Building Blog

Research and articles to make you think

Published on August 16, 2018

A new sports facility is a big investment.

If you’ve ever wondered:

“Is our current sports hall up to scratch?”

“Would a new facility really be the best use of funds?”

"Can I justify the cost to build a sports hall?"

“Just how important IS a good sports facility, anyway?”

Then this complete checklist has your answer.

In it, we’ll cover 5 practical reasons to invest in a new sports facility.

Let’s begin:


1. Not Enough Space to Exercise

School classes are getting bigger.

And in communities, the government’s push for exercise gets stronger every day.

But all schools have sports halls, don’t they?

And what about community leisure centres?

Well, there’s just one problem:

Most indoor sports buildings aren’t big enough.

Figures show around 30% of UK sports halls are at least 30 years old.


This is a problem for two reasons:

For one, they were designed to accommodate much smaller class sizes.

(Since the 1990’s, the size of secondary school classes has been on an upward trend.)

And for two, back when they were built, exercise wasn’t as much in the public mind as it is today.

Which means there wasn’t as much focus on designing for best performance.

Or on designing for the most inspiring environment.

So, these facilities aren’t strictly equipped to handle the increase in demand.

See the problem?

Still, regardless of sports facility age, one of the most common reasons for investing in a new facility is the need for more space.

In fact:

100% of our sports hall projects cited a need for more space as a reason for building their new sports hall.

The space shortage becomes even more of a problem during GCSE and A-Level season when sports halls are crammed with exam desks.

As a result, some schools can fail to provide the 2-hours minimum of exercise per week.

Plus, many schools share their facilities with the community.

That means any increase in school timetabling can also affect the general population.

In short:

If you're lacking space, a new facility may be in order.


2. Your Existing Sports Hall Is In Poor Condition

There comes a time when repair work just isn’t economical.

For older buildings, maintenance makes up a significant portion of lifecycle costs.


It’s important to:

  • Be realistic about expenditure
  • Forecast repair costs.

Naturally, newer facilities tend to need less maintenance.

Asbestos, bad lighting, leaks, dilapidated roofs—or even roofs that weren’t correctly designed in the first place—are all issues you’ll find in older halls.

In fact, the UK government even recently offered funding to try and combat the problem of sports halls in disrepair.

As we mentioned earlier, a new sports hall is a big investment, and it’s important to make the right decision before embracing the building costs.

If your building is (realistically) salvageable, you may be able to fund repair and maintenance works to keep it at an operational level for a reasonable time.

Otherwise, it’s probably time to look at a new building.


3. Your Sports Facility Energy Bills Are Too High

Pre-1984, sports hall designers were actually encouraged not to include natural light in their designs.

Nowadays, it’s better understood that daylight makes for a nicer and more productive environment.

In fact:

People spend around 90% of their time indoors.

Tons of research has found more natural light leads to better health, better focus and brighter moods.


Plus a sports hall is a large building, so the costs of electric lighting can add up.

Replace those electric lights with daylight?

Instant energy bill savings.

And yet, because windows can be expensive, many sports halls are still designed without them.

The result is sports halls that are:

  • Less pleasant to spend time in
  • and use more energy.

Luckily, there’s an alternative to dark, cost-cutting facilities:

Affordable sports halls that do let in natural light.

For example, tensile sports facilities have membrane roofs that let daylight right through.

If your traditional sports hall is on the dark side, tensile alternatives have a lot of other benefits, too.


4. Your Sports Offering Isn’t Up To Scratch

Anyone else with a sports or leisure facility is your competition.

Leisure facility?

You’re competing with other centres to attract users.

School, college or university sports facility?

Then you’re competing to attract student intake—and probably community users, too, if your space is available to rent.

Sports provision is one of the main things students consider when making their decision.

(Especially for universities.)


In fact, some universities and schools across the UK have gotten wise to this.

They understand that sport is becoming a major selling point.

In 2018 alone, the University of South Wales opened a new 3G indoor pitch and the University of Gloucestershire invested in a new sports hub.

Sports facilities that are cramped, outdated, and fail to inspire could be having a big effect on your bottom line.

It’s not just about keeping up with the Joneses.

It’s about future-proofing your estate and facilities to avoid bigger problems later on.

(Like the maintenance issues we touched on earlier, for example.)

Check out the video below to see what a difference it makes when a facility is designed to inspire:


5. You Want to Raise Your University’s Profile

Students who take part in sports at university are:

  • More employable
  • Likely to earn more money.

So says a 2013 report carried out by the British Universities & Colleges Sport programme in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre.

(Try saying that in one breath!)

On an even higher level:

Between 1992 and 2006 more than 60% of medals for Team GB were won by university graduates and students.

Of these medals, 65% were gold, 66% were silver, and 49% were bronze.

If one thing is clear, it’s that time spent playing sports at university can have a big impact on future achievements.

And of course, those achievements reflect back on the alma mater.


If nothing else, better sports facilities means you can improve your course offering.

For example:

With a full-sized football pitch, students could get their UEFA coaching licenses.

(Which is one reason the University of South Wales recently invested in their new full-sized indoor pitch and indoor sports complex.)

Plus, if these students go on to secure employment with professional teams, they will probably bring those teams back to their excellent university facilities for training.


So, How Many Reasons to Build a New Sports Facility Did You Match?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above points, you probably need a new indoor sports facility.

That’s a daunting task—

—which is why we created this PDF guide to help you take the first step.

If you're wondering how to start an indoor sports facility, the How To Build A Sports Hall guide is for you.

It's currently coming soon, so sign up for emails below and be first to know when the guide is available!

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