Artificial Grass Pitches
The FA have announced the publication of three documents that relate to the design, construction and maintenance of artificial grass playing pitches. The information defined in these documents is very well presented and will undoubtedly resolve many issues of the present inconsistencies when designing and installing and maintaining these facilities. These documents will be welcomed by many industry managers who, in the future, may be required to write and put together specifications for the installation of artificial pitches. All new and refurbished artificial grass pitch systems must conform to the performance standards, design, specification and construction principles as shown in the three documents.
The Football Foundation has confirmed that all applications received must meet these standards in order to be considered for funding for artificial grass pitches. Tendering of projects should be carried out using document 3, the model brief, to ensure comparable pricing is achieved. Any new system must pass a number of quality performance tests that are detailed in the documents.
The performance standards for the system have been based on the work currently being undertaken by UEFA for professional football. The tolerances for non-league or community football will be greater, given the likely higher usage levels, but nonetheless the FA expect systems to be robust for a long period before having to be replaced. For this reason an accredited FIFA or UEFA laboratory must test all carpets/systems manufactured and a suitable certificate issued to the manufacturer. This certificate must be shown to applicants to confirm suitability of the product.
It is expected that the site owner should arrange to either have suitable equipment, with trained staff, available to maintain the artificial pitch or to engage into an appropriate maintenance contract with a reputable contractor. Log books have been designed to keep accurate records of maintenance performed on site, which will assist owners should remedial work be necessary under a manufacturer's warranty.
On maintenance costs it is suggested that between £8,000 and £10,000 is budgeted for regular and routine maintenance, with a rejuvenation of the pitch every 5 years at cost of £30,000 (£6,929 per annum), and replacement fund of £23,311 per annum.
The FA is currently undertaking two other areas of work. The first is a training course for ground staff and site owners for the new generation of artificial grass pitches and the second is a periodic testing programme of the pitches to ensure maintenance is being carried out and the products are meeting the performance standards. Further details behind both of these will follow later this year.
The following link will take you to the official FA web site were you can download this information. Artificial Pitches