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CHANGING ROOMS


FUNDING CHANGING ROOM


REFURBISHMENT


Jon Pearson looks at the funding options available for facility refurbishment and the issues that need


to be taken into account when specifying changing room provision


A


lthough there may be fund- ing problems currently being faced by local authorities, trusts and operators of public


leisure facilities, building development and refurbishment certainly hasn’t ground to a halt. In fact, in some circumstances, the


current situation is much better than anticipated a couple of years’ ago. This is due to the fact that there are a number of funding options open to facilitate new and refurbishment schemes – some of which are a direct result of legacy prom- ises linked to the nation’s successful bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


FACILITY FUNDING Government help is available, either di- rectly or via National Lottery funding and there are various ways of obtaining this,


such as through Sport England’s £130m Places People Play funding initiatives. Then there’s the continued demand for


planning gain from companies, such as supermarkets, that are prepared to work with councils under the new planning guidelines to free up important central sites – in exchange for funding the devel- opment of new and more efficient leisure facilities on ‘brown field’ sites. Other op- portunities exist through private sector partnerships with leisure providers that have access to matched funding, in return for long-term management contracts. Self-financed refurbishment schemes


are also available. For example, a busy facility with around 220,000 annual users could generate enough funds via profit shares rental agreements to pay for £100,000-worth of refurbished changing and washroom facilities. This route can also be used to provide equipment, such as lockers, in new facility schemes, without capital requirement. However, the


Lockers should conform to health, safety and building regulations 66 Read Sports Management online sportsmanagement.co.uk/digital


funds are limited, so it’s essential that the new or refurbished facil- ity offers value for money. A good life expectancy of all fixtures and


fittings should be paramount. Ideally the latest materials and designs should be considered to bring a facility into the 21st century, while taking account of the latest regulations regarding safety and accessibility.


DESIGNING FOR FUTURE USE In my opinion, it’s essential to employ the services of an experienced architectural practice that understands the community needs – today and into the future – with- in a multi-leisure centre facility. Of course, facility design is impor-


tant, but the quality of the fixtures and fittings, how they operate and the mate- rials used need to be proven. Design and build contracts are a


current trend in leisure facility procure- ment however, these have drawbacks. The initial client’s brief and specification needs to be sufficiently detailed to ensure that the client/operator has a facility that is fit for purpose. In this competitive age, there are


many examples of original specifications being ignored or downgraded, to the determent of the final product. To avoid additional cost or inferior finishes, the initial brief must be strong and detailed. This is important for clients using portals, which are open for tender to any compa- ny that has ability to pass through to the tender stage. There have been a number of examples where intended specifica- tions have not been met because the tender specification was weak.


Issue 2 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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