Sports pitch contractors – the right guys for the job

As in any field, with sports pitch contractors you’ll find the good, the bad and the ugly. Finding the right team to carry out your sports pitch construction project can be daunting.

First of all, what to sports pitch contractors do, exactly? Also commonly known as sports turf contractors, sports pitch contractors fundamentally carry out the groundworks required on site when it comes to constructing new or rejuvenating existing sports facilities. There are many companies out there; ranging from small, independent teams through to large companies with a number of groundwork teams working for them. When it comes to sports turf contractors size doesn’t necessarily matter – what does matter is that the team undertaking the work has the right machinery and an experienced conscientious workforce lead by a professional management team.

Natural sports turf projects vs synthetic sports turf projects

When it comes to natural sports pitch development works, the role of a natural pitch consultant – or agronomist – working alongside a sports pitch contractor is key. This is cue to the variability in design options, ever-changing sites conditions and unique site characteristics. Sport England and sports governing bodies acknowledge the need for independent expert advice when it comes to natural sports pitches and it is an essential part of the funding process.

However, the majority of funded synthetic projects are completed by the sports pitch contractor direct through a ‘design & build’ approach, with projects then tested for performance by an independent testing house. This straight ‘pass or fail’ assessment process can work due to the way an artificial system is designed and its components. When it comes to a natural sports surface, however, you can’t have a simple ‘pass or fail’ approach; it has to be a more rounded tolerance set against climatic and site conditions. This is why governing bodies demand a consultant-led approach for natural turf projects; the variables are so vast then an experienced voice is imperative.

Management of sports pitch contractors

Planning and managing a sports pitch development project can be complex and potentially something of a headache. This is where TTS comes in. Acting as a sports pitch consultant, TTS takes the strain of the project from design to completion – and this includes sports turf contractor selection and management.

Having put together a detailed design and specification for the project, TTS will recommend a number of suitable sports turf contractors – or a single sub-contractor – to carry out construction work on the site, depending on the complexities of the individual project. These will be selected through a number of criteria but usually, they will be contractors approved by the relevant governing body for the sport. TTS will then prepare a tender for each of the sub-contractor jobs and, in their response, potential sports pitch contractors will have to not only lay out how they would propose to carry out the works and the costs involved but also evidence their suitability based on past experience, including the provision of references.

TTS would then advise which of the sports pitch contractors best fit the requirements of the project and, once the successful sports turf contractor is agreed would appoint them to carry out works. The selection of sports pitch contractor would be based on a number of factors, with competitive pricing being only one. The aim is not to run with the contractor who offers the best price for a job, but who is best placed to carry it out to the standard required.

Once the sports pitch contractors have been appointed, TTS will provide them with a detailed schedule of works to follow; ensuring the project is completed to the project design with regular monitoring of works. TTS would act as the main point of contact for the contractors throughout the project; keeping the client informed of progress but also troubleshooting any issues that arise along the way so that the project runs smoothly. On completion, TTS carries out snagging of the new facility to ensure that the sports turf contractors have fulfilled the brief before signing off and enlisting the services of independent, third-party experts to test the new pitch in line with the Performance Quality Standards set by the governing bodies for sport.
In short, enlisting the services of TTS relieves the client of the potential stresses involved with employing one or several ports pitch contractors to complete a project; ensuring that the design is realised to its full potential.

Sport England Framework Provider - 'Consultancy services for Natural Grass Pitches'