Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre Re-vamped

Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre (known locally as ‘the ‘BRIC’) is an indoor synthetic turf facility which first opened in the 1990s. The facility has recently undergone a comprehensive re-vamp and SSL, as the appointed sports pitch consultant, are proud of the end result.

SSL were engaged by facility operator the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust. The Trust, a registered charity, provide a vital resource to the local community with a programme of grassroots football and activities. 

Following our appointment, SSL conducted a feasibility study review of the old facility. Proposals for redevelopment were drawn up and agreed before SSL carried out a tender process where several specialist contractors were invited to submit priced tender bids for the works. 

The finished facility represents the culmination of various key design enhancements. The synthetic turf footprint has been reconfigured to introduce a spectator viewing corridor. In keeping with Blackburn Rovers club colours, blue coloured rebound boards and white coloured roof netting have been installed. The old roof lamps have been replaced with energy efficient LED lamps providing increased luminance levels in accordance with industry guidelines. The new surface system is a true ‘4G’ synthetic turf without any requirement for any loose infill material. Electric powered maintenance machinery was sourced to negate any risk of petrol fume inhalation given the enclosed indoor environment. The facility even includes a compliant sized walking football pitch.

SSL are certain that the impressive new facility will prove to be a key asset to help the Trust continue their excellent work for the local community.

The old facility

SSL Deliver ‘Huge Asset’ for Bowland High

After numerous years seeking to develop a synthetic turf pitch, Bowland High School turned to Surfacing Standards Limited to help turn their vision into reality.

Located in the picturesque Forest of Bowland, the school was previously unable to provide sufficient physical education for many weeks of the year due to the playing fields suffering from excessive ponding during wet weather, coupled with a large area of the school land being uneven and steeply sloping meaning usage for any safe sporting purposes was simply not possible.

SSL carried out a review of the overall site and possible locations and sizes of synthetic turf pitch that could be accommodated, together with providing advice on surface types and their associated usages. A design was produced taking into account a variety of considerations, not least the fact that the development had to be considerate to blend in with the surrounding Lancashire countryside. A careful site levelling proposal, culvert diversion including new pathway bridge, wildflower planting, hedgerow restoration and other ecological enhancement measures all formed part of the SSL design which secured planning permission for the development.

The value of having the correct support team in place is certainly well appreciated by the school as Operations Manager Helen Dakin explained;

“The development of a synthetic pitch represents a significant investment and it was vital to have the best project team in place. With our school having no previous experience of developing this type of facility we appointed SSL, a specialist sports pitch consultant. SSL acted as project lead, with consultant John Bennett guiding the project from initial concept, through design, planning, procurement and project management of the construction phase itself. Being located within an AONB and on a site that suffered from significant drainage issues, the project was not without its hurdles to overcome. SSL provided a calm, concise and very experienced approach to navigating those issues”.

The end result is incredible, a huge asset to the school and users have commented on the high quality of our 3G pitch in comparison to others they have played on. SSL are clearly experts in the niche sports pitch industry and we cannot speak highly enough of the service we have received.”

The outcome is a stunning facility that is complimentary to its surrounds and one that will benefit the school and local community for years to come.

Impressive Pitch Reconstruction for Marple Hall

When Marple Hall School, near Stockport, looked to refurbish their synthetic pitch which was approaching 20 years of age, they turned to SSL for advice and independent guidance.

The pitch was suffering from excessive ponding and a high number of surface depressions making it unplayable at certain times of the year and failing to meet any recognised industry standards.

Following an initial site meeting, SSL put forward an itemised schedule of survey works to determine the root cause of the issues. Detailed site investigation works followed including intrusive trial pits being excavated across the pitch, before being fully reinstated to allow the school to have continued use of the facility.

Together with knowledge gained following research of the local site context and history, the lead SSL consultant analysed the results of the site investigation works. Design solutions were put forward, together with a commentary helping the school and key project funders understand the advantages of each. Accurate outline costings were provided to further guide the project development route.

With differing sub-base characteristics uncovered to different areas of the pitch, SSL adopted different techniques to certain areas in order to ensure a high quality end result and to ensure project budget was not exceeded. Furthermore a design solution was proposed to improve the transfer of water into the drainage network whilst also significantly increasing the attenuation provided for within the pitch sub base itself.

The project outcome speaks for itself. A bespoke reconstructed facility free from depressions and, importantly, providing increased attenuation and no longer suffering during periods of heavy rainfall.

The School’s Facilities and Estates Manager Peter Hutchinson commented; “SSL’s knowledge on these projects is outstanding. The school now has a facility which is one of the best I have seen. We wouldn’t have got this far if it wasn’t for SSL finding hidden drainage issues which was 10 year old problem with the school pitch. Schools often talk to each other for recommendations, and SSL will definitely be on the list for companies to use.”

SSL Consultant John Bennett added; “Pre-design stage investigation works were crucial to understanding the cause of underlying issues with the old pitch. Rather than trying to paper over cracks, the project team understood the value of adopting the techniques we put forward to help ensure a high quality end result.”

