Sessions at the 2011 American Sports Builders Association Technical Meeting in Palm Desert, CA including from two about replacing synthetic turf fields and asphalt tracks.

Fresh information from ASBA’s Technical Meeting

Sessions at the 2011 American Sports Builders Association Technical Meeting in Palm Desert, CA covered a broad range of topics. Here are some details, including from sessions about replacing synthetic turf fields and asphalt tracks

“Replacing Synthetic Turf Fields After Eight Years”

Presenters: Jeff Emanual, CFB (Nemaha Landscape Construction), Doug Morgan (Paragon Sports Constructors, LLC), John Schedler, CTB, CTB (FieldTurf), Chris Sullivan (Verde Design) Many synthetic fields were installed in or before 2004, meaning that many of those systems are now reaching the end of their useful life cycle, and that contractors are being called upon for replacement jobs. However, this is a growing science. Just as turf systems are constantly being improved, the work of removing and replacing them is changing as well. The session included a discussion of the following issues:

·         The types of testing that should be performed on the system (suggested were testing of the turf system itself, testing of the drainage base, and testing of the sub-base, particularly if the stability is in question).

·         Whether the system is ready for the landfill or whether there can be adaptive reuse of any components

·         Documents that are necessary to the professional who is in charge of replacement of the system (Suggested included as-builts, survey information, soil testing reports and a drainage/performance study). These documents may be available from the owner or manager, or the professional may be able to see if the original installer or salesperson has these materials.

One of the issues facing the company working on field replacement is the fact that owners may want to cut costs by re-using the existing drainage base. Because this type of re-use carries a risk, it is a difficult issue to discuss with the owner, who will ultimately have to bear the risk if making the decision to go against the professional’s recommendation. Options for addressing slow-draining bases were discussed, including installing another stone cap and adding new drainage lines.

In the interest of not creating more solid waste, owners sometimes want to explore the possibility of recycling or re-using existing turf and infill. At the moment, this type of re-use is more expensive, although it was noted that the market is heading in that direction. Presenters believed that eventually, synthetic turf systems would all be 100% recyclable.

“Concrete Moisture/Moisture Mitigation Systems”

Presenter: Bill Harrill (Koster Waterproofing)

Solving the problems of moisture in indoor buildings means first, identifying the issues that cause problems, and second, addressing them in a way that means they won’t come back to haunt the facility later.

Harrill gave an overview of various types of water problems, including those occurring soon after construction (often within 30 days, in fact) and various ways of addressing them. Water retention, he noted, “is the water that comes back to haunt a project over and over.”

Because water is a key element in the concrete mix, it becomes necessary to work with the chemical properties of the concrete to incorporate moisture control as an overall design strategy. Some of the products used for slab treatment and moisture mitigation include curing compounds, sealers and liquid densifiers/hardeners, as well as water vapor control.

Harrill’s notes to indoor contractors included the following:

·         If a building, either newly constructed or an existing structure, sits on land with a high water table, moisture control will be a concern. This holds true for on-grade or below-grade slabs, as well as above-grade slabs that sit on metal pans.

·         If you suspect under-surface water, test immediately. The cause may be as simple as a broken or leaking pipe. Even a minute amount of water can cause problems.

·         Depending upon the chemical properties of the water and the type of surface laid over the concrete, even more problems may be in store. A wooden floor, for example, will react rapidly to moisture. If the water is strongly alkaline, it can damage the adhesives being used.

In short, Harrill noted, it is essential to incorporate moisture control in all aspects of construction, to perform all possible testing, and to allow maximum time for curing. A moisture problem can not only damage the flooring, it can damage the reputation of the contractor.

“Asphalt Acceptance – Planarity, Slope, Type, Curb Match”

Presenters: Don Smith, CTB (Don Smith, CTB, LLC), Bob Zerull, CTB (Athletic Field Services)

It is the responsibility of the asphalt contractor or general contractor for a track project to supply a base that meets the specifications of the designer and the rules of the sport. The session discussed various aspects of asphalt acceptance including:

·         Checking acceptability and design of asphalt paving including slope

·         Checking acceptability and design of asphalt paving including planarity

·         Checking acceptability and design of asphalt paving including curb matching

·         Checking acceptability and design of asphalt paving including generic mix design

In designing a track, slope is a particularly difficult issue, since slope requirements will vary according to the governing body at issue in the project, and since not all notations are specific. For example, the maximum listed cross slope for a high school project is 2%. The slope in the running direction is listed as 1%, but it is not clear whether this is downward or not. The cross slope for a project to satisfy the NCAA and higher is 1%. The high school high jump approach slope is 1% (again, unclear as to whether this means in a downward direction) and for NCAA facilities, it is .4% (again, lacking clarity in direction).

Various types of equipment were discussed. Some contractors prefer a ‘smart level’ (which is a digital level), some use a string line, some use a laser level, and some use all of these, depending upon what is being measured. A water truck is also useful to see if areas of the track show ponding, which would indicate a base area that is out of tolerance.

Discussion ensued regarding usefulness and accuracy of equipment. At the conclusion of the session, however, all participants were in agreement that there could be no way to be too careful or put too much attention toward measurement since such problems could interfere with the overall certification of the project upon completion, and lead to untold amounts of problems down the road.

Get a Social (Media) Life: Marketing Your Business with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn”

Presenters: Meg Buczynski, PE, LEED (Stantec), Pat Hanssen (Har-Tru Sports), Ellen Brattlof (Armor Crack Repair)

Effective use of social media, which is largely free, can enhance the public presence of any business, provided the user monitors the media, provides updates and works to broaden the scope. The session used real-life examples of company pages on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as Twitter accounts.

Social media is here to stay. It can be used strictly for social purposes (as with a personal Facebook account) or it can be expanded upon for use in corporate settings. A Facebook page for a company, for example, can be used to describe company accomplishments, personnel changes or additions, new projects, new equipment and more. It can also engender discussion by posting a question and inviting others to comment.

LinkedIn accounts are best known as ways to market oneself professionally, including posting resumes, work experience and more. This too can be used to market one’s company and its accomplishments. It can also be used to post questions for discussion by a large number of groups.

A Twitter account works like a conversation; it must be monitored and updated on a routine basis to be effective. (The same can be said of all social media; however, since the purpose of a Tweet is to provide momentary updates, it is easy for those updates and any subsequent feedback to get lost if a person does not devote attention to it.

The ability to link to a Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. can be advertised on a company website, in its e-newsletter and in all communications. (It goes without saying that websites should be kept updated every bit as much as a social media site).

Other types of social media include YouTube (ASBA members have posted videos of their company providing specific services or using branded products, which in turn, increases their exposure, particularly when such videos can be mentioned in Tweets and on company Facebook pages). Cross-use of social media is an excellent technique to broaden awareness of a company and its work.

In order for social media to be effective, users have to realize this is a give-and-take world. Go to the pages of other individuals and companies on a regular basis, and post there. Comment on items and “like” them wherever possible. The more you give, the more attention you get. As with all types of communication, social media works both ways.

Many businesses have used Facebook advertising (paid advertising on Facebook pages, designed to appeal to users in specific interest groups) to great effect, while others have broadened out to using mechanisms such as Yelp!, FourSquare and Groupon.

While not all forms of social media will be applicable to all companies, any company stands to benefit by having a presence on at least one form. The cost (in many cases, free) and the exposure (the potential is for expanded attention) can justify the time spent updating the page.

If you’re regretting the fact that you missed this Technical Meeting and don’t want that to have that regret next year, mark your calendar now: the 2012 Technical Meeting will be held from November 30-December 3 at the Doubletree Hotel at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.