement Update

At SSL Health and Safety is our primary consideration. The continued well being of our staff, clients and members of the public is taken very seriously. Following a detailed operational review by Company Directors, together with our Health and Safety Consultant, we confirm as follows;

The vast majority of our services (such as feasibility studies, design work, planning applications, construction specification, project tendering) are desktop based and measures have been taken to ensure SSL continue to provide these services during the current situation.

In terms of services that are not desktop based, SSL continue to carry out site surveys/visits where needed. Where on-site survey work is not required, ‘face to face’ meetings will be accommodated using Zoom/ Microsoft Teams or other video conferencing platforms.

The scope of works that our site surveys normally encompass is possible in accordance with current Government guidelines. Prior to the day of any site visit, an assessment would be taken on a site-by-site basis to ensure this.

On the day of the site visit, our procedures involve making a telephone call to a designated site contact to let them know when we arrive so the facility can be unlocked as required. Another telephone call is then made when we leave site. Appropriate PPE would be worn. We are fully self sufficient in terms of not requiring any services to be able to carry out our site survey/site visits.

Our site survey work is entirely outdoor based and normally involves only one SSL surveyor. On the few occasions that two SSL surveyors are required, social distancing will be followed and our surveyors travel to and from site in separate vehicles.

SSL will continue to monitor the evolving situation on a day-by-day basis and ensure that Government guidelines are adhered to in these exceptional times.

Happy New Year!

As we commence the new decade, the SSL team would like to say a big thank you to all of our clients.

Over the last year the SSL team has developed and delivered a wide variety of high quality sports facilities to further emphasise our position as one of the most respected consultancy practices in the industry.

Over recent months the team have also been working hard on some very exciting new company developments which we look forward to announcing shortly.

Happy New Year to all our past and present clients and here’s to delivering more first-rate facilities in 2020!

Glowing Feedback for Bolton Pitch Refurbishment

Great feedback from another happy SSL client following the refurbishment of the synthetic pitch at Canon Slade School in Bolton!

The synthetic pitch, now in it’s 20th year since being constructed, is now benefitting from a complete refurbishment. Since re-opening the pitch has been used as a training base for Bolton Hockey Club as well as hosting a club initiative to get adults to learn to play hockey.

SSL were initially engaged by a key local funder of the project, who saw the value of engaging with a specialist consultant at an early stage. SSL carried out an extensive survey of the old synthetic pitch and provided the school with independent advice and options, including outline costings, of how the facility could be refurbished.

Following the tender process, administered by SSL, the construction phase commenced on 18th March. The old short pile synthetic turf and prefabricated shockpad was removed, some minor repair works carried out the pitch base, before a brand new insitu rubber shockpad and sand dressed synthetic turf was installed. To help protect the investment, drainage improvement works were also carried out given the facility had suffered from water ingress from an adjacent grassed bank for several years.

18th March 2019 – Works About to Commence

Following various quality control checks carried out by SSL throughout the works, with regular reports provided to the school, on 26th April the revamped facility was handed over for the school to use. With the works being deliberately programmed to coincide with the Easter Holidays, that ensured the pitch was only out of action for 20 school days, meaning minimal disruption to the school’s PE timetable and external community users.

26th April 2010 – Completed Refurbishment

Rachel Costello, Head of PE commented “The new surface is brighter and the two tone colour to distinguish the areas is a great idea for both staff and pupils. The work on laying the new surface was completed to a high standard and the new surface and shockpad is of excellent quality. Currently, the pitch is occupied 86% of available time by football and hockey clubs. We are really pleased with how efficient the team was in completing the project.”

Bespoke Synthetic Pitch for Withington Girls’ School

SSL are delighted to formally handover the reconstructed external sports facilities at Withington Girls’ School.

The project involved reconstruction of the school’s synthetic pitch which has also been performance tested as part of the FIH Quality Programme for Hockey Facilities. As part of the design, SSL incorporated customised team shelters and school logo’s within the synthetic pitch surrounds. This has created a bespoke facility that has immediately impressed both school staff and pupils alike.

Customised team shelters

The independent school, based in Manchester, selected SSL as project consultant to provide independent advice on options to refurbish the 20 year old synthetic turf pitch and upgrade the tarmac tennis courts. SSL’s consultants carried out feasibility work and provided outline cost options, all supported by extensive survey work of the old synthetic pitch.

Having provided an evaluation to the school on the different options available, SSL then developed a detailed schedule of works before administering a formal tender process on the school’s behalf.

After a final survey of the works, one of several carried out by SSL throughout the project, SSL confirmed that practical completion had been achieved and the facilities could be handed over to the school to put into use.

The project marks another successful sports facility project delivered by SSL within the UK independent school sector.

SSL Achieve Quality Accreditation

SSL are delighted to have achieved a prestigious quality accreditation

ISO 9001:2015 is an internationally recognised benchmark that specifies requirements for an effective quality management system within an organisation. 

Following an independent assessment, our range of consultancy services consistently exceeded both client and statutory requirements and this accreditation provides recognition of this fact.

At SSL we regularly receive excellent feedback from our clients. To achieve this positive feedback, and continue to ensure the service we provide rises above client expectation, involves a great deal of work from the SSL team.

The ISO 9001:2015 accreditation is a reflection of the excellent quality procedures in place at SSL.