Case Study 1: Colchester United Football Club
Colchester Utd FC wished to convert an area of arable agricultural land to a training complex for the team and also facilities for community use. A total of 5 pitches were created including a 1st team pitch, three training pitches and a single community use pitch, all with automatic irrigation. Simultaneously, club buildings, car parks, community changing rooms and other facilities were built.
Agrostis were concerned with the development of the 5 natural turf pitches and adjacent grassed areas. We designed, tendered, administered the contract and supervised the work. We continue to advise on the maintenance of the new surfaces.
The work consisted of:
1. Spray off the existing vegetation within the area to be drained.
2. Improve the levels of one of the pitches by cut and fill.
3. Grade the topsoil of each of the remaining pitches to produce the required level.
4. Incorporate a pipe drainage system throughout.
5. Incorporate rubber chip into the topsoil of 4 of the pitches.
6. Prepare a suitable tilth over the entire area.
7. Incorporate a sand carpet to a depth of 50 mm in one of the pitches.
8. Incorporate specified rootzone material on one pitch to a depth of 100 mm and on another to
aawa depth of 50 mm.
9. Incorporate fibre reinforcement into the surface of two of the pitches.
10. Establish specified grass cover over the entire treated area.
11. Undertake the early maintenance of the new surfaces.
Progress of the Contract
Tendering was undertaken in February 2011 and on 2 July 2012 the pitches commenced use by the Club.
The soil is extremely dense clay and despite being located in an area of the UK with a very low rainfall, an extensive pipe drainage system had to be installed throughout the site. This represented the canvas onto which the various forms of pitch construction were subsequently painted.
Speedcut Contractors won the project and undertook a splendid job with virtually no hitches.
For a technical analysis of the different pitch construction methods, the merits of sand, rootzone, Fibresand and rubber chip in football pitch construction and the pitches performance in terms of hardness and volumetric moisture content click here (631Kb).
Agrostis continue to monitor the performance characteristics of these pitches as they come into full use; a fascinating project.
Case Study 2: Ipswich School
Design and installation of 2 full size hockey pitches (sand dressed), 6 netball/tennis courts and associated fencing, floodlighting, car parking and access facilities.
Commencing in March 2013, Agrostis prepared the design and specification documentation and commissioned the necessary feed consultations for this substantial project. The documentation was used to go out to tender among 6 reputable contractors, all known to us. The project was awarded to Spade Oak after a process of competitive tendering.
All of this work was undertaken simultaneously with the preparation and submission of the planning application, also by Agrostis, with the aim of commencing work in the summer. Unanimous planning approval was obtained in June and work started in September, it being necessary to discharge certain planning conditions prior to commencement, notably with regard to the archaeology of the site. It is anticipated that the facilities will be available for use by Christmas 2013.
Details of the Contract
The project embodies Agrostis’ three-fold approach to sound design; it addressed the needs of the sport, the environment and the business. The client required the highest possible standard of playing surfaces for hockey, tennis and netball, though water-based hockey pitches were not considered suitable in this particular circumstance.
Floodlighting needed to be incorporated but had to meet strict local planning restrictions. The drainage and attenuation system had demonstrably to meet a ‘no change in greenfield runoff’ for a 1 in 100 year storm plus 30 % allowance for climate change. Spoil and aggregate movement to and from the site were minimised as were noise and visual impact on nearby houses. All opportunities for enhancing wildlife and biodiversity throughout the site were taken through a proposed planting scheme and other measures.
Case Study 3: Walsham-le-Willows Sports Facilities
This diverse project involved the establishment on former agricultural land of 3 natural turf football pitches with pipe drainage and sand carpets, a floodlit and enclosed small side 3G artificial grass football pitch and floodlit and enclosed tennis court. Hard and soft landscaping elements were also involved including the installation of a car park, bunds with appropriate planting and the formation of a small wetland in association with the drainage discharge.
Agrostis undertook all feasibility study, design, specification, drawings, tender administration and contract management on this substantial project. We also provided documentation and attended planning meetings with the client and the planning authority.
The successful main contractor, after tendering among 5 contractors, was Spade Oak who subcontracted the natural turf works to Anglian Land Drainage.