In addition to the synthetic pitch refurbishment, SSL also delivered a new floodlit synthetic turf MUGA elsewhere on the school site. Works involved facility design, gaining planning permission, the tender process and overseeing the build with quality control inspections throughout.

The end result

SSL ‘Exactly the Company Needed’ for Pitch Resurface

At SSL we have extensive experience when it comes to synthetic pitch resurface projects. And we were delighted with the feedback received following our role overseeing the resurface of the synthetic pitch at Lodge Park Sports Centre in Corby.

SSL were appointed by Corby Borough Council to provide consultancy services relating to the resurface of one of their key leisure community assets.

As Kevin Williams, Sports Centre Leisure Manager, explains; “I was looking for a company to assist as I had no prior knowledge of what needed doing or how to put a specification together for such a project. It soon turned out that SSL were exactly the company that I needed.”

“Apart from undertaking the project during Covid-19 and all the issues that it brought, I think it’s a testament to SSL that there were no specific issues that weren’t resolved very quickly. The service meant that the project was very easy to handle from my perspective”.

“It was soon very easy to see the level of understanding that you have of your business and the needs of the client. SSL have a reputation that makes a client feel at ease and confident that you will deliver a high standard of service…which you did. Many thanks to Nick and all those involved at SSL”.

Following a detailed review of the old pitch by an experienced SSL Surveyor, we provided the council with a detailed survey report before advising on options for refurbishment and budget cost projections. After a design was agreed, SSL developed a contract specification that the council could issue to tender. Our pitch specific knowledge was vital in assisting with the analysis of contractor tender bids. We were also able to provide reassurance to the council during the works onsite as an SSL Surveyor was assigned to complete quality control inspections to sign off each key stage.

With SSL appointed by numerous other local authorities, schools, universities and sports clubs, we look forward to continuing to work hard to deliver high standard synthetic pitch resurface projects over the coming months.

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.” 

SSL provide key input to £200m Parklife programme

Jeffrey Humble Playing Fields  (image courtesy of Liverpool Council)

Just over two years since SSL produced various design options as part of a detailed Feasibility Study into this Liverpool Parklife project, the end result looks fantastic!

The scheme at Jeffrey Humble Playing Fields includes three floodlit 3G pitches, changing rooms, a gym and associated car parking. The development will be the home for the Walton and Kirkdale Junior Football League which boasts 38 teams.

It forms part of a £200 million programme to build multi-pitch Parklife hubs across the country and involves a partnership between the FA, the Premier League, local councils and local leagues, Sport England, the Government and the Football Foundation. 

At SSL we pride ourselves on attention to detail and providing a balanced approach to assessing the viability of different development sites. Being an independent consultant with extensive knowledge of sports facility development, SSL are delighted to have been involved in the Liverpool Parklife project, along with many other Parklife schemes across the country.

To hear more about the new facilities, including comments from the Mayor of Liverpool and Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, please view the below article courtesy of the Liverpool Echo.  www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpools-new-state-art-football-15239646

The Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity, are responsible for the delivery of the Parklife programme. For further information about Parklife  please visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk.

SSL project continues to meet high standards at Queen Ethelburga’s

Quality is never short term with a Surfacing Standards project!

Having been selected by Queen Ethelburga’s College to act as sports pitch consultant to develop a detailed design/specification before overseeing the project build, the water based hockey field continues to maintain exceptional quality standards having recently passed a re-test to FIH Global Performance standards.

SSL officially handed over the hockey field back in January 2015 as part of a stunning project to deliver six (yes six!) new synthetic turf pitches covering an area of 38,000m2. This created an outstanding sports village that could offer the complete sports development experience with different accredited pitch surface systems to cater for hockey, football and rugby. It marked the development of the largest private facility of this type in the North of England.

The successful re-test carried out by an independent FIH accredited test-house serves to demonstrate the quality and longevity of the design implemented by Surfacing Standards, together with the quality of the build and effective ongoing maintenance procedures.

SSL Provide the Platform for Buxton FC Academy

SSL are delighted with the news that Evo-Stik North Premier League team Buxton FC will next year be launching their own Academy to develop the stars of the future.

Earlier this year SSL were engaged by EvoStik league partners GreenFields UK to assist with detailed design work in order to convert Buxton’s natural turf stadium pitch into a state-of-the-art 3G synthetic facility.

The pitch was designed to meet both FIFA Quality and World Rugby Performance Standards which has ensured the Stadium can provide for dual-usage with Buxton Rugby Club also playing there.

With Buxton FC being established back in 1877, the development marked an important moment in the club’s long history, one which will also help future progression.

Speaking to footballtradedirectory.com, Buxton FC Chairman David Hopkins commented: “We are delighted with our new pitch which overnight, alongside the obvious commercial oppor­tuni­ties, allows us to at last fully engage with our local community“.

SSL are pleased to have played a part in this project and look forward to working on further stadium projects in the near future.

(image courtesy of footballtradedirectory.com)