We talk a lot about what schools need from their sports facilities. We know that every school wants and needs a premium space where many different sports can be played to a high standard, in comfort, and with pride. Then, the school or college needs options that are affordable. And next on the agenda is accessibility. Build the best school you can, within budget, and invite the community in to share it (and recoup some of your investment at the same time). For this article, we’re focusing on the first of those three criteria - how you get the best building possible for your budget.
It’s our honest belief that having a state-of-the-art sports facility comes from the inside – which might sound surprising when we’re the ones who supply the outside building.
Prioritise the Head of Sport
It’s a bit controversial but at Smart-Space we prioritise the Head of Sport and dispense with the architect and interior designers. We provide a hard-working, fit for purpose big steel box to safely house the most important part of the facility - the flooring, equipment, changing rooms, refectory – whatever it is that you need inside the building.
By putting the Head of Sport at the heart of the build we find that the passion for sport permeates every facet of the build process and filters through to the pupils. The people who use the building daily know what they want. They can tell you where storage should be located. They understand which sports take priority and what range of facilities will be most beneficial. They know what their ideal sports hall looks like - so we talk it through and do it together.
A modular approach
For sports, we have found that a modular approach works well so additional areas can be added later if required. We have returned to established sports halls to complete further work for new fitness class areas, additional changing rooms, shower blocks and even a kitchen.
30% less spend on your sports building
Permanent steel buildings meet all planning regulations and compare extremely well with a traditional build, faring particularly well in a cost and build-time comparison. It’s usual to spend approximately 30% less on a permanent, steel building than on a traditional brick build. In terms of timings, a steel unit is likely to be built in many weeks as opposed to many months.
The insulated steel roof regulates the building’s temperature and there are some excellent, effective air-source heating systems that work well. An industrial building can be finished in any colour or clad to suit the environment.
Save with us and spend on the equipment and finish
This is where the inside wins out – why spend a build budget on the outside when it can be better invested in the interior? Our experience and approach means there is no QS, structural engineer or designer because we do all of that. We also project manage the interior with a well-established supplier of sports hall equipment and flooring.
Ultimately what is really important is that a school enjoys a solution that focuses on the playing - the teams and the experience – that’s what a school sports hall is all about to us. We say focus on the inside and work your way out.