SAPCA comment

Outdoor multi-use games areas offer a cost-effective solution for education and community sports facilities. SAPCA’s new code of practice provides guidance on their design and construction.

WHEN correctly designed – and catering for a combination of sports – outdoor multi-use games areas (MUGA) are valuable assets that enhance local sporting provision. As with most multi-use facilities, however, there is often a need to compromise, primarily over the performance of the playing surface to accommodate the sports for which it is designed. There is seldom a simple solution that will satisfy every situation or sporting need and, therefore, each facility must be carefully planned according to specific demands and priorities.

Advance planning and design are essential to ensure the right type of facility is created. The Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) has published a code of practice to provide guidance on the basic construction requirements and specifications currently employed in building an outdoor MUGA. The code is based on an earlier document, produced in conjunction with Sport England and SAPCA members, which was hugely successful and well received by clients and contractors across all areas of sports facility design. The new code has been updated to include the latest surfacing types and new technologies.

choice of MUGA

It’s important to consider issues that might have a direct impact on the installation and operation at the design stage of each MUGA development. Critical consideration should be given to:

● The primary sport or sports ● The type of use (recreational or competitive) ● The intensity of use ● The playing characteristics required ● The required life expectancy

● The level of maintenance required and the cost involved

The most commonly played sports on multi- sports games areas are tennis, netball, basketball, football (including small-sided football) and hockey. Other sports that might also be played include rugby (tag rugby),

rounders and athletics practice – along with other recreational sports and activities. The need for compromise in the design often arises due to the performance requirements of the primary sport, when compared to other sports that users may want to play. The interactions between the player and surface as well as the interactions between the ball and surface should be considered.

One of the important issues relating to the choice of surface is the need for some form of shock absorbency (or cushioning). This can limit the combination of sports suitable for a surface, as some sports (such as football) require a shock-

Sports Surface Porous asphalt standard Porous asphalt high grip Polymeric high grip Polymeric standard

Sand filled synthetic turf shockpad

Sand filled synthetic turf no shockpad

Sand dressed synthetic turf 3G synthetic turf

Needlepunch synthetic turf and shockpad


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Suitable Suitable Tennis Preferred Suitable Suitable Suitable Possible Preferred Possible Possible Possible Preferred Possible Possible Netball Possible Preferred Preferred Possible Possible Suitable Possible

absorbent surface to give protection from injury, whereas others (including tennis, netball and basketball) generally prefer a harder surface to provide a consistent ball rebound. Another factor to consider is that some sports require a higher level of grip to ensure stable player/surface interaction, with netball being a sport that requires high grip, but football or hockey less so. The various types of MUGA are defined within

the new SAPCA Code of Practice for the Construction of Outdoor Multi Use Games Areas and the sports that can be played on each are highlighted within the table below.

how can SAPCA help?

For clients looking to develop a MUGA facility, the SAPCA Code of Practice for the Construction of Outdoor Multi Use Games Areas is available as a guide to the design and construction on the SAPCA website. SAPCA members from both the Principal Contractors Group and the Professional Services Group would be well positioned to offer design guidance and support in the development of any type of MUGA. Football Basketball Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable Possible Possible Possible Possible Possible Preferred Possible Preferred Possible Suitable Possible Preferred Possible Possible Possible Possible Suitable Suitable Possible Possible Possible Possible Possible Hockey

Rugby Training

Athletics Training

SAPCA is the recognised trade association for the sports and play construction industry in the UK. Its role is to foster excellence, professionalism and continuous improvement throughout the industry, in order to provide the high quality facilities needed at all levels of sport, physical activity, recreation and play. For details on the above stories and more visit


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41