The investment required to develop a facility is substantial, therefore it is important that sufficient time and effort are spent at the planning stage, so that future problems are minimised. This section is designed to help you to plan a tennis facility effectively.
Steps in the process
Regardless of the scale of the project, the following steps should be considered in the planning phase:
There are a number of questions that should be asked before starting a project of this type. The answers will help guide the planning process and help in making the best choices.
Begin by defining your goal: What do you hope to achieve?
- Who will use the facility? For example, what level(s) of players are intended to use the facility? Do you wish to attract spectators, TV?
- How much will the facility be used? Do you want the courts to be available all year round? Do you want to be able to play throughout the day (and into the night)?
- What are your timescales? When will you start the project? When do you intend to complete the project? How long do you want the facility to last?
- What is your budget? How do you intend to pay for the facility?
- How will you measure the success of the project? Quality of installation? Hours of use? Number of tournaments hosted? Customer satisfaction?
Consider employing a consultant. By virtue of their experience, consultants may be able to articulate your needs better to the constructor and help avoid mistakes. Consultants can provide assistance in determining the scope of work necessary to complete your facility, its planning, providing a realistic budget, evaluating constructors’ and suppliers’ tenders, supervising construction and solving problems. Consultants can be located from the ITF Suppliers’ Directory by clicking here.
Set the budget. How much do you want (or can you afford) to spend? You may want to prioritise some aspect(s) of the project, such as the number of courts or the amenities to be provided. Knowing what you want and being informed of the options will help to accurately identify and manage the cost.
Choose a site. There are several issues in identifying an appropriate site for a tennis facility, including:
- Is the site large enough?
- Is the ground level and does it provide a stable foundation and good drainage?
- Is the site sheltered from noise and free from shadows (for outdoor courts)?
- Is the location accessible to all potential users?
- Is it sufficiently cost-effective to build a facility in this location?
- Are there any planning regulations that need to be considered?
- How will the courts be arranged? Where will amenities, such as a club house, be located?
- Will the courts be indoors or outdoors (or a combination of the two)? The decision between indoors and outdoors will affect the availability of the courts, their orientation, the choice of surfaces and the cost.
- Which surface(s) should you consider?
- What accessories do you need, e.g. nets, maintenance equipment, seating, etc?
- Do you need lighting?
- With the growth in ‘mini-tennis’, children (especially those in the initial stages of learning to play) may require smaller courts to be marked out (for guidance see the ITF Play and Stay website).
Hire a contractor/supplier. Using a qualified contractor is a sensible approach, and some trade associations operate a certification or similar system. Contractors can be located from the ITF Suppliers’ Directory by clicking here.
Following the identification of one or more potential contractors:
- Find out more about the company, its history and the quality of their work.
- Do they do the work (in terms of size and scope) that you want?
- Obtain references and a full list of recent projects, and visit completed projects.
- Ensure that contractors are insured.
- Check whether the contractor has any professional qualifications.
- Meet the people who would be directly involved in your project. Are you comfortable with them and their understanding of your issues?
- Obtain proposals in writing and compare them carefully. What is not included may be as important as what is included. A consultant may be helpful in this process.
- Once you have made an informed decision, make an agreement in writing. This should be as specific as possible.
Becoming a knowledgeable consumer will be of benefit, and investing time at the start may save time, money and prevent troubles at a later stage.