The project was funded by the Football Foundation, the client and various other grant awarding bodies.
Progress of the Contract
All three pitches were individually laser graded to produce some excellent surface levels. On very heavy soil, the natural turf pitches required extensive pipe drainage at 5 metre centres. They were each provided with a 50 mm sand carpet for enhanced wear resistance and superior performance then successfully established from seed.
The artificial grass pitch and the tennis court installations were interrupted by the winter of 2010/11 but came into use in spring 2011 since when they have been used continuously and very successfully.
All topsoil and drainage spoil was retained on site to form bunds along two of the boundaries. As part of the contract, these were planted with native trees and shrubs to form hedgerows of similar character to the many other hedgerows in the area. The drainage scheme incorporated a small wetland area which enhances the biodiversity and overall amenity value of the site. Areas of longer grass have also been incorporated into the design to enhance wildlife.
The design incorporated the latest thinking in terms of natural and artificial sports surfaces with great results. It has enhanced the enjoyment of the site for the non sporting community also and has maximised its environmental contribution to the Suffolk countryside. We believe this site represents a showcase facility for Agrostis and may serve as an example of effective design of public open space in general, an example of our holistic approach to sports facility design.
Case study 4: Hyde Park Parade Ground
Agrostis were asked to provide consultancy services for Kestrel Contractors as part of their bid to win a substantial contract to redevelop the natural turf surface of the Parade Ground, Hyde Park, January to April 2013.
The grass area, just under 22 hectares (54 acres), had been extensively damaged during the wet summer, autumn and winter of 2012 when the site had been used for various concerts and other events. It needed to be returned to full functionality for more events in the summer of 2013 in addition to having this famous park in central London restored to its proper glory. The wider project was managed by LUC and Kestrel (with Agrostis) won the contract.
Progress of the Contract
Our first undertaking was to establish which areas of this huge site needed what treatment. The majority of the area required returfing but soil improvement procedures also had to be specified in order to ensure the turf established well and that the eventual surface was in fact more resilient than before. A mapping exercise and soil investigation was undertaken in order to identify which areas may or may not have been in need of drainage or other soil-related improvements.
Rather than replace the existing topsoil, which had been suggested but would have been very expensive indeed, we recommended improving the structure and texture of the majority of the existing soil by particular cultivation methods and the incorporation of sand. The appropriate degree of blending of the sand and soil was determined and the surface was then turfed using turf specified and approved by Agrostis. We monitored and reported to LUC on all of the procedures throughout the duration of the works.
Case Study 5: South Bucks Polo & Equestrian Facility
A very substantial project involving the creation of a full size polo ground (c.310 metres by 170 metres) and a smaller practice, or ‘stick and ball’ ground. The design also included an irrigation storage reservoir with associated ornamental features, an equine training track with manege and fencing, irrigation for natural turf surfaces, access roads and other features.
The pitches were formed by cut and fill of what was substantially sloping ground, the greatest depth of cut was of the order of 6 or 7 metres. Close communication was necessary with National Grid due to the existence of a mains gas pipe running right across the site. This placed significant restrictions on the form of the landscape being created and the operation of the machinery during the construction process.
The playing areas consisted of a levelled and consolidated subsoil platform, replaced topsoil with a 50 mm sand carpet, pipe drainage at 5 metre centres and a carefully selected grass seed mixture composed entirely of smooth stalked meadow grass cultivars.
The stick and ball ground was similar but had incorporated into it 10 kg/m2 rubber chip to improve soil structure, drainage and the ‘going’. Here a blend containing fescues and ryegrass was used.
Agrostis provided the design, drawings and detailed specification for these works, very substantial documents. We also administered the tender process, supervised and managed the contract on behalf of the client, a private individual. The successful contractor was White Horse Contractors Ltd.
Progress of the Contract
The project was subjected to many changes as it progressed and as the client’s requirements changed. By July 2012 the stick and ball ground, ménage and track are in use. Slow germination of smooth stalked meadow grass has delayed the opening of the main ground but this will be fully operational for the 2013 polo season. We are confident this will represent one of the finest polo and equestrian facilities in the country when it is fully operational